Freeride and downhill trails are not legal and are occasionally bulldozed by the Forestry Comission.
Cost To Ride: Parking: £3.50 over 2 hours.
Friston Forest is a forestry Comission site nestled in the picturesque hills next to the tourist magnet that is Seven Sisters Country Park. The site offers cycle hire, kayak hire, cafe, visitor centre all tastefully presented in wooden and Sussex Flint buildings.
The car park slopes uphill, follow this slope upwards. Mid-way on your left is the beginning of the family trail, for the single track, head to the top. You will see signs for bike hire, and a suspicious looking trail heading on up into the woods. Follow this, you will shortly come across the signs with the trail information.
As Friston Forest is on the South Downs, you automatically get a more extreme geography to contend with. The single track continues to climb in the hills, with short, fast sections peeling off intermittently to the left, zig-zagging down the hill before cutting back in for another climb. The trail then takes you down onto the next fire road, where you cross the downhill/freeride trails, before plummeting right down, through the valley, across the family route and off into the woods on the other side.
The XC trail is good fun, although lacks the detail of other trail centre trails like Bedgebury. Where Friston has the hills, it often feels like they're somewhat wasted; you have to be on the brakes as the straight-down speed generated is just too much. It would be great to see more flow and perhaps have the descent spread over a longer trail section. Small gripes aside, there is still plenty of fun to be had here.
The unofficial downhill and freeride trails prove a nice distraction. Locals have worked hard crafting a handful of fun berm and jump littered trails. The jumps are not too large but make sense with the flow of the trail. And would you really want to build big if they are likely to be torn down at any time? These trails make much more effective use of the gradient than the official XC route. Food for thought, Forestry! A good few hours fun can be had here.
The family route mainly sticks to the valley, meaning the arduous climbs are left to the keener mountain bikers who want to do them, a lot of the trail, uses a well surfaced fire road, although some sections go off onto grass - not sure how this would stand up after a lot of rain. Perhaps avoid in the case of 'getting sideways' involuntarily.
A huge draw to Friston is of course the short ride in the other direction to the beach. What better way to combine a forest ride with relax on the beach to top it off? Perfect day out for all.
For mountain biking, you will want the car park on the land-side of the A259, just inside Litlington Road. Friston Forest is part of the Seven Sisters Country Park, located between Seaford and Eastbourne.