• This topic has 32 replies, 19 voices, and was last updated 10 years ago by Taff.
Viewing 33 posts - 1 through 33 (of 33 total)
  • Swinley conditions? Blimmin' 'orrible (in case you were about to ask).
  • Premier Icon Squirrel
    Full Member

    Rode there this morning: 9yds, reservoir, wall, stickler, toboggan run, tank traps, seagull etc (not necessarily in that order). What a mess. I've been riding there regularly (2 – 3 times a week) for around 15 years, and don't remember it being so soggy or seeing so much mtb-related damage before (although I do accept my memory is not the best 🙁 ). Stickler and tank traps are particulary bad.

    I know it's been done to death, but just thought I'd mention it. No judgements or imperious dictats.

    Oh, and was that CG who passed me by the Lower Star Post? Yellow backpack cover? Difficult to recognise people under all the winter clobber 😀

    Premier Icon PeterPoddy
    Free Member

    I've been riding there regularly (2 – 3 times a week) for around 15 years

    So, it's you that's ruined it then? 😉

    IMO, about 3/4 of the trails in Swinley need ploughing up now.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    IMO, about 3/4 of the trails in Swinley need ploughing up now.

    [Nods], aye reckon you're right

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Full Member

    IMO, about 3/4 of the trails in Swinley need ploughing up now.

    Why would you do that – it's not as if there's anywhere else to ride round here. 😉 BOB have certainly got a lot on their plate if they're going to fix the bits that are crumbling and 'improve' any new bits of trail before the summer. Shame us mere mortals can't pitch in to help.

    It does seem that a lot of bikers are averse to a bit of mud and the odd corner though – alternate lines keep on springing up all over the place, then get ridden to death themselves resulting in a wider boggy mess. Some bits I remember as singletrack from a few years back are now as wide as the fire roads, and the Labyrinth seems to be losing corners at a steady rate.

    Premier Icon CaptainFlashheart
    Free Member

    Swinley is reaching the sort of stage where it needs to be better able to cope with the massive number of people riding there. Part of the problem may well be that a lot of London/SE riders have got fed up with the Surrey Hills being so overcrowded that they have gone and made Swinley so overcrowded!

    Not sure what the solution is, as the Surrey Hills are equally mashed after all that cold weather.

    Premier Icon PeterPoddy
    Free Member

    It does seem that a lot of bikers are averse to a bit of mud and the odd corner though

    That's it in a nutshell I reckon. All the narrow twisty bits are now wide and straight.
    But yeah, like you say, there's nowhere else to go, especially in the Farnborough/Aldershot direction. Nowhere at all…… 🙄

    Premier Icon PeterPoddy
    Free Member

    Not sure what the solution is,

    Trail maintainance by someone who knows what they're doing. BOB try hard, I'll give them that, but the new stuff is horrible. No flow, poor/nonexistant drainage, and the wrong surfacing material.

    There's plenty of trail building masters in the UK, they just need to start charging for the car park and employ one. Imagine how much money £2 a day parking would bring in…..

    I've been riding Swinley on and off since the early 90s, and for the last year or two I just can't see the point in going there anymore. It's wercked.

    Premier Icon allthepies
    Free Member

    Shhhhhh!

    Premier Icon allthepies
    Free Member

    >the wrong surfacing material.

    Crown Estate only allow material which already exists in the forest.

    Premier Icon PeterPoddy
    Free Member

    Crown Estate only allow material which already exists in the forest.

    Yeah, I know where it comes from (Digging gravel is my line of work 🙂 ) and I'm not surprised at that, but it's crap material and poorly constructed. A lot of the trails are like riding along the top of a bumpy pipeline……

    Premier Icon rootes1
    Full Member

    <<But yeah, like you say, there's nowhere else to go, especially in the Farnborough/Aldershot direction. Nowhere at all…… >>

    erm? are you being sarcastic 😉

    lots of places and ones that don't go boggy either.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Full Member

    The Swinley permit scheme is surely the way to raise more cash, first off by simply enforcing it even a little bit. I pay up but have never once been asked to show my permit.

    @rootes1 – we're all certain, there is NO OTHER RIDING near Swinley. All is flat and tarmacced, no single track to be seen…

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    It used to be the last refuge for Chilterns riders when the woods there got bad in the Winter, "At least Swinley will be ridable", was the phrase…Not any more. Swinley in the Winter is just cut to ribbons. Won't ride there unless it's bone dry, and I only ever go Saturday afternoon when it just empties for some reason…

    Premier Icon PeterPoddy
    Free Member

    erm? are you being sarcastic

    Me? Nooooooooooooooooo. I wouldn't do that. Never……

    8)

    Premier Icon brooess
    Free Member

    2nd thread on this subject in a week (too many riders for too little unprepared land). I think we have a problem now.

    Simply put, mountain biking is becoming more popular, which overall has to be a good thing given rates of ill-health in this country (physical and mental). But in the highly populated SE the land simply can't take the weight of the traffic.

    Of course, people not being sensible enough to stay away when it's wet, riding round muddy bits, skidding, braking into corners etc don't help but the basic problem is too many people riding on too little land.

    Not sure what the solution is tbh. More trail centres I guess. Sadly. As ace as they are, IMO they take the soul out of being in the woods/hills in the open air on your bike.

    In the meantime I'm riding my road bike till the trails get dusty again. Or piling up the M4 to Wales…

    Premier Icon DM52
    Free Member

    Charging £2 for a parking permit would surely just empty the car park into Coral Reef across the road wouldn't it?

    If there was effective policing of the riding permit I dare say the trail maintenance money would more that double.

    Good or bad condition for me it is still the best and most convenient riding spot in the area.

    Premier Icon rootes1
    Full Member

    @rootes1 – we're all certain, there is NO OTHER RIDING near Swinley. All is flat and tarmacced, no single track to be seen…

    cough yes now thinking about it all that other riding i have done in the area has indeed been on tarmac 😆

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    Where doesn't get boggy then?

    Premier Icon ddmonkey
    Full Member

    I had an ace ride at Swinley on Saturday morning, yes it was a very muddy affair but still fun. Don't understand why all trails have to be smoothed and bermed….

    Premier Icon HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    Its not the end of the world is it?? it'll dry out, plants will start growing and the trails will get narrower in the summer. Any "damage" is just confined to within a few feet of the existing trails, the whole forest isn't being burnt down or anything.

    As for the 'too many people' argument, won't that sort itself out? if the conditions get REALLY cr@p, people will stop riding there because its no fun which automatically solves the problem.

    to some extent anyway.

    Premier Icon Squirrel
    Full Member

    Well bu@@er me gently with a rusty steerer, I seem to have generated a sensible, non-abusive discussion on STW! Must be a new first 😯

    BTW,no-one seems to have mentioned the mess around Pudding/New England Hill: new access tracks pulled through the trees, trees cut down, temporary metal access roads and large vehicles liquidising the surface of the fire roads. Seems to be the latest film crew.

    Premier Icon Radioman
    Free Member

    I think Bobs do a very good job considering the cheap permit cost. Its a bit of a shame though when some riders go mashing up constructed stuff when the ground is very soft. I saw a couple trying to ride down the middle of the jump gulley in the mud straight over all the table tops leaving big grooves in them. I do feel sorry for the builders!

    Its fair to all to use common sense and try to avoid excess erosion. The recent snow melt has made a number of bits very soft.

    As Horatio said above the trails will dry out and the sun will come out and it will all get better in the spring.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Full Member

    Hello squirrel! Yes, I was the miserable-looking one, struggling big-time 😥

    Well, what can I say? I actually deliberately avoided most of the singletrack today and rode over the RMA side. I never cease to be amazed at the distances people will travel to ride at Swinley. However, in an ideal world, it would be nice if less people rode there for the time being, just to give the trails a wee chance of recovering.

    I had thought that with the recession and increasing cost of fuel, people would stay local but that doesn't seem to be the case.

    On a serious note, some radical decisions need to be made re trail maintenance, insufficient car parking etc.

    Still, I'm happy for the natural trails to remain relatively empty and undiscovered in Hampshire etc – means I can do plenty of exploring whilst everyone else is either at Swinley or the trail centres.

    It's good to have a choice 8)

    Premier Icon jond
    Free Member

    >if the conditions get REALLY cr@p, people will stop

    No, they'll still go but in fewer numbers, bear in mind BOB ride there (or thereabouts) several days a week, so why would they want to ride knackered trails ?

    If trails get wide, they tend to stay ride 'cos people ride over the whole width – so nothing much will grow anyway. Hence you need to maintain the trail line in some way.

    I would guess the 'smooth and bermed' is partly so they'll drain to the inside of the corner (tho' I know what you mean about the bobbly pipeline, PP)

    >Shame us mere mortals can't pitch in to help.

    Problem is it relies on BOB to do any maintenance, and they probably need a lot more help.
    I *think* in the past (I was a BOB member some years back) there may have been posts on here for when there's been some work going on – tho' I just had a quick search and couldn't see one for the last several months. But judging by past (unrelated) experience, I suspect there's a tendancy for people to assume it's someone else's problem (or they can't be bothered 'cos they'll just ride somewhere else).

    BTW – I'm pretty sure BOB don't touch anything in the jumps gully.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Full Member

    Years ago, trails would get closed off and allowed to regenerate. This does not happen now, obviously due to the armouring.

    I honestly believe that if the trail building was open to all, there would be a huge turnout of local riders. I would be more than happy to make tea 8)

    Premier Icon PeterPoddy
    Free Member

    Its not the end of the world is it?? it'll dry out, plants will start growing and the trails will get narrower in the summer

    That's the problem – They don't. People cut corners, avoid puddles and mud and year by year the trail get wider as the sides are pushed out and vegitation flattened. There's more than one trail up there I used to love that are, effectively, now ruined. Too wide, to stright, no flow. It's a shame really, they could do worse then chuck some ruddy great logs all over some of them IMO.

    Premier Icon neilnevill
    Free Member

    c-g people ARE staying local. If you live in London (south anyway) swinley is opne of the handful of places to ride off road 'locally'

    It's as broess says. the sport has grown, more riders = more damage. Things do always look terrible this time of year…I used to weep at the state fo the trails in bristol and over the winter put a great deal of effort in with Mt Agreeable and others on the dig days…. come june are much improved. Although I am sure there was a steady wideining and deteriation year on year due to the increasing numbers, despite the huge efforts of the few diggers. Things will level out eventually and over time more riders realise they need to ride sensibly, avoid the wet spots or ride on road in the winter, drive a 'barrow, mattock, spade etc. and put something back. it won't change over night though.

    BOB and the crown estate need to learn what method of trail biulding/repair works for the soil at Swinley. In Bristol we learnt to use the 'Roman road' treatment on bad bits (dig trench, big rocks, then 40mm gravel then pea gravel) and that was durable. Other methods were less durable, but drainage, digging sinks, ditches and not biulding berms in sill places was the biggest thing to maintain a trail.

    Fingers crossed things will improve soon….but not much will happen now until late April and the trees wake up and suck the soil dry.

    Premier Icon Taff
    Free Member

    Oh crap, I was contemplating travelling up on Saturday. Guess it's another local ride then

    Premier Icon petetheplumber
    Free Member

    From what I understand you can have too many helper building trails insurance problems you can only use local materials. You can only build and maintain trails at certain times of year because of wild life considerations. Been riding Swinley for 20 years and I have only once see riders doing anything to help the trails. It would help if we all went through the puddles but we all ride around them.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Full Member

    neil – fair comment. I must confess that some Chiltern landowners I had the misfortune to "engage" with thought that it was the "Londoners" causing the problems in the Chilts 🙄 For my sins, I agreed!

    I guess that whenever the Crown Estate are involved, it's never going to be straight-forward ie rules/regulations. Time for some joined-up thinking perhaps?

    I still maintain that this word "insurance" is used as an excuse. Am more than happy to put something back.

    Premier Icon bananaworld
    Free Member

    Hmmm, maybe I'm not of the same caliber of rider as some others, but I went for a ride around yesterday and had a darn fun time. Some sections of trails were truly mashed to ****, but a lot of stuff still rode really well. And I rode through EVERY puddle I could find – why ride around them when they're BEGGING to be splashed through?? 😀

    Might it come down to choice of bike…? The last few times I've ridden there have been on a rigid singlespeed so the pace has been very different to my days of ploughing through stuff on a full susser a few years ago. Riding rigid means you definitely have to scan and read the upcoming terrain with more care which has the side-effect of making you more aware of sensitive ground. Just a thought…

    Anyway, despite being stuck in not-so-lovely-London I would say that Swinley is one of my 'local' rides – it's only an hour from where my mountain bikes live and well worth it.

    I've ridden in Swinley many times in the last five or so years (though apart from the very rare occasions that it's been guided, thanks to Gorrick or the mighty C_G, I've just pootled randomly as I still don't know my way around…) and have always come away grinning.

    Premier Icon bananaworld
    Free Member

    ##### Swinley Snow Warning #####

    Forgot to say: beware if you are riding in Swinley as there was still snow on the ground there yesterday:

    Premier Icon Taff
    Free Member

    Definately think I'm goign to stay local. Either that or I'll have to make sure I pack the spade and snow chains…

Viewing 33 posts - 1 through 33 (of 33 total)

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