2008 saw the launch of a new kind of “Trail Centre” nary a stone’s throw away from Singletrack Magazine’s HQ. Here’s the official report about how 2008 went and a few teasers about what’s in store.
- The Red and Black Routes: -During 2008 they completed the first phase of trail construction. This has comprised of a 4.5km red loop which is basically a 2km climb followed by a 2km down hill and a 1km black graded route. These were designed by Dafydd Davis and built by local contractor’s Terra Firma.Obviously being in a quarry these routes are rocky, the Red has some nice flowing single track in it especially towards the end and riders of most abilities will have fun on it. The Black on the other hand is very rocky. It is slow and technical in places and requires good balance and bike handling skills to clear it. Several people have looked at it and decided to come back with flat pedals and body armour!So far the response to the routes has been enthusiastic the main criticism is that people want more!
- Skills Development Area: – In addition to the Red and Black routes they have built a skills development area. A sort of outdoor classroom for practicing some of the basic bike handling skills you need for mountain biking. You’ll find a variety of rocky drop offs, skinny logs etc to test your skills on as well as short climbs and decents. The area is already used by several organised groups for skills training and the plan is to have regular skills development workshops up in the quarry open to the general public.
- Cycle Trials: – The quarry now boasts three purpose built trials areas and lots of natural stuff. These areas were built with the help of Ali Clarkson one of the UK’s top trials riders. The end result is probably one of the best places in the UK to ride trials. Last year they held a round of the National championships in the quarry and feedback was very good. Also some good stuff appearing on Youtube and other sites. Some of the sections are suitable for beginners so a good place to come and have a go at trials.
- Cross Country Racing: – They opened these routes in July 2008 with a cross country race which was pretty well attended. The race seemed to capture people’s imagination and there is a keen group of local riders who want to put on a regular cross country race series. They are hoping that by the spring this should be up and running although it will be dependant on them finding people to help marshal the course.
- Future Plans: – Short term: Between now and the end of March we are going to be building about another 700meters of Red single track with a couple of Black bits braded in to it. This is a section that is marked on the current maps but is still not actually there on the ground. It is short but you can expect it to be technical and fun. They are also planning to add some Red and Black graded braids in to the downhill section of the existing Red route. This will add interest to the route it will mean if you do two or three laps you can make each one different. Also it should mean that if the loop is being used for a race there are more opportunities to get past people. They also intend to add another section to the trials area.In addition to this they have an arts project underway and we are going to be having three sculptures installed in the quarry one of which is going to be designed so that it can be ridden.
Between now and the end of March they shall be investigating the possibility of building additional mountain bike trails in Lee Quarry and expanding out over the Moors with a link up to Rooley Mood Road and the wider bridleway network. They are also exploring a number of other quarries in the area (owned by Lancashire County Council) with a view to constructing some mountain bike trails in these. This has the potential to provide us with a network of 4 or 5 sites each with quality mountain bike trails linked by an expanded bridleway network. This would then offer a huge range of riding possibilities with good quality routes from 4km in length up to 40km.
- Food: Nope.
- Parking: There is no visitor centre and no official car park but we do have agreement from the Kingfisher Centre that quarry users can use their car park from 6pm onwards weekdays and anytime at the weekends. If you visit the quarry midweek chances are there will be parking available on the road just after you turn in past the King Fisher Centre.
- Spares/Bike Shops/Bike Hire: Ride-On in Rawtenstall is your best bet for all things bikey in this area: Ride-On, 213-215 Bacup Rd, Rawtenstall, Rossendale, Lancs BB4 7PA. Tel: 01706 831101·
Getting There: – At the moment the location of the quarry is (unintentionally!) a well kept secret. They still do not have decent signage up as yet which something which we hope to remedy soon. Easiest way of getting directions is to Google (or key in to your SatNav) the following:- Kingfisher Centre Futures Park, Bacup, OL13 0BB.
Postcode for sat navs OL13 0BB
There is no visitor centre and no official car park but we do have agreement from the Kingfisher Centre that quarry users can use their car park from 6pm onwards weekdays and anytime at the weekends. If you visit the quarry midweek chances are there will be parking available on the road just after you turn in past the King Fisher Centre.