Pipehouse Lane Nr Bath "Improved"??

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  • Pipehouse Lane Nr Bath "Improved"??
  • Locals will know the legendary Pipehouse, we discussed it here:

    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/pipehouse-lane-nr-bath

    Steep rocky, sunken, boulder-strewn stream bed.

    I heard a nasty rumour at the weekend that it’s been ‘improved’ – as in several (hundred?) tonnes of Type 1 have been dumped on it and rolled flat to ‘improve’ the surface.

    I’ve not had a chance to get up there for a look yet. Not sure I want to if it is as bad as it was described to me ๐Ÿ™

    Raises the wider issue of course about these sort of trails and what the Council does to them in the name of ‘improving’ access. Another couple of local trails have had the same treatment over the years.. sometimes they engage with the MTB community and take our views into account.. most often they don’t

    Janesy
    Member

    Might pop down there at the weekend. But its really a summer only route. Ive made it all the way to the bottom, was quiet chuffed.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Hi Andy. Unfortunately from checking the GPS tracks of our weekend ride it does appear to be the legendary Pipehouse. It hasn’t been steamrollered exactly, it’s been covered with fairly large grade aggregate so it’s still pretty rough, but obviously nothing like it was before. The last 50 yeards or so are unimproved

    There are some very deep ruts in it already, probably a result of water and it being accessible to 4x4s again. So I guess it’s just a case of “let nature take it course”.

    transapp
    Member

    Ahh bugger, that’s a real shame. I was particually looking forward to whenthe rail tunnels were opened up resulting on no climb to get back into Bath after that descent ๐Ÿ™

    That’s rubbish, tough to find technical challenges in that area and that certainly was one.

    transapp
    Member

    Still, it may well make up for it by being a pretty fast descent instead of a technical pick-around that it was (maybe, possibly, hopefully….).
    Still want the tunnels to open in spring though, I’ve got a lovely liitle ride from my door that takes in about 20 miles and 3000ft if I climb up Midford. I’d happly take a bit of flat to go back into Bath and use the additional climbing off road instead.

    awh
    Member

    Still want the tunnels to open in spring though

    When I spoke to someone from the Two Tunnels project before Christmas they were expecting the tunnels parts of the route to open around October.

    llama
    Member

    It hasn’t been steamrollered exactly, it’s been covered with fairly large grade aggregate so it’s still pretty rough, but obviously nothing like it was before. The last 50 yeards or so are unimproved

    So the big rocky stepy bits around the bend are gone?

    it may well make up for it by being a pretty fast descent instead of a technical pick-around that it was (maybe, possibly, hopefully….).

    Plenty of ‘pretty fast’ stuff in the area (legal and non) but very little ‘technical pick-around’ tho. It was legendary for good reason, hard, but good and everyone enjoyed the challenge.

    It will be sadly missed ๐Ÿ™

    I know the trail riders (motorbike) loved it as it was too. I can only guess it’s been ‘improved’ at the behest of the equestrian lobby.

    Another of our favourites – Watery Lane into Norton St Philip was also “improved” in 2010.

    Before:
    (According to the horse riders) “Slippery rocks leading down into the stream bed with large boulders and overhanging vegetation making this a difficult and alarming bridleway โ€“ often impassable and flooded!!”

    After:
    “Newly crushed rocks, now giving a safe and decent footing for horses and walkers”

    Ok I can see their point, and at least they’ve used crushed local stone, but they’re at it all over the place, without any thought for us:

    Before
    “Not an easy ride and youโ€™ll have to dismount for the gate!” (Their words)

    After
    “Thatโ€™s better”

    I suppose the simple answer is it’s no good complaining and not doing anything about it. I’m in touch with the local IMBA rep and together we plan to talk to the local authority.

    I’ll let you know how we get on.

    transapp
    Member

    Ahh, that’s clearly buggered. That’s a real shame.

    Other than some of the cheeky uni trails (which are rubbish in the winter as it’s too damn wet to take any of the off camber bits), I don’t know of anywhere else locally that’ll match old pipehouse in difficulty. I have a feeling it took a long time to get to that standard.

    I’m also completly unconvinced on the arguement that mtb’er put forward ever being listened to

    “Don’t make that trail accessable to 90% of the public, leave it for just a few nut jobs who enjoy falling off and hurting themselves and riding through axle deep water”

    Compared to:

    “If you put some rock down, the bridal way will be accessable to walkers, horses, people on foot and the bike will stil be able to use it”

    I know which side I’m on but I’m also sure which I’d listen to if I was sat in the guild hall not doing either hobby.

    awh
    Member

    The bridleway from the top of Hollies Lane back to Northend, above Batheaston, is the nearest equivalent I can think of. It’s very wet and muddy at the moment, don’t tell the council!

    Premier Icon Fin
    Subscriber

    Bloody brilliant – one of the best, legendary trails around Bath, ruined….
    I’m all for opening for everyone blah de blah, but Pipehouse was eppic – it took a serious rider to clean that in one go with no dabs, I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve cleaned it.
    *Sigh*
    Well at least a few of our hardtail crew will be happy – they used to walk….
    Maybe I’ll pop up at the weekend and take a look – with any luck the rain will wash it all away ha ha

    We had a go at some trail maintenance one day to make it do-able fast on a big rig, spent all day moving bits and bobs – clearing the strangling bracken and widened the fork jamming bit near the bottom just enough to squeeze through.
    Went back after a day of rain – and it was back to normal…
    I dare say “Pipehouse” will resort back to normal, unless they’ve sorted the drainage

    Also reminds me of a good friend – who upon his girlfriends request for “some real mountain biking” he took her down pipehouse. I don’t think they are together anymore ha ha

    Edric 64
    Member

    A bit like Ashton Court and Leigh woods where everyone seems to like gravel paths its noy mybing is it?

    I’ve ridden horses both up and down more techy stuff than that – in fact I’ve yet to see an MTBer ever ride up anything as technical as I’ve ascended on horses, and I’m not even a terribly good rider. If some equestrians were behind that ‘improvement’ then I guarantee many others weren’t!

    transapp
    Member

    There’s no way I could have ridden up that – it’s a LOT steeper than that photo looks and a lot, lot rockier. You can ride up things a lot steeper on horse than on a bike, it’s simple physics. However, most horse owners would not have ridden up half a mile of 6″ plus rocks in a muddy stream to get to that last bit – or at least, not on a good horse!
    Still, it’ll hopefull wash out a bit and be okish for a bit of a blast, but no longer worth going out of your way for.
    Still, good heads up on the other bit, Got to head out with the Bath Wednesday evening crew to find a few new trails now the shoulder has healed!

    Premier Icon zippykona
    Subscriber

    This is happening all over Surrey. I thought we were in the middle of a financial crisis?
    Our poll tax is about to be put up so they can waste money on these ventures.
    I tried moaning to the council but they are allocated this money and they HAVE to spend it.
    Does anyone know who doles out the money to the council as I would rather they spent my money on something more worthwhile,ie absolutely anything else.
    The last time I checked I was under the assumption that the countryside was at times muddy and rocky. Maybe they should put that hazard tape around everywhere that isn’t perfectly smooth.
    From a health and safety point of view are they allowed to dump a dangerous surface on a legitimate cycle way?

    Premier Icon WillParsons
    Subscriber

    Bollocks. Haven’t ridden it for 10 years, but it was a firm fave route when I was living there. And yes, ONCE I cleaned it.. fully rigid:-)
    Still, assuming the overflow for the water tower still heads down that way, give it a few years & It’ll be back up & kicking us in the teeth again !

    Above photos are of a couple of different trails:

    Here’s a couple of Pipehouse as it was courtesy of agentdagnamit ๐Ÿ™

    transapp
    Member

    I’m always amazed how much photos flatten the landscape!

    Premier Icon zippykona
    Subscriber

    Sorry for your loss. How much do you think it cost to smooth that out?
    Can the magazine do a feature on this please. Its the biggest threat to our sport and nothing is being done about.
    Even if you were a horse rider who really really wanted a trail flattened you would think maybe this is not the time to ask for it.
    My local track cost ยฃ25000 to flatten. At the same time I couldn’t get a wheelchair for my friend at the hospital as they had run out.
    Eventually they will get round to YOUR favourite trail.
    Mobilise now.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I’ve skimmed the recent minutes from the Joint Local Access Forum and can’t find any reference to works on Pipehouse. If they don’t tell them what’s going on, what chance is there that they’ll engage with a bunch of random mountain bikers?

    The ironic thing is how impermanent these works often are. A winter’s water runoff, a bit of green laning, and they become utterly torn up. Pipehouse already has some huge ruts through it. Nosey Cows (over Priston/Englishcombe way) is another example, huge ruts cutting all the way through the “improvement” down to the Teram.

    Premier Icon zippykona
    Subscriber

    Which just goes to show what a waste of money it all is.
    I notice that this seems to be access led. I can’t imagine pushing a pram or wheelchair on these surfaces.

    transapp
    Member

    Would anyone be kind enough to let me know where nosey cows is please?

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    No. I suspect the improvements are being spurred on by local bridleway associations, the BHS, and other equestrian groups. Which is fair enough – if we’re not making our opinions known, how can local authorities take them into account?

    awh
    Member

    I stopped off on the way past this morning. Pipehouse Looks like the stream is already starting to return it to its previous state.

    llama
    Member

    before:

    aaaaaand after:

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Transapp, sorry, that was in reply to the previous poster. I don’t think Nosey Cows is a specific trail, just a name for a bridleway loop out that way that the Uni students used to do regularly a few years back.

    llama
    Member

    Nosey cows is out around Englishcombe

    scu98rkr
    Member

    Is it still the same underneath ? Have they just poured a load of stones over the big rocks ?

    Or have they somehow destroyed the rocks underneath ?

    Criminal! More fun on a horse, bike or foot beforehand. Utter waste of time, money and effort…

    awh
    Member

    Is it still the same underneath ? Have they just poured a load of stones over the big rocks ?

    Not sure. The top section looks like it’s just had the new surface put on top because where it has already eroded I could see the large slabs again. Where llama has made the comparison I think the rocks may have been removed as the level of the path would be too low to be over the top. Bits in the lower narrow section are already very eroded and nearly back to the previous condition. It appears no thought has been given to what to do to with the stream that runs down it most of the year.

    have the locals done the down at twinhoe? how does it differ to pipehouse?

    awh
    Member

    I don’t think I’ve done anything round Twinhoe. Seen on the OS map there’s a bridleway to the north, this it?

    im going to have a look at the map to tell.its very similar.water running through it and rocky.not far from the farm?

    llama
    Member

    onereallynicespeed I think I know that one. Little bridge at the bottom with an odd spongy surface on it? Pipehouse was harder than that by some way.

    Nosey Cows:

    (Can be ridden in either direction but we normally do it this way around, instead of the (very cheeky) roll out through Newton Park (now Bath Spa Uni) an alternative would be to climb the track from Newbridge up to Newton St Loe or roll out along the lanes from Twerton:

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Bath-MTB-Weds-Night-26-5-10

    Twinhoe Descents:

    There’s two Twinhoes (Upper and Lower) and two ‘downs’. I think it’s the descent from Upper Twinhoe down to Combe Hay Lane you’re thinking of. We call it ‘Rocky Horror’ – sharp left at the bottom of the farm track, drop in, gets wet. It’s similar to Pipehouse but not as steep overall or as long and (strangely enough) not as rocky. Yes, you remember correctly llama it’s the one that ends with the ‘rubber’ bridge crossing over Wellow Brook.

    (The descent from Lower Twinhoe drops down a loose wide track under the old railway line).

    Can’t see the ‘before and after’ pics yet (blocked from work) but planning to get up there and have a look on Weds night.

    Will have a think then about how to play this with the Council and the horsey lobby.

    You’re right of course Mr Agreeable unless we make our voice heard we can’t complain they don’t listen. If I had more time I’d like to get involved with the JLAF – there seems to be no-one representing us.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    That looks like a pretty shoddy resurface tbh. But also, going by the first pics doesn’t really look like there’s much argument about it being below spec for a bridleway. Most recreational cyclists wouldn’t have been happy with it, never mind horsyclists.

    I think this is fighting the wrong fight tbh, that looks like it was a great trail but you can’t expect bridleways to be left with that just for a small number of users. The real argument is derestriction of access, since it’s blatantly obvious that the bridleway network can’t suit all users.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    there seems to be no-one representing us.

    Last time I had a “career break” ๐Ÿ˜ณ I contacted the secretary to ask about whether they wanted a representative of the MTB community to attend some of their Wednesday afternoon meetings. No response…

    you can’t expect bridleways to be left with that just for a small number of users

    It’s the destruction of their character that annoys me. A lot of the BWs on this thread have been shaped by the passage of time, weather, and water; not wheels, hooves or feet. Coming along and dumping a load of hardcore on top of them is not a great or permanent solution for anyone. It’s a bit like dynamiting the top of a mountain in a bid to make it easier to climb.

    Honestly, that previous surface was absolutely fine for horses! Anyone that can’t ride a horse along things like that shouldn’t be allowed on one.

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