Swinley Investment and Mountain Bike Network

Home Forum Bike Forum Swinley Investment and Mountain Bike Network

Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 167 total)
  • Swinley Investment and Mountain Bike Network
  • Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    The new trails will be ready by March and bikers will be banned from riding in other areas.

    Hmmm. While I appreciate the intention it strikes me that this is going to become another Hurtwood type of situation. The vast majority will (and already do) stick to the main trail network, a small group (BOB/Gorrick/SorrelCorp?) are allowed to build new trails to extend this and a tiny minority will still turn up and do what they like anyway. And in general the trails built by this latter group aren’t the sort of trails that ‘most’ riders will want to ride anyway.

    Also, is the Crowthorne side part of the Crown Estate? Think I’d heard that was part of the reason Gorrick race in that area, so it maybe unaffected by this?

    rj2dj
    Member

    Crowthorne Woods is Foresty Commission owned land.

    There are some trails there, mostly old race settings from Gorrick. There are none of the “yellow brick road” type trails you see in Swinley Forest though. As a result it can get very muddy and slow-going in places. Some people argue it’s better for that.

    I believe you don’t need a permit to ride on that land.

    There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding this development. Not least, how much of the 24km trails that will be available will just be the routes that already exist, with some signposted links inbetween?

    Premier Icon boltonjon
    Subscriber

    Crowthorne Woods are not effected in any way by the Crown Estate developments

    I was disheartened to see the first redevelopment of Swinley last night, where they have ploughed up the entrance into Stickler 3

    They appear to have ploughed up the first 3 corners, covering the first 50 yards

    Lots of people had already rode though this section – and the work only started Monday morning

    This raises 3 questions for me:-

    1) Why are they resurfacing the newest part of Stickler?

    2) If Stickler is 1.5 miles long, and they’ve done 50 yards in a day, how many months is Stickler going to be out of action?

    3) How on earth will the trail bed during the wet months when people are just going to ride it regardless?

    When i first learnt about the changes, my feelings were neutral – now i’m concerned that this redevelopment is going to heavily impact our winter riding and the trails will be worst of come the spring as they’re laying it too slowly at the wrong part of the year – foundations are everything for well armoured tracks!

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    boltonjohn – can’t be a whole day’s work as I rode it late morning and it was still intact, so maybe that’s 100 yards a day? πŸ˜‰ Guess you mean the North/’non tank traps’ end – that was crying out for a better link to the rest of the trail netwrok as the fire road/bog access really suffers in bad weather, but apart form a bit of maintenance to the first 5 yards or so I can’t see a need to rip up the rest of it.

    What I’m still worried about is what are they planning on doing with tracks like babymaker and mini-alps? They’re not exactly IMBA spec! Even deerstalker is barely a red compared to say the Red at GT, maybe for the 5 minutes when it’s freshly maintained, but it soon cut’s up into the lumpy bumpy track we all know and love.

    And while Swinley is a perfect example for anyone who wants to say “look MTBers cause more errosion than walkers” (which is a seperate argument), they’ve clear felled the area arround the gulley! So 170,000 bikers a year, and we’ve done less damage than whatever comerical* opperations they carry out havesting the trees.

    *assumption that it wasn’t disease controll, making way for other species of tree, habitat creation, or some other reason.

    On the other hand I wen for a ride on Saturday and left fairly quickly as the 8ft wide winter ‘singletrack’ got boring. So maybe in time I’ll enjoy the armoured stuff more.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    *is full of cynicism about this project*

    Premier Icon boltonjon
    Subscriber

    The purist – i agree – the armoured track at the start of the non-tank traps end of Stickler does not need work

    Yes, the muddy track intersecting it is in desperate need of rework

    Cinnamon girl – i’m with you!!!! πŸ™‚

    I’d be a lot less cynical if they published a map of what they’re planning.

    25km of green/blue/red doesn’t tell you very much, 24.9km could be a green fireroad loop!

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Chief Forester John Deakin explained: “Over the years, Swinley Forest has become increasingly popular with mountain bikers and extensive informal routes have been created through the forest. With a conservative estimate of over 170,000 cyclists using the site each year, the sheer volume of unrestricted mountain biking is having a detrimental impact on this protected environment which has been designated a Special Protection Area by Natural England.

    “The Crown Estate plans to reduce this impact on the natural environment whilst creating a centre of excellence for mountain biking. There will be a formal cycle network of 24.2km within an area of 1,000 hectares and we will be introducing green, blue and red cycle routes in line with the International Mountain Bike Association industry standards. All routes will begin from The Look Out Discovery Centre and we want to provide a range of challenges for families cycling for fun to highly skilled riders. Mountain biking is not permitted elsewhere on the Windsor estate and so we want to focus resources on providing excellence in Swinley Forest.”

    FCOL It’s a working forest, you know trees are planted, grow and then felled. Repeat and repeat and repeat. I’ve been a user of the Forest for over 20 years so I’ve seen it.

    I’m not taken in by this tosh about ‘protected environment/special protection area’.

    This is all to do with money, balancing books and how to screw Joe Public. Whatever happened to the megabucks happily taken from the Harry Potter filming? I heard mention of Β£20K being received by Bracknell Forest Borough Council for the use of a car park for filming for just one period of time.

    We’re not told the truth, there is no transparency whatsoever!

    From a selfish point of view, I don’t want to see families ending up on the trails that are beyond their abilities. You know, Alpha Male leading wifey and sprogs on their Argos bikes, determined to stoke his ego and demonstrate that riding Tank Traps/Toboggan Run/Deer Stalker is a piece of pi$$. πŸ˜‰

    Can we look forward to trails being policed, with newbies being removed if they dare ride outside of their skill level? Will I be removed from the trail if I scream at them to get outta my **** way?

    It all stinks of political correctness by jobsworths. 😐

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Two thoughts – one, the quote for C-G reinforces the need for all MTB to think about issues of sustainable development. Its too easy for us to take a cavalier, “I’ll ride where I like and bugger the consequences” approach. That’s a general observation BTW and not a personal one! The other, is slightly contradictory to the first, but this may well be a good thing. Exisiting trails may be strengthened and 95% of riders focused on them. That leaves (as always) the rest to be explored WITH DISCRETION by those in the know. Isn’t this how it works in most places? In other words, plus ca change, rein na change!

    Like most things, vocal opposition may be self-defeating. Much better to follow the tried and tested approach of “smile, agree, ignore”!

    Two thoughts – one, the quote for C-G reinforces the need for all MTB to think about issues of sustainable development. Its too easy for us to take a cavalier, “I’ll ride where I like and bugger the consequences” approach. That’s a general observation BTW and not a personal one! The other, is slightly contradictory to the first, but this may well be a good thing. Exisiting trails may be strengthened and 95% of riders focused on them. That leaves (as always) the rest to be explored WITH DISCRETION by those in the know. Isn’t this how it works in most places? In other words, plus ca change, rein na change!

    I agree with CG’s point through, a free for all at Swinely was perfectly sustainable, it’s a comercial forest and the bits not filled with MTBers are filled with kids making dens out of fallen branches and doggers f***** in the bushes. You could drop a bomb on the place and it’d look the same in 3 years time*, being an ex army training ground that’s probably how half the features started anyway!

    I’m all for new trails, armouring the worst of the existing trails, and to an extent even the creation of a waymarked loop. It’s the word ‘banned’ I’ve got issues with.

    *insert obvious joke about this being the exception to Bracknell town center in general which could be improved by the same method.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    A bit more digging on SPAs (yep I’m bored). Frown what I can see on this list, this is the SPA which covers Swinley. It specifically mentions 3 species of birds :- Nightjar, Woodlark and Dartford Warbler. AFAIK they all prefer open heathland, with the Nightjar also inhabiting recently cleared areas until they get too tall.

    Now, the heathland areas around Swinley are mainly Barossa and Poors Allotments, neither of which are part of the Crown Estate managed forestry. As these areas have very few bits of ‘trail’ (apart from gravel tracks) they don’t get much use from mountain bikers.

    So the SPA argument is a bit of a red herring when it comes to bikers causing damage to the Crown Estates commerically managed forestry.

    FWIW I can’t wait to see some new Sorrel designed bits of track, but if that means losing(*) a whole load of other good stuff it seems they’ll miss their ‘centre of excellence’ target by a mile.

    (*) in a teamhurtmore stylee

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    thisisnotaspoon – Member
    I agree with CG’s point through, a free for all at Swinely was perfectly sustainable,

    IMO, I would also agree with that. Part of the “fun” of Swinley is the navigation on your first few visits. So difficult to reconcile that with the idea that it is over-biked. But I am biased as only ever ride there mid-week when it is largely deserted and even then only rarely in comparison with Surrey Hills.

    Premier Icon boltonjon
    Subscriber

    I understand that the real reason behind the changes is to avert lawsuits against the Crown Estate

    There have been a couple of recent claims from cyclists who have damaged themselves and have raised lawsuits against the Crown Estate

    Therefore, the CE want to build the trail centre and cover everything in disclaimer signs stating that ‘you do this at your own risk’

    Therefore, if anyone hurts themselves of a designated trail, then there is no claim

    FFS – its mountain biking – if you cannot recognise the risks then you need a slap

    The whole thing about the wildlife is a diversion. Yes, there is one track which apparently effects some rare fungus and will be closed – but the rare bird population will not be effected by the changes in Swinley

    They are doing a good job in diverting the attention from the actual facts

    I’m also led to believe that the new map will released to the public some time this week

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Now, the heathland areas around Swinley are mainly Barossa and Poors Allotments, neither of which are part of the Crown Estate managed forestry. As these areas have very few bits of ‘trail’ (apart from gravel tracks) they don’t get much use from mountain bikers.

    There’s another one namely Wildmoor Heath, just west of Swinley. Apparently the Dartford Warbler was to be seen here. Funny in 25 years of dog walking, running and the occasional cheeky cycling myself and many other regular dog walkers had never ever seen one. 😐

    Of course the ‘improvements’ to that place were a joke. Fencing off the perimeter, creating paddocks, introducing cattle and ponies for grazing, felling big style etc etc. All under the remit of the local Wildlife Trust, who tried to get footpaths diverted and put up notices saying that all dogs should be on a lead. Jeez!

    What these neds forget is that if you have a densely populated area, then people need somewhere for recreation. Be that walking, running, walking dogs, introducing kids to the countryside etc. The countryside is not a museum.

    I’ll shut up now! πŸ˜†

    I’ve never been to Swinley and can’t comment on whether the project is worthwhile. But they are going to have to rip stuff up before they can make good.

    sanitised to death just like ashton court has become in Bristol

    For reference: AC, and the other flat trails in LW, were dreadful before the re-build – only worth riding in the “summer” when they weren’t an ugly, sticky mess. The “good ole days” of the original AC trail were a long time ago.

    Considering how flat the area is they did a damn good job making fun, fast, sustainable trails for locals to ride all year. There are still naturally eroded trails in the area (50A and LW) when you want them, but most cyclists don’t.

    Tough it out.

    tonyd
    Member

    Have to say I’m also very skeptical but will keep an open mind. If the worst happens and it becomes a sterile unexciting place to ride full of people that shouldn’t really be there (eg CGs Alpha Male example above) then there are lots of other options locally.

    And as already mentioned there is also the bliss of ignorance – if entering the forest from somewhere other than the lookout, how would you know what the rules are?!

    Edit to add: And of course if it all goes well we could have some even better riding on the doorstep. I refer you to the recent thread about plodding through mud all winter πŸ™‚

    And as already mentioned there is also the bliss of ignorance – if entering the forest from somewhere other than the lookout, how would you know what the rules are?!

    They clearly have shares in a signage company going by the number of “you need a permit to ride here” essays signs posted arorund the forrest.

    Premier Icon shortcut
    Subscriber

    Pretty sure it will all come good and that the threads on here about how wet, gritty, sandy, brakepad eroding, sloppy etc that we see on here will become a thing of the past by this time next year.

    And.. don’t forget no more permits!

    uselesshippy
    Member

    Damn. Does this mean you’ll all be annoying me around tunnel hill……

    Damn. Does this mean you’ll all be annoying me around tunnel hill……

    <troll heckle>

    harrrrrrHARRRRRRRRR

    </troll heckle>

    Pretty sure it will all come good and that the threads on here about how wet, gritty, sandy, brakepad eroding, sloppy etc that we see on here will become a thing of the past by this time next year.

    And.. don’t forget no more permits!

    Small benifit, back of a fag packet calc say the gorrick 100 uses 1/3rd of the trails inc some fire road so assume it’s 5 miles of ST (being very conservative), so say there’s about 15miles of singletrack riding to do, it’s 2 way so 30miles (and I reckon that’s very conservative). 24km split between 3 loops of which at least the green will be pants (to the kind of rider this affects)? We’ll be lucky if there’s a 1/3rd of the current trail legaly accessible!

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    scratches chin …. hmmmm

    1>#most# of the riders I see in Swinley use the armoured amber trails and go to the gully jumps and labyrinth and stickler and then ‘play’ in the woods nearby.

    2>Then a few less link up the armoured trails beyond this along seagul and out to corkscrew and others. A mix of armoured and natural.

    3>even less still use the above in combination with the rest of the forest.

    So… Most do 1, many do 1 and 2 and a few do 1, 2 and 3. Even less will just do natural stuff, maybe more local riders or people wanting the peace and quiet.

    I think theres a good argument to put in an armoured route covering the above with 1 then secondly 2 as priority.

    I dont think it needs to be directional, directional trails usually are best when there is some serious descents that would be risky to anybody foolish enough to climb them. Aside from the Labyrinth stuff, there’s nothing much else that strikes me as needing to be directional.

    I think signage would help allieviate some of the hotspots of 1. It would encourage use beyond these and into other features of the forest. It would also keep most day trippers on the mtb trails, so potentially reduce friction with walkers or areas they’d rather not let us into.

    hmmm… still scratches chin… on balance I think some better management of existing trails and some enhancements would probably solve many of their issues.

    /end of musing

    atlaz
    Member

    I’m still puzzled as to why the plans still haven’t been released. Considering it sounds like the trails will be ready in 4 months and by the sounds of it some work may have started, the only riders I know who’ve seen the plans say that it’s SUPER MEGA TOP SECRET!!!!!!!! and can’t tell anyone until the stars align or something.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    atlaz – maybe they’re worried that CG will stage a Swampy style protest and obstruct the new trail construction until they come clean about the real motives behind this πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    πŸ˜† @ thepurist. Relax, I’ve moved away from the area but still like to add my twopennyworth to the thread. πŸ˜€

    Zulu-Eleven
    Member

    I think Ti Pin Man has it pretty much spot on to be honest.

    rootes1
    Member

    So… Most do 1, many do 1 and 2 and a few do 1, 2 and 3. Even less will just do natural stuff, maybe more local riders or people wanting the peace and quiet.

    Yer seems about right, i did a loop out from Woking, via tunnel, high speed test track into swinley round for a bit then back to woking with a mate of mine. only really saw bods at Labyrinth at at Lookout for tea and cake. rest was quiet.. damn muddy out in swinley though

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Ooooh, I said I would shut up. 😳

    What should have happened many years ago was a ‘working party’ being set up involving the Crown Estate and (preferably) local mountain bikers who had absolutely no affiliation with a club or organisation.

    They should have been involved in decision-making concerning new trails/existing trails. There is a huge amount of goodwill in the mtb community and there would have been no shortage of volunteers to design/build trails, within the limits of their expertise obviously.

    It’s quite insulting to users, especially locals, to see a company being bought in to design and build. No disrespect to them obviously.

    But here we have an opportunity for ‘localism’ to be implemented but people have been failed. Very short-sighted imo.

    atlaz
    Member

    The thing I find odd is that even the riders they’ve got involved have been told they can’t discuss things. Just seems a slightly random way to go about things if what you want is to bring everyone with you so people work together rather than the “screw you, we’re keeping our old trails” approach

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    So where have these riders come from then?

    atlaz
    Member

    No idea. I live 500 miles away so wasn’t fussed in doing more than moaning on the internet about the unfairness of things πŸ™‚

    At least one is a member of the Swinley facebook group so may either be known in the area, have been sought because of the facebook group or have gone to speak to CE.

    Premier Icon boltonjon
    Subscriber

    Riders brought into the fold are delegates from Swinley Forest MTB Facebook page, Gorrick & Berks on Bikes

    I would imagine that they were asked to keep the plans secret

    The idea was to obtain ‘typical riders’ wishes/requirements from the different sources. However, i believe that all 3 parties were pretty much ignored

    I thought that the chap from the Facebook page asking a wider audience of what riders wanted to see was only released on facebook after the official plans were finalised

    To be fair though, the Crown Estate were not obliged to share anything with these parties

    atlaz
    Member

    Absolutely not, but it is a fairly transparent operation if you say “Plans are completed, tell us what you’d like to see”

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Riders brought into the fold are delegates from Swinley Forest MTB Facebook page, Gorrick & Berks on Bikes

    Now why doesn’t (second and third) surprise me!

    πŸ™„

    allthepies
    Member

    cinnamon_girl wrote:

    Riders brought into the fold are delegates from Swinley Forest MTB Facebook page, Gorrick & Berks on Bikes
    Now why doesn’t (second and third) surprise me!

    Perhaps because or their history with Swinley MTBing, creating/maintaining the trails and administering the permit scheme ?

    I take it you have a bee in your bonnet with them πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    erm…. because those 3 groups broadly speaking cover the three main ‘organised’ groups that use the forest. We’ve covered many times that without a single voice representing MTBing in general we are easily divided and conquered. I too would have welcomed a wider consultation exercise, but given the Crown Estate seem to have decided against that and instead opted to discuss with the organised groups that most obviously use the forest, who else would they have gone to?

    I know you don’t like them, you’ve made it clear several times, let’s not start that one again.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @cinamon_girl – Gorrick arrange races at Swinley so the CE are used to dealing with them, Swinley is in Berkshire so I’d imagine Berks on Bikes would be an obvious group to contact. Not exactly controversial or surprising ?

    On a personal note and being a bit of a cynic these plans look pretty negative, the only permissible riding will be on the official trails. The danger is the un-official stuff will be blocked off or destroyed.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    I take it you have a bee in your bonnet with them

    I know you don’t like them, you’ve made it clear several times, let’s not start that one again

    Nope, you’re both wrong.

    rj2dj
    Member

    It will be easier to be positive once the plans have been fully revealed and the real motives behind them admitted.

    I think I’m right in thinking that if they wanted to, the CE could have just said, “Right, that’s enough. No bikes, thank you please. If the FC want to run a trail centre in Crowthorne Woods then they can, but we’re not interested.”

    They haven’t done that – but it’s not completely clear what they have done yet! I’ve never had a trail centre built near me, so I don’t know: but I have been given the impression that they often tolerate cheeky bits off to the side on the basis they aren’t ridden by many people so don’t cause a big problem. Happy to be corrected if someone knows of an example where that’s absolutely not the case?

    It’s not as if there’s not an awful lot of other riding to be done in the area if Swinley doesn’t float your boat any more after the changes… but those areas do have their own quirks I guess!

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    FWIW I’ve been out for a bit of a recce this morning as I’m meant to be leading a bunch of newbie friends & family this weekend.

    Stickler is now fenced off at each end – there was a sole digger in there as far as I could see, still on the most recent section so I doubt it’ll reopen for the weekend. From what I could see the work hasn’t changed the line at all, just done some maintenance on the trail and even some (dare I say it…) improvements. For isntance the first few berms at the start looked bigger & better built, though it looked like it used the same local material so will need a fair bit of bedding in.

    Also if you’re thinking of avoiding Stickler and heading off toward the jump track on the whole 9 yds, think again – the last section of that was also fenced off for forestry work. The other end by the manhole cover wasn’t fenced so I guess it may only by shut to the fire road with the double drop on.

    Didn’t spot anything else but apart from that I kept away from the regular trails.

Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 167 total)

The topic ‘Swinley Investment and Mountain Bike Network’ is closed to new replies.