XC-Trail Grading

Trail Grading  Green Blue  Red  Black 
Grade   Easy Moderate  Difficult  Severe
Suitable For

Novice cyclists and families. Children 4+ years riding solo.Bikes with child seats or trailers. Touring bikes. Bikes for those with disabilities.

Occasional cyclists with some experience of road use or easy trails. Reasonably fit families. Children 10+ years riding solo.Suitable for mountain bikes, hybrids or robust touring bikes.

Regular cyclists with experience of moderate trails. Suitable for off road quality mountain bikes. Expert mountain bikers who will expect and relish technical challenges. Suitable for off road quality mountain bikes.
Trail Types Railtrails, towpaths, reservoir trails,estate or forestry tracks. Traffic quietened roads,and those regulated by bylaws or other restrictions. As "Green" plus bridleways, byways and  unsurfaced unclassified roads. lightly trafficed lanes. Any usable trail with pushing or portage unlikely to exceed 2% of total distance Any, but with the expectation of technical riding which could include unforgiving terrain, severe climbs and descents, or considerable distances. Unlikely to be appropriate to PRoW.
Gradient Shallow climbs and descents capable of being ridden by children and less active adults. Shallow/ moderate climbs +/- short sections of steeper climbs which may have to be walked. A wide range of climbs and descents of achallenging nature. Any ridable or usable gradient. May include "drop offs"
Surface/ Width Blacktop or compacted limestone or gravel. Essentially smooth with a minimum content of loose surfaces. Normal width 2 to 3 m. Mostly stoned surfaces <10% earth based single track of width <2m Widths from 1m and any surface. Likely to include single track and other technical sections. Mostly off road. Expected to include a significant proportion of single track with challenging surfaces.
Acceptable Hazards These trials should carry a very low risk... Any unavoidable hazards should be identified in promotional literature and through notices at the trail head and site of hazard. Some loose surfaces, ruts, potholes and / or tree roots may be expected. The route should be judged on the basis that a reasonable experienced rider riding within his/her level of skill and prevailing ground conditions, would not be expected to fall. Hazards are expected as assessed and agreed by an expert user. Falling off will be expected.
Target Length  5-20Km  10-20km  10-50km  <1 to 100km including "skills courses"
Maximum Climb  <50m  <100m  <500m  <1000m
Notes

This information is with thanks to the CTC grading system adopted by IMBA-UK and the Forestry Commission.
You should always consult local information and signage for exceptions or variations to this grading for the route to be ridden.
These standards are not intended to be prescriptive, but should be used to provide broad guidance.
Mountain biking can be dangerous.
Back up literature should clearly indicate the route, grade, distance, climb and likely riding time. This should be reinforced by trail head notices.

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