Queen Elizabeth Country Park
Haven’t been there for a few months, but mates reported being followed on a weekday night and 1 chap caught and warned. Since then, it would seem that they have calmed down on the night patrols. Tend to agree that daylight on weekends is not the cleverest idea. It can get quite busy and there are plenty of casuals without helmets, etc to set a “bad example” to.
The official trails they have are so limited. There is so much more they could do with some fantastic contours packed into a small spacePosted 9 years ago
Well not actually the police just the Warden and his OAP helpers. Who have nothing better to do on a Sunday than moan at people for not sticking to the two trails!
I’ve been riding there for about 15 years and never been moaned at by anyone.
Maybe thats because I stick to the permitted trails. Numpty.
The official trails they have are so limited. There is so much more they could do with some fantastic contours packed into a small spacePosted 9 years ago
Have a chat with them, you’ll find out why they can’t use the rest of the park (and why the mtb trails are still able to be used by walkers/horses etc). I think we’re lucky to have whats there. If you don’t like it there’s plenty of riding out on the South Downs. Or can’t you read a map?
We work with them at the park several times a year in connection with our events and they’re always very good and very pro bike. Pro bike doesn’t mean pro idiot, that’s all. Even on a weekday evening, you shouldn’t stray off the bike trails there; you could end up emerging at speed onto one of the horse trails in front of a rider who thinks they’re the only person in the park too. Come on, you’d complain if you went there and got stuck behind a horse rider on one of the bike trails wouldn’t you?
They have done a lot within their confined space; they’ve created dedicated walking, bike and horse riding trails that don’t conflict too much, along with BBQ areas, educational trails and kids and family activities. Oh and they do a bit of nature conservation and sustainable forestry there too. Their remit is way broader than just biking.
As DezB says, the park is slap bang on the South Downs! It’s an excellent starting point for a lot of much bigger rides. Try mixing the trails in the park with the miles of superb stuff just outside of it. I don’t just mean the South Downs Way either, there’s loads of good stuff off each side of the Downs, you just need to explore a bit. And if you get lost, all you’ve got to do is find the SDW and blast your way back to the park.Posted 9 years ago
While I agree to a certain extent with the comments here about not riding on illegal trails, I can’t help but think that there is also something of a ‘happy to be a victim’ mentality going on as well.Posted 9 years ago
Over the last 22 years that I’ve been riding I’ve seen a massive shift in the attitude towards mountain biking and cycling in general, mostly towards the positive – it seems cycling has been rehabilitated and GB’s success in the Olympics and the general rise in cycle commuting (what with the rise in fuel prices, the environmental issue etc) have all contributed to this.
And yet, certain sections of the MTB community still feel it’s their duty to subjugate MTBing’s profile with an almost willingly subservient, bordering on fascistic attitude regarding trail access. They seem intent on enforcing rigid rules about legality of access, environmental issues, erosion control etc.
People – it’s all bull. We need to be a little more willing to take a stand and force the issue of providing better trail access and this is absolutely the time to do it.
I am NOT advocating mass trespass like activities because our situation is not quite as bas as it was in the 1930s. But we need to lobby and make our case.
I’ve read a few reports on the impact of MTBing on the land and the arguments put forward seem to suggest that the impact is no greater and in many ways less punitive, than that of walkers, who will always outnumber us by a great multiple.
Yes, our tyres and in particular locking up the rear wheel, will cause the trail to CHANGE (and that change is interpreted by some as damage), nut this can be repaired.
The real issue is not our impact, the real issue is money and the willingness of local government or other NGO bodies (such as Forestry) to provide trails for us.
At a time when social responsibility demands that more people start taking regular exercise and reduce their carbon footprint, an argument that seeks to justify limiting our access to the countryside is frankly ridiculous.
geetee – do you know QE park? did you read what martin wrote?
It is partly about erosion, but mostly about safety.
The erosion arguement was done about 10 years ago in the mags. In the case of QE, its pretty irrelevant.
Also, people get injured mtbing – I’ve seen 4-5 serious injuries at QE where the ranger had to drive out and rescue riders. (I don’t need to explain this comment do I?)Posted 9 years agomatt.beeMember
At QE it’s just as much about the huge swathes of the Park which are designated SSSI. Ancient field boundaries, etc… run through the park, and any trail users could cause considerable damage to these quite rare features. That’s why there’s not much legitimate riding in the Park itself, there’s simply too much conflict of legitimate use in too small an area.
Simple way round it in that particular instance is to uae it as a warm up before heading out on the South Downs. As others have said, there’s plenty to ride. Alternatively, ‘100 Acres’ up the road near Boarhunt has on one side of the plantation an open access policy. I still have the letter from the FC I received a few years ago in response to enquiries telling me “as long as you are not carrying power tools in there and felling major trees, do what you want with regards to trail building.”
Time and health constraints prevented me doing anything, but basically license for singletrack creation a 10 ish mile ride from QE Park. Reinforces that the Rangers do have the trail users best interests at heart, they just have to work within the constraints of the land.Posted 9 years ago
geetee – I agree with a quite a lot of your general points (I don’t think it’s all bull though; environmental and erosion issues are sometimes valid. Each case needs to be considered on it’s own merits), however it’s not relevant here. QE is a specific and unique case. It’s a small park with a broad remit and has to be managed carefully to avoid conflicts. It’s been run this way for a long time and generally works.
If anyone is interested in improving the trails in the park, talk to the management. I know for a fact that they would be happy to work with trail building groups to improve the facilities. I know a local shop were doing just that a couple of years ago, but I’m not up to date on whether that project is still going or not.
You have to work with them though. What you can’t do there is just go off piste for the hell of it, not even out of peak times; QE just isn’t the place to do that. Remember, they have budgets, insurers, local authorities etc. to answer to. Abusing the facilities they provide is just going to end up making things worse for cyclists in the park, not better.Posted 9 years ago
I wasn’t speaking specifically about QE, just about trail access in general. I accept that QE may well have specific issue pertaining to it, just like the ancient scheduled monument up on Holmburry Hill.
As for accidents, well christ, people have them all the time. People get knocked over in the street, fall down stairs, have skiing accidents (heaven forbid we should chastise the middle class ski set for having an accident) cut tips of fingers off in doors (my niece did this the other day). What makes an MTB accident so much worse that it ends up reflecting badly on the sport (and I am assuming that the rider is the only person involved, I’m not including those where riders crash into walkers etc).
On the erosion issue, I wasn’t suggesting that riding doesn’t cause erosion, it does. I was saying that the erosion isn’t really the issue, the issue is the money needed to fix the problem. With a blank cheque, you can achieve almost anything as many of the heavily used paths in our large national parks demonstrate.Posted 9 years agosnakebiterMember
interesting reading this and quite good to see there are plenty of people on here that can see both sides an issue – i was reading the “kick the dog” thread and cant belive how intollarent some people are – maybe im getting old but i cant help thinking that many riders seem to think that they can ride anywhere and if anyone gets in the way its a problem —– i live in by a FC location in the chilterns and i ride all over it – on and off the trails that are authorised but i also use some comman sense – i slow down by horses and my dogs sit to heel while they go by – i ride around walkers EVEN IF THEY ARE ON A BIKE TRAIL – i say hi and am friendly – i never take popular trails at weekends or in holidays – its so obvious – at the end of the day we have to share if we dont then we will be the ones to loose out – we will end up with small closed loops and skills areas.Posted 9 years ago
I wasn’t speaking specifically about QE
Funny that, this thread is called “Queen Elizabeth Country Park”
As for accidents, well christ, people have them all the time.
I do need to explain it then – why should the ranger have to go out and rescue people who are riding on illegal trails? Can he even get there in his landrover?
I understand your comments but I think they are in the wrong thread.Posted 9 years agoowenfackrellMember
Also, people get injured mtbing – I’ve seen 4-5 serious injuries at QE where the ranger had to drive out and rescue riders.
Having been one of these i can say how helpfull the ranger staff were.Posted 9 years ago
I like using the park as the start/finnish of my rides as it not only give a good place to warm up but also gives a better level of security for the car.
When i was up there on saturday you could see where people had been riding on the illegal trails buy the big skid marks that they were leaving behind them.
Why should the ranger help people – well I’m tempted to say that it is his or her job, a job paid for by tax payers and I know a few people currently unemployed and looking for this kind of work. Now, I say I’m tempted to say this because the statement itself is highly inflammatory when taken at face value and my intention is not to offend, just stimulate debate. One way of thinking about the statement is this – by giving the Ranger something to do, we keep him/her in a job. But your point about injuring yourself on an illegal trail is important.
First off, is it ‘illegal’, i.e. are you breaking any laws by riding your bike on a footpath? I think you might be since they changed the trespass laws but I can’t be sure – anyone here know for definite?
Second, why is it illegal; does the existence of that law make any sense and if not, what are the consequences of breaking it; do the positives out weigh the negatives?
Sure – this thread was originally title QE Park, but so often you have a single issue that highlights a wider issue. But I apologise for hijacking the thread.Posted 9 years ago
I think the debate you’re raising is one that’s always worth revisiting once in a while geetee, but I agree with DezB in that, if you knew QE Park, you’d realise this isn’t really the right thread for it.
The issues of the legality of paths don’t really apply as most of the tracks in the park are created for purpose, rather than Rights of Way. We have no right of access to them other than those set down by the park management, so they’re perfectly within their rights to say where you can and can’t ride. Think of it more like a Sports Centre, which may be a public building, but still has a manager who has the authority to chuck you out if he doesn’t like your behaviour.
If you wanted to broaden this debate out, maybe it would be more appropriate to take it on to the balance between tolerance and cooperation, and asserting our rights. The OP accused the park wardens of ‘not listening to the cyclists view’; I’d be interested to know how much he listened to the wardens view. It’s one thing lobbying for a better deal for us as cyclists, but is that the real motivation for the majority of excursions onto ‘cheeky trails’ or is it just an excuse? Is it not even a consideration for a growing number of riders who have grown up with a brand of mountain biking that lacks any background in ‘outdoors’ discipline and etiquette, and just think they can ride and build jumps wherever they like? Does the OP’s apparent lack of appreciation for either the regulations within the park or the existence of the wider trail network outside of it, highlight a problem with the direction in which the sport is developing? Or is that all the paranoid ramblings of a reactionary old fart?
(Apologies if I’m doing you a disservice PH1, but I only have your above two posts to base my thoughts on).Posted 9 years ago
Sounds like the QE has similar issues and challenges as the Hurtwood Control, which I know very well. The balance between tolerance and control is exactly what governs the riding, but it also goes further, from tolerance to encouragement and managed development. It’s been 12 years since I rode at QE though so yes, in that respect, I don’t understand the specific issues.
As for Simon F Barnes, I know the name from the forum but not what I am he!Posted 9 years ago
And besides, there’s loads of places where you can find/build/ride cheeky trails. Just ride a mile out on the Southdowns Way and look around you. There ain’t no park wardens out there!
by giving the Ranger something to do, we keep him/her in a jobPosted 9 years ago
LOL! I doubt if rescuing injured bikes was in his orginal job description!bikeyMember
trailbreak-martin: The shop that you were refering to is called Veocity Bikes and is based in Portsmouth. They had an article published in What Mountain Bike magazines Feb 2008 edition (pages 84-87).
The article talk about the access rights of many different forest users and how they were tying to keep them all happy. The Park Ranger (Rod Green) talked about the special relationship he set up with Mike Wickham (Co Velocity Bikes owner)and the shops club (Velocity Rough Riders) and how they were given 900sq ft of hillside to build some hardwearing tracks as a tester. They built 800 meters of track all using voluntary manpower. If all goes well the green light will be given for more trails to be built and maintained. This all hinges on mountain bikers using the park responsibly and not the selfish few spoiling it for the responsible masses!
MattPosted 9 years agoTaffMember
More trails are in the pipe line but man power and weather means that is has been slightly lacking. The problem is PH1 that accidents do happen and the the general public and in the past cyclists have hit walkers/dogs etc which has been a major headache to the rangers. Annoying for you but in all honesty it’s better than being slapped with a law suit as that’s what you could end up with if you deviate from their signs/advice. Equally though the signs say no horses or walker on the advance route and they still go up there.. I do take pride in telling them this especially when they’ve told me that a certian area isn’t for cycling on!
You a local lad then?Posted 9 years ago
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