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  • Forestry Commission and mtb’ers (Cannock Chase content)
  • Premier Icon onewheelgood
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    https://www.facebook.com/160253384121498/posts/2131118600368290

    As an organisation, Forestry England has supported off-road cycling in many ways for many years through our formal trail…

    Posted by Cannock Chase Forest – Forestry England on Friday, July 24, 2020

    Maybe I’m just getting too old, but the replies to this post do not look like a great advert for our sport. Making enemies of one of the few land managers to actually support cycling, even if not as much as we like, is also pretty dumb. Sad.

    Premier Icon roach
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    It was there, then it was gone…

    Premier Icon colournoise
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    Seems to be a hardening of the FE position on unofficial trails everywhere at the moment. Responses like those don’t really help the cause…

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
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    Yeah, I’ve noticed that too, especially when the vexed subject of trailbuilding comes up!

    I was especially guilty of it myself, back when I was frankly old enough to know better, building and riding your own trails just seems so righteous that you forget that other people have a vested interest in not seeing their wild areas dug up and frequently (sadly) left littered with spoil and offcuts and, well, litter.

    My final project ended abruptly when despite being cery careful to build in a very remote and unloved corner of the forest, I found that other MTBers were going in and dismantling bits of my trail to build their own, much shonkier trail right next to it!

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    I agree with the sentiment. Here in Sheffield, the Eastern Moors Partnership has been a great collaboration between riders and land owners, and ultimately gave us access to some great (linking) trails. I also think gobby MTBers are pretty distasteful.

    But on this occasion, I’m gonna side with the commenters. The Forestry Commission are aggressively complaining and throwing around daft ideas about health and safety litigation -it’s bound to get people’s hackles up. It’s a stupid thing to write. It also sounds like there’s been a lot of forestry work with new logging tracks causing trouble for the existing trails so also somewhat hypocritical.

    Premier Icon jekkyl
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    Can we change the title to show Cannock Chase instead of the ops subjective opinion?
    Onewheel whose side are you on mate? hundreds of riders ride these trails every week.
    This is all because some karen kicked off a few weeks back, people have been building there for years and they’ve never bother to demlish the trails. Actually I don’t think they’ll bother now but it still represents a sea change. This coupled with the future closing of all the free carparks will get a lot of riders backs up. Entitled? well maybe, they’re still great trails though. People don’t want to lose them, that’s all.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    Ben Cathro got caught building illegal trails at Faskally recently. His excuse was that he thought permission was already in place.

    I actually thought this thread was going to be about that as there is a similar sense of entitlement shown in comments to the Facebook  by DMBinS.

    Premier Icon giantriderjay
    Free Member

    Some of the stuff that’s been built is, objectively speaking, over the top. There’s some fairly big jump tracks that people have spent lockdown building. From a biker’s perspective, really quite well built and impressive and not really too hazardous but I can understand the FC gettin peeved with it. It’s built where people just wouldn’t walk ordinarily, and not too far from a couple of areas that the FC have simply ploughed through and left in a right state.

    The majority of off piste at Cannock though are just tracks running through woods and people have just made the tracks with very little damage or disturbance. For the FC to ask people (I’m gonna say it, walkers) to report these sort of tracks is pathetic, but I appreciate I’m biased towards riding them, as some of them are really good to ride and just much better than the official tracks.

    And then you’ve got people pouring oil over features and sticking nails in tree roots and then FC say and do nothing, that just isnt right.

    Premier Icon poah
    Free Member

    instead of the ops subjective opinion

    well they are acting like entitled children.

    His excuse was that he thought permission was already in place

    rookie mistake not actually discussing it with the FC first.

    Premier Icon jekkyl
    Full Member

    My point is that it’s worthy of dicsussion as lot of people ride Cannock and they’re far more likely to click on a thread titled Cannock than they are about some angry mtbers.

    Premier Icon DezB
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    I don’t know Cannock, but I know Facebook is full of ****.

    Premier Icon convert
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    Can we change the title to show Cannock Chase instead of the ops subjective opinion?

    My point is that it’s worthy of dicsussion as lot of people ride Cannock and they’re far more likely to click on a thread titled Cannock than they are about some angry mtbers.

    I’d agree with that. Mods- if you have two posts about the same topic of reasonably similar age (as in both started on the same day or within a hour or two) one of which has a useless clickbaity title and the other title that is meaningful and will attract locals and people who care about the specific issue/area surely the intelligent thing to do is either close the one with the unhelpful title irrespective of which came first or keep it but rename it if you really must keep to your self imposed rule of closing threads that are duplicates of existing threads. Not everyone is sad enough to open each and every post to see if you may be interested. Wrong thread closed this time imo.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    The Forestry Commission are aggressively complaining and throwing around daft ideas about health and safety litigation -it’s bound to get people’s hackles up. It’s a stupid thing to write.

    Well, to be fair, as the landowner, it’s them that will be facing the litigation when some unlucky kid needs 24/7 lifelong care after crashing on a shoddily built track on their land.

    Premier Icon convert
    Full Member

    Well, to be fair, as the landowner, it’s them that will be facing the litigation when some unlucky kid needs 24/7 lifelong care after crashing on a shoddily built track on their land.

    This is often claimed. Has it ever actually happened in the UK?

    Premier Icon DickBarton
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    This isn’t a localised issue though, so doesn’t need a location in the title.

    Personally, I don’t get why people build stuff on existing trails – no issues with new stuff being built in a patch of land that doesn’t get used already – and with permission. The permission bit is the key as without it, you need to accept that what you build could be removed at any time.

    Landowner is liable for any injuries that result in a claim, so they are right to be reducing the risk to themselves. What gets built gets ridden by many people, so you may be building just for you and your mates who you know can do the obstacle, but people with less ability may also try it and come up short – landowner likely to have a claim made against them.

    (aware next bit will label me as a grumpy old man, but I’m not bothered about that) I’ve lost count of the number of nice twisty trails that have been turned into straight-lined motorways as people can’t ride the twisty stuff…then 6 months later jumps appear on them as it was boring and not challenging as a motorway – leave it as it is and learn to ride it.

    Premier Icon DickBarton
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    @convert There have been a few claims made against the Forestry for accidents on bike trails. I don’t know if any have proved successful, but the Forestry had plenty evidence of inspections and signage etc. For all the stuff they know about and accept. I don’t know if anyone has tried to make a claim due to an accident on an unsanctioned feature though.

    Premier Icon RichPenny
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    Reading the comments, there’s a lot of petulance, but also seems to be some valid points. I don’t know the Chase, but some of those opinions do mirror my own.

    This is thousands of acres, gifted to the local council, correct? Doesn’t seem a balanced approach to say well, we’ve built about 15 miles of track, so can you keep off the rest of it please. Cannot imagine the same thing being posted on a ramblers website. Also, there are comments about how often the official trails are closed. You can’t claim to be supporting world class facilities and not expect flak if this isn’t actually true.

    Regarding the SSSI stuff, yup, shouldn’t be digging there. Hence a couple of people asking for more detail on that.

    And again, if people are out digging massive jumps, rather than using it as an excuse to shut down all the other trails, maybe it’s the FC and the Council that needs to engage and support this as a positive development for the local community.

    Premier Icon onewheelgood
    Full Member

    Onewheel whose side are you on mate? hundreds of riders ride these trails every week.

    It shouldn’t be a question of sides, we all have to get along – landowners, hikers, horse riders and even MTBers. When one group starts to think that their interests take precedence over all the others you are going to get problems. My point was that there are a lot of commenters on that post who clearly think that the world revolves around them, and no one else has any right to challenge that. As someone else pointed out, this has happened on just about every similar FC post, it’s not just Cannock. I agree that we should stand up for ourselves, but there no need to be dicks about it.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Wrong thread closed this time imo.

    I can’t comment on this specific instance because the first I knew of it was when you flagged it up. What I can explain is my personal decision process.

    As a rule of thumb, I will keep the first thread and close successors. Generally this should be self-evident as to why – assuming we catch it quickly there won’t be any replies to it.

    However, as you rightly say, this isn’t always the right decision. If a later thread has more traffic, I’ll excise the original instead. This can put the OP’s nose out of joint – “hey, mine was first!” – but it’s the right thing to do.

    Meaningless thread titles, if I may be candid for a moment, is a complete pain in the bollocks for exactly the reasons you cite. A celebrity death usually results in about 15 threads if someone comes up with a “witty” subject line rather than “RIP [whoever].” There was a time where the ability for us to edit subject titles was broken, however it’s been fixed so going forward we can change them as I have done in this case now. In the past, wherever possible I’ve tried not to amend user content (otherwise we might as well just write all the content ourselves, plus people can be arsey when we do) but thinking about it this is probably the wrong call in this sort of case. So in the future I’ll amend these a little more aggressively.

    Thanks for bringing that to our attention.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Oh, and,

    One of the moderation tools we have is to merge threads, but it doesn’t work (or at least it didn’t last time I tried, ages ago). The devs are currently focusing on the moderation suite which is, shall we say “lacking in some areas,” so if they can get that working then this problem will go away.

    Premier Icon convert
    Full Member

    Thanks for bringing that to our attention.

    And thank you for doing a great job! 🙂

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain
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    One of the moderation tools we have is to merge threads, but it doesn’t work

    I bet it works on drac’s ipad

    Premier Icon onewheelgood
    Full Member

    @Cougar, no problem if you want to change the title. But as @DickBarton said, it’s not just about Cannock. We will be competing with the ramblers and the horse riders and the environmentalists for access to the forests. They all have well established and effective campaigning organisations. If we want to have an equal seat at the table, we can’t afford to look like a bunch of spoiled brats. People in this thread have put forward some reasonable arguments as to why we should be allowed to build – but you won’t get anyone to listen to those arguments unless you engage sensibly. We don’t have an unassailable right to go digging on someone else’s land, but we’ve found elsewhere that going about it calmly can lead to acceptable agreements, although not always. I’m always surprised by how much anti cyclist nonsense there is out there, both for roadies and MTBers, but if you think of what a non-cyclist would think reading some of that stuff and perhaps it’s not so surprising after all.

    Premier Icon DickBarton
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    Everything in moderation will work on Drac’s iPad! 😉

    Premier Icon joe-m
    Free Member

    Be nice if there was a bit of compromise perhaps with someone who’s serious about mountain biking making decision about what’s appropriate lots of unauthorised trails near me are basically just animal/walkers paths that have been ridden into existence can see why they’re nervous about random jumps gaps and drops popping up all over people will build some daft things if you let but it would be nice if there was more space for kids who want to build stuff having creative control over this. would also be nice if the FC were not merrily taking out all of the interesting features what were on official trails/skills areas.

    Premier Icon BaronVonP7
    Free Member

    A lot of the Chase is a slow motion wood factory, not “unspoiled, virgin, natural, native woodland, from before the dawn of time”.

    Problem: There’s too little area for too much demand.
    Answer: Ban the bikes, carpet bomb the trails, sue the survivors.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    @Cougar, no problem if you want to change the title. But as @DickBarton said, it’s not just about Cannock. We will be competing with the ramblers and the horse riders and the environmentalists for access to the forests

    And this right here is why changing titles is problematic. (-: Let me have another go.

    Premier Icon onewheelgood
    Full Member

    And this right here is why changing titles is problematic. (-:

    It’s lovely now. And sorry for the original clickbait ☺️

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    The bit I’m finding distasteful is the sense of entitlement and lack of environmental and community awareness that so many of the comments on FB show.
    That’s on the Cathro and Cannock posts.

    We’ve had issues here this summer with illegal trails and rudeness to landowners. Lack of understanding of liability, other trail users, SSSI or sensitive sites (“it’s only a forest”) and an underlying DILLIGAF attitude from many just doesn’t help.

    There are rules to this game, No.1 being the one that too many riders forget.

    Premier Icon mehr
    Free Member

    I know from Aston Hill that the FC generally view MTB(rs) as a nuisance

    Stuff like this, riding out of hours, no helmets (a big problem in some venues) etc etc.. just adds fuel to the FCs outdated views

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    This is often claimed. Has it ever actually happened in the UK?

    Think it falls under the Occupiers Liability Act (?) I think. Basically, you can be responsible for people who are on your land illegally. If you know there are potentially dangerous trails on your land, you can’t just ignore them.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    MCD that’s my understanding.
    It’s on a percentage of liability related.

    Premier Icon markrh
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    I think some none legit trail builders overstepped the mark on what would be tolerated trail building wise up on the Chase, namely large jumps and elevated woodwork sections. I happened to be passing when the FC removed this stuff (never seen so many FC vans in one place before) it was quite some construction and must have taken a lot of time & effort to build, you just knew it would all kick off when the FC found out about it.

    Premier Icon jekkyl
    Full Member

    This coupled with the plans to close all the ( currently free) carparks on the chase and make them chargable forestry England are not gonna make many friends. Current carparks get closed at twilight so doesn’t really take into account people who ride late evening and night.

    Premier Icon Kuco
    Free Member

    Good old days all the trails were natural off piste stuff at Cannock. Totally disagree with building big jumps and on SSSI sites and wooden structures but the nice cheeky natural twisty trails were great plus they don’t seem to attract the e-bikers.

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    jekkyl

    This coupled with the plans to close all the ( currently free) carparks on the chase and make them chargable forestry England are not gonna make many friends. Current carparks get closed at twilight so doesn’t really take into account people who ride late evening and night.

    Apparently the ‘new’ parking charges will only apply on Bank Holidays and Weekends.

    About 12 months ago the FC advertised a position for a ‘recreational ranger – mtb’ which was apparently for someone to take charges of the trails & maintenance and general upkeep and liaising with local community etc.
    Since this appointment it seems to be worse than previous with communication between the FC and the public.

    Premier Icon DickBarton
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    At a guess, the bodies all assume that the mtbers are all linked and chat and if they speak to one, they assume they speak to all.

    Always sadly amusing when the actual reality is explained to them and they just don’t get it as it isn’t a single body that all follow the same ‘rules’…

    Premier Icon Pippin
    Free Member

    matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    The bit I’m finding distasteful is the sense of entitlement and lack of environmental and community awareness that so many of the comments on FB show.
    That’s on the Cathro and Cannock posts.

    We’ve had issues here this summer with illegal trails and rudeness to landowners. Lack of understanding of liability, other trail users, SSSI or sensitive sites (“it’s only a forest”) and an underlying DILLIGAF attitude from many just doesn’t help.

    There are rules to this game, No.1 being the one that too many riders forget

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^ this

    Pretty amazed / saddened at some of the attitudes expressed.

    Do people really think that the FC / NRW / FLS don’t understand mountain bikers and trail development? Of course they do. Many staff ride too. But they have a large area of land to manage towards a lot of competing objectives – of which biking is but one. And this has to be done in a grown up world where there is case law on landowners responsibility and where people complain and sue.

    Rule No. 1 – don’t be a ……

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    This is often claimed. Has it ever actually happened in the UK?

    IIRC several times at Swinley.

    Its not MTBers doing the litigation its the insurance companies.

    Say you have a job that comes with private medical cover, you have a bit of a tumble on some off piste trail and give them a ring on Monday morning. Several x rays, and mri and tea from the lovely nurses in the private hospital later your thinking “all this and I’ve not had to pay a penny!”.

    Soon after CE/FC/whoever gets a letter from the insurance company saying you just got injured in their forrest and they’re now liable for thousands of pounds in bills.

    Premier Icon convert
    Full Member

    IIRC several times at Swinley.

    Its not MTBers doing the litigation its the insurance companies.

    Say you have a job that comes with private medical cover, you have a bit of a tumble on some off piste trail and give them a ring on Monday morning. Several x rays, and mri and tea from the lovely nurses in the private hospital later your thinking “all this and I’ve not had to pay a penny!”.

    Soon after CE/FC/whoever gets a letter from the insurance company saying you just got injured in their forrest and they’re now liable for thousands of pounds in bills.

    As I said, it is often claimed (or like you have – sort of implied that you have heard it has without any meaningful details) but I’m yet to ever see it actually reported in black and white or a land owner report factually that it has actually happened to them. Not saying it has not happened, just all a bit theoretical/urban legend. If it is an actual problem that costs actual money (rather than a theoretical problem) the FC would be much better saying “in the last x number of years we have lost £XXX in litigation about personal injury on illegal trails which could otherwise have been spent on XXX” in their messaging as it would be much more impactful in persuading people to stop. The fact they don’t to me at least implies it is more of a theoretical risk than one that is a real world problem.

    Not saying they shouldn’t remove them – from a moral standpoint knowingly leaving something some tool has built some other tool (with less ability) they decides to ride and nobble themselves on would not seem right.

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