Anna Cipullo at Aston Hill
Anna Cipullo at Aston Hill

Photoshoot at Aston Hill

On Tuesday 24 July, I awoke to a bright and sunny day and could think of no better way to spend it than riding my bike. Thankfully, I had already been asked to ride around Aston Hill for a photoshoot

The purpose of the day was to get some up-to-date photos of mountain bikes in an amazing setting. So CTC's Senior Off-Road Officer Ian Warby  and I  teamed up with junior downhill rider, Josh Lowe, to pose on bikes in Aston Hill.

Ian approached the Forestry Commission in 1996 with a view to develop an awkward piece of  woodland too steep to be of commercial use. With some fast learning about sustainable trails, a lot of hard graft and input from world-class downhiller, Rob Warner, Ian converted a forestry off-cut into one of the premier mountain bike centres in the South East of England, and introduced Aston Hill into southern mountain bike folklore.

Aston Hill is now operated by the volunteer-led Aston Hill Committee in conjunction with the Forestry Commission and is open 7 days a week with a pay-to-ride scheme operated by CTC.

All the trails are being constantly tuned, with some exciting developments in the pipeline, but we were restricted to small sections of the wood that we had to ride over and over (and over!) again until the perfect shot was achieved. Talk about “honing your skills”!

Aston Hill has always been seen as an area for downhill riders, but with its own Cross-Country loop, and a popular cafĂ© over the road in Wendover Woods, it’s still suitable for novice riders or classic mountain bikers.

Our photographer was cyclist and professional snapper Geoff Waugh.