Deer Leap Bikes – Family friendly mountain biking in West Sussex

Deer Leap Bikes is a bike shop and outdoor centre located near East Grinstead, West Sussex.

Deer Leap Bikes is far more than just a bike shop, In fact I would go as far as stating that the bike shop is not the main reason for going. If you and your family enjoy cycling this is a great place to spend the day or afternoon.
The shop itself is adequately stocked with good selection of spares available. Not all the items for sale are on shelves so don’t be afraid to ask the staff as they don’t bite. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable. They are clearly enthusiasts and this is a labour of love. The bike shop has a good range of bikes for sale however if there is something they don’t have available they will make special orders.

Bike shop talk over. The trails are where this place stands out. Parking is free and plentiful and Deer Leep Bikes charges £5 a day per rider no matter what the riders age. Considering this gives access to all areas of the park I feel this is more than reasonable.

It’s important to state that this is no adrenaline fuelled mountain biking park. It would be far to tame for most who like throwing themselves down root laden single-track all day in the Surrey Hills.

At the start of the trails not far from the bike shop are 3 drop-offs of varying heights. These are slightly off the trail and can easily be avoided by the less skilled rider however if you are of intermediate skill they should not be overlooked. The centre one of the three is the shortest and great to build confidence.

Later as you pass the drop-offs you will find a small skills track. This has everything from a wooden circular track with raised corners to a larger track with 5 foot high raised box sections than can also be avoided if you wish.

5 Foot Box section at Deer Leap Bikes
Looks formidable at first but it’s easy to rider over as long as you have enough speed to get on it.

I highly recommend you try out the skill track as it’s a great way to build rider skills and confidence.

The trails themselves are well signposted but the bike shop will also give you a map. The trail stretches into local fields and farmland. It is mostly mowed boundary field edges and forests and is a very pleasant place to be. If you just go around without stopping it’s about 2 hrs cycling. The views are lovely and worth stopping for. This is just as well as Kids tend to stop a lot.

If you so desire around the trail there are many sections to add a little challenge. These sections are all voluntary and you have to seek them out. They are suitably signposted but any path into woodland is a bit of a giveaway.
I went with my oldest son and we started on the trail. Nothing technical. By the end of the day my son was entering woodland. Flying down rooty paths and loving the bridges in the woods where he would woop as he flew along.

Deer Leap Bikes Rooty section in woodland

Rather than returning to the car after going around for 4 hrs. He spent quite a lot of time going around and around on the skills section at the start. It was quite simply amazing to watch his confidence grow and grow with each iteration. He even decided to do the smaller drop-off as we left. Something he would never have even considered before spending the day at the park. After putting bikes away my son was sad to leave.

As stated at the start. This is no MTB venue. Deer leap part of a perfect family friendly day out where you are guaranteed not to have to cross roads and know that everything is safe for less skilled riders (when on main trail). The entrance cost is reasonable even if just to use the skills parts or the trail itself.
I live 30 mins away from Deer Leap Park and do not understand why I have never been here before.
I look forward to going back next week.

Below is an excellent video by Kara Beal taken at Deer Leap Bikes. Kara is a youtube celebrity that’s worth following to get a real view of bike parks around the UK. Watching someone progress in the way Kara has is really inspiring.

Youtube: Kara Beal Instagram: @karabealmtb Facebook Page: @karabeal97

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