Swinley Trail Update & Volunteer Days 2019

Posted 1st May 2019

This time of year is a great time to trail plan for the year ahead for the waymarked trails and for the Clubhouse project.  In 2018, along with general maintenance, we fixed up and made good the following trail segments:

  • -Blue 3
  • -Blue 7
  • -Blue 14
  • -Blue 16
  • -Red 2
  • -Red 15
  • -Red 20
  • -Red 25

In 2019 we will be picking off as many trails again with improvements and we would like to add some features to the first half of the Red loop, around Red 8 and to add some choice lines to some of the more iconic trails on the second half of the Red loop. At the Volunteer Planning Session on 15th May it would be great to hear your views on these waymarked trail improvements alongside the Clubhouse project.

What is the Clubhouse Project?

The most noticeable piece of work in the forest that happened was some thinning of the compartments over by the area we know as riders to be “clubhouse”. This is the area of trails around Red 20. The reason why the forest needed thinning around this area was that the trees were suffering from needle blight; the best way to eradicate this is to provide more space for the trees to recover.

The compartment is so packed with trails there was no way to safeguard all the trails whilst the thinning was in progress and as a result we spent a lot of time clearing in order to reopen the waymarked trails. If you haven’t ridden it since the forest work, try it, it feels totally different riding Labyrinth and weirdly even the uphill’s feel a lot easier – this is a good thing!

For us as riders this was the perfect time to work with The Crown Estate to understand and gain full permissions to bring back the trails hit by the thinning and to include them in the overall waymarked trail network – that is, for the likes of Babymaker, Berminator, Bikini Carwash and Axle to built back, inspected and worked on officially.  The Crown Estate approved this and 3 volunteer weekends happened post summer in October, November and December. Babymaker and Bikini Carwash were repaired and some trail features added to the original lines.

Sadly we could not tackle Axle as there is quite a layer of mulch which is blimmin hard to work with, so we have gained support from the Crown Estate to get a digger in before this summer to clear the mulch and create a clear(ish) working line for us to re-create Axle!

Adding some features in to Babymaker on the Volunteer Session!

Adding some features in to Babymaker on the Volunteer Session!

Calling Volunteers!!

The Clubhouse Project is in the hands of the Volunteers, it is your area to create and craft what you would like to build. Here at Swinley Bike Hub we are massively open, and our doors are always open to hear the ideas of what you would like to build – so pop in or write to us at trails@swinleybikehub.com to put forward your ideas.

At https://www.swinleybikehub.com/trail-maintenance#volunteeringEnquiryForm you also have a chance to see the trail map, report an issue or submit an improvement – it all links through to trailforks too so it helps all riders engage.

Swinley Bike Hub is here to support those volunteer sessions with all the necessary Health & Safety, Insurances and Rules that need following to rightly keep the Landowner happy. Outside of that, its for Volunteers to drive the direction to make it as much fun for beginners to roll through to those that want some more challenging features here in the forest.

Once the volunteers have worked on the trail features that you would like in these areas, our role at SBH is to simply add them to our bi-weekly trail inspections to make sure they are in grade, rideable and remain in good condition.

Axle is next on the hit list to bring back, hopefully better than ever before now it is a wider space – so we would love to see you at the Volunteer Planning Session at our local on Wednesday 15th May to talk about all the trails in Clubhouse and specifically about Axle on what you want to see for the line, and what you would like to see more of in that area.

https://www.facebook.com/events/411245292988820/– pub night + chips + beer = athletes of the forest.

At the beginning of 2018 there was talk of adopting Camel lines as well as the Clubhouse Lines, this is still the case however, The Crown Estate have asked that we complete all current Clubhouse lines to a good standard as a group before we move across the fireroad to the Camel lines. This means the more engagement we get this year for Clubhouse, the sooner we can gain final permission to move to Camel in the future.

Over the past couple of months we have been asked by a few different trail building crews if they can just go up and dig in the area if they let us know they are up there working. We have approached The Crown Estate on this request, and we have had quite a few discussions with them on this – however, to adhere to the Crown’s own working guidelines of operating in a working forest, we simply could not gain a green light to allow individual parties to do this without all the paperwork to be completed in the way that The Crown Estate would like to see it. This is fair enough and The Crown Estate are supporting us as riders with diggers and machinery when we request to help support the development of the area.  Through the summer we will be running ad hoc dig nights subject to weather so again, just keep an eye on our FB page for volunteer sessions through the year over and above the ones listed below which will be weekends.

Look at the fun that can be had!

Look at the fun that can be had!

2019 Timetable

May – Volunteer Planning Session – Golden Retriever

June – Complete Babymaker and add trail features on lower section

July – Deerstalker – tidy up and add some features

August – Axle Run – recreate the legend

September – Red - First ½ Loop add features

October – Red Trail Choice – Second ½ Loop add line choices