Guided Cross Country Mountain Biking

249,250 TUTOR: Gary Bruce (MIAS Level 2)

This course is the perfect introduction to mountain biking. Where better to take part in this fantastic pastime than the beautiful Wiltshire Downs? Led by a highly experienced mountain biker, you will cycle some of the wonderful trails that this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has to offer. These include Savernake Forest, West Woods, Tan Hill Way and, of course, the Ridgeway with awe-inspiring views across the Wiltshire Downs and Neolithic forts. Before you set off on your voyage of discovery, there will be some basic instructions to keep you safe and some standard mechanical tuition. By the end of the course, you will feel confident going out on your own.

Course Notes

This course is designed as a great introduction to mountain-biking. You will get to see the Wiltshire Downs on a variety of trails that won't require great technical bike skills. The routes will change each day and will vary from the wooded areas of Savernake Forest and West Woods, to the open Wiltshire Downs and the Ridgeway. Before you start, you will get some basic instruction in order to stay safe and enjoy the ride. We will also cover the fundamentals of mountain biking in a fun and informative way, including sessions to improve skills and confidence. By the end of the course, you will be feel comfortable about going out on your own and pushing yourself to the next level.

Topics to be covered, include:

  • Clothing and equipment
  • Technical fundamentals
  • Food and drink
  • How to prepare for the unexpected including first aid and repairs
  • Route planning and navigating

The course is for those new to mountain biking or those with limited experience of riding who struggle on more difficult terrain and want to improve their confidence and skills.

Easy trails and bridleways will be used where basic techniques can be mastered.


Ideally, you will need to bring along your own bike, which should be suitable to ride off-road. It is possible to hire bikes though it would be preferable for people to bring along their own. Should you need to hire a bike, please get in touch with the Summer School and we will organise it. Participants will need to have serviced their bikes or ensure they are in good working order prior to the course.

Other Equipment

Participants will need a helmet and appropriate cycle clothing. Being a outdoor activity, we will be subject to the weather, so participants will need to dress accordingly. You will also need a water bottle and ideally a small rucksack to store your belongings.

Fitness Levels

It is assumed that those taking part will be taking some regular exercise.

The Routes

All the routes will be risk assessed and timed and will range in length from 10km up to 20km. The routes will include some road riding from Marlborough to the off-road points.

Course Tutor

Gary Bruce

Gary Bruce

MIAS Level 2

About Gary

Gary has a great passion for the outdoors. He spends as much time as possible on his bike exploring new routes around Wiltshire's fantastic countryside. During term time in Marlborough he works at the college coaching rugby and football, and is also involved in a range of outdoor pursuits activities. During the winters, he works as a ski instructor in the French alps, an area he also regularly explores on his bike in the summer months.

He has his level 2 MIAS mountain bike leader qualification and holds a Remote Emergency Outdoor First aid certificate.

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Summer School Dates for 2024

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM