“Ups and downs abound here in either direction with a great mix of terrain, and the most seclusion on the loop.”
— Charles Williams
This is a fairly undulating section with no steep climbs, and it's secluded into the woods very quickly after entering it.
The trails aren't closed for deer hunting season, but bow hunting is allowed on these "common grounds" where the trails are built. It is recommended that you wear orange or hi-vis yellow during season. That can be checked at the Arkansas Game and Fish website agfc.com/Pages/default.aspx
. Because this trail is the most secluded, it is one of the most frequently hunted areas.
I'll choose CCW for this description (opposite of The Back 40: Complete Loop), simply because there is one section immediately after crossing "Hampstead Rd." that is one of the most flowing and fun sections on the entire loop.
You start this section by dropping in off of Hwy 340 (Lancashire Rd.) on the far NE corner of the loop. You immediately encounter some sharp berms followed by a nice, flowing descent with a mix of bermed and non-bermed corners, and some small rollers that give you the chance to get the wheels off the ground if desired. Shortly after, you'll start into a very narrow hand-cut section that has some good, technical rocks and roots with a narrow passageway between trees.
That leads you to the parking lot on "Derwent," which you'll skirt on your way to a section of ups and downs that will lead you up to a high point where you cross a dirt road. From here, you descend sharply to a low area and begin the moderate-length climb up to the paved road crossing at Hampstead.
Here....things get ROWDY! You are met with three very sharp switchbacks to get you to the flowing section, and it's time to get off the brakes and "feel the flow." It's a guaranteed ear-to-ear smile on this section!! It has fast berms, a few little double jumps, and lots of rollers that will allow you to get airborne on multiple occasions.
Following this section, you make a short climb up to ride along Hwy 340 (Lancashire Rd.) over some rolling singletrack until you meet where it crosses over Lancashire, which signals the end of Section 1.
My only warning here is that this section contains a few "naked" rock creek crossings. They are in "G-out" spots, so getting "light on your bike" isn't really an option. It's probably worth the loss of momentum to slow down for these, even though a few are located on fast sections. They have been a haven for pinch flats for those running tubes, and potential "rim dingers" for tubeless.