Let’s start off by getting this off our chests. We’ve had another another trail flattened into mediocrity by the gravel it over squad. This time the top of the iconic ‘Blue Pig’ as it drops out of Heptonstall.
It wasn’t the most gnar of trails at this point, but it retained sections of original cobble stones and worn flags that help make up the local character of Calderdale. And ask people to name trails in Hebden and they’re sure to mention the Blue Pig as it’s become a signature descent in the area. A trail that has pulling power, drawing in mtb’ers from outside the area complete with their ‘tourist dollar’ which help keep all the coffee shops, cafes, pubs, bearded bike guides and even the chippy going.
Which makes it all the more surprising that poor attempts at trail maintenance like this are carried out. Not only is the repair temporary (let’s face it it’s likely to wash out in the next lot of heavy rain we get), it’s buried any local character and is also bound to increase trail conflict. A fast and flat downhill with 1ft step downs built along its length encouraging a bit of speed and jumping, where previously riders were kept down to a less intimidating speed by the nature of the trail.
In the past we’ve been asked by Calderdale Council to highlight local trails of importance to riders so that a dialogue over proposed trail maintenance can ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen. This time it seems to have failed. There has to be a recognition of the features and trails that make an area special, they’re the reason people travel to walk and ride here. There’s nothing inspiring about a flattened section of dumped and loose ‘quarry bottoms’; kill the character and you kill the reason people visit.
We’ve always been proud of the local riding we have here in Calderdale (in case you haven’t noticed ;o), until recently we were supportive of the Rights of Way team too. But when this sort of sanitisation is carried out it only increases speed, increases conflict and forces more riders onto footpaths.
If you want to tell the Rights of Way team how short sighted this ‘maintenance’ is email them here: email@example.com
Local riders? We’re getting organised: http://www.facebook.com/RideCalderdale
Got a better example of gravel flattened trail blandisation? Show us here: http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/monday-morning-debrief-no21-show-us-your-sanitisation