Swinley Investment and Mountain Bike Network

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  • Swinley Investment and Mountain Bike Network
  • interesting. as long as they dont stop me riding in from crowthorne woods underneath the bridge and just joining the red route there.

    packer
    Member

    Are those photos of the green trail or the blue trail?

    Can anyone see what’s happening at the Labrynth? Looks like possibly going in at the end of deerstalker and doing a portion of the labrynth? But then it looks like it goes in and turns right (whereas the labrynth is on the left).

    interesting. as long as they dont stop me riding in from crowthorne woods underneath the bridge and just joining the red route there.

    Can’t see how they could without putting up a big fence, Crowthorne is FC up untill the gate at the end of the Seagull?

    they’d need to block off the fireroad going in to stop me…. wonder how much crossing over fireroads the routes will do as walkers and dog walkers will still use them and i fully plan on teaching my dog to ride along side the bike on some of the fireroads in there…

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    Is it just me that can’t open anjs’ first link – the pdf*? I’m guessing the jpg is a rough outline of blue & red routes???

    Unless they build bridges or tunnels there will be plenty of fire road crossings, so opprtunities to join wherever you like (& ride whichever way you like!)

    * – EDIT – chrome opened it fine, FFox didn’t want to

    tis what i was thinking with the fireroad crossings…

    hope it doesn’t suck the fun out of swinley by having lots of grumpy strava people getting pissy at people being slower than them.

    EDIT: to explain a little better…. it was nice chillin behind new riders on bits like the labyrinth, holding back a good distance and giving bits of encouragement, i hope the new trails dont end up with unnofficial trail guardians getting angry at people being too slow in their opinions. people can’t progress to the next level without trying the next level!

    muppetman
    Member

    @ packer – those are of the red trail- saw them sunday, gonna be sweet, not extreme, but faster than most at swinley

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    not extreme, but faster than most either of the other two trails at swinley

    if you believe what’s being said about the rest of the trails there 😥

    scu98rkr
    Member

    Good to see a few more positive views on this page. Page 2 in particular was full of extreme negativity.

    Looks like on the blue trail there will be a fair bit of new singletrack.

    Looks like there a few sections of fireroad still on the red which is a shame.

    Good to see a few more positive views on this page. Page 2 in particular was full of extreme negativity.

    Mine, and I suspect others negativity is due to CE’s attitude coming accross as “they’re our toys and we’ll take them home whenever we like”. the first most people on here heard about it was either this thread or coming accross the trail closed signs.

    It wouldn’t have hurt them to to put some signs up explaing what was/is/will go(ing) on or have a more public consultation, the majority of people probably aren’t on BOB or the facebook group.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I would be very sad if you really aren’t allowed off the prescribed trails. Tragedy.

    Sparky77
    Member

    the first most people on here heard about it was either this thread or coming accross the trail closed signs.

    I’ll second that. Between the guys at work and myself we ride Swinley at least once a week, if not more and to not hear anything of this until it was announced on here was a bit dissapointing to be honest.

    I’m going to be interested to hear how they are going to police riding in the ‘banned areas’. There is still quite a few of well used trails that don’t look as though they are going to be encompassed within the new routes.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    Long gone are the days of few bikers using swinley, it attracts riders from all over the south, and in all weather. If the choice is ride built trails* or closing it, then I know what Id go for know matter how much I might dislike it. But some of the trails are trashed now, both through weather and traffic. Mind you, I cant see that we do any more damage than say: a dirty great big water pipe project….

    * lots of people ( rightly or wrongly) want to go mountain biking solely on these types of trail. Each to their own

    Can anyone see what’s happening at the Labrynth? Looks like possibly going in at the end of deerstalker and doing a portion of the labrynth? But then it looks like it goes in and turns right (whereas the labrynth is on the left).

    Think that’s right.
    Here’s the (incomplete)[list]old map[/list]
    Here’s the [list]new map[/list]

    Looks like Babymaker and that rather fun downhill run next to it are to be bulldozed, which is a shame.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I don’t know if any of the trails there are really bad. Nothing out of the ordinary for a forest trail. I mean there’s mud and all, but that’s not a big deal. It’s not like say the main routes up the Brecon Beacons or something.

    …unless I’m reading this wrong and the ‘DH zone’ will actually contain those runs separately… *fingers crossed*

    What he said +1 about babymaker seemingly avoiding the cull, shame mini-alps seems to be missed out though, that could do with a propper surface! 🙁

    Odd that they’ve designated DH and freeride areas, but the current ‘advanced mountainbiking area’ isn’t shown. Does that mean the other jumps/drops are being removed. And does it mean babaymaker etc are being made official like the red/blue trails or willthey just be a free for all for the diggers to continue building what they like?

    I suppose a lot of the negativity stems from realising how lucky we have been with Swinley until now.

    For the past 10-15 years we’ve been able to go there and just ride where we like without any bother from anyone. The network of trails was always evolving I found it still possible to come across new bits or re-discover areas I hadn’t ridden for years. Every ride can be different and despite the crowds and trashed trails it can still feel like you are just exploring some woods on a bike.

    And sometimes you meet the nicest people at the bottom of a bog, or tangled up in some bushes, or hopelessly lost.

    I suppose something was bound to happen, it is just too popular to stay as it is (a big kids playground). For me the writing was on the wall when BOB started building Sticklers rather than just repairing the trails that were suffering from overuse. I’m sure the whole “trail centre experience” will be fun, for at least a while, but I’ll miss the mud, the roots, the odd little out of the way bits, and not being able to ride seagull in both directions.

    gee
    Member

    The trails I’ll miss are New England switchbacks and the one parallel to 9yards by the drain cover end. That was a nice one and has already gone under felled trees. Hopefully the new blue trails will be worth the loss. It will be nice to have all-weather trails, although the motorway surfacing oils definitely do with a shedload of rocks to add some interest. It will be a shame too that ‘big drop’ has gone as that was about the only techy bit. Plus the first ever trail I rode there, a nice twisty one opposite the reservoir, has gone as have the steep ones at the top of the wall. Shame.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Someone should show this thread to the authorities, so they can see what they are destroying forever.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    Was thinking something similar molgrips. I’d have thought that Gorrick, BOB & the Facebook group probably share a lot of the concerns expressed on here. AFAIK they’ve all had some sort of contact with the CE & SorrelCorp about this work, but either haven’t asked/had answers about these things or else are sitting on the info as part of some sort of secret conspiracy pact (where’s that tin foil hat?).

    Someone should show this thread to the authorities, so they can see what they are destroying forever.

    What? That they’ve upset the “middle class whiney (coloquial term for penis)bags” as the urbandictionary.com defines STW?

    YOU CAN TAKE OUR 8FT WIDE BOGS THAT USED TO BE SINGLETRACK

    BUT YOU CAN NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOM!!!!!!!!

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    as usual this thread shows humans really love change… not. ;o)

    Looking at this logically, man made trails get used most of the time by most of the people. We all use them now to link the tourist hotspots – Stickler, Seagull etc. Then we ride (AKA get lost) around linking these with nice more natural trails.

    So whats going to change? Nowt.

    We’ll still mostly use the man made trails, only now there will be more. We’ll still be going to the tourist hotspots and now linking more up with the new man made trails. And we will still be going off these new routes around the forest BUT most people, most of the time will use the armoured trails, thus probably reducing wear and tear on the more natural stuff.

    Trail centres arent bad things, they help to introduce more people to the sport we love. I like the fact theres a green route, ace for total newbies and families. The new trails arent gong to stop people determined to use the more natural stuff. Stop moaning. ;o)

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    So whats going to change? Nowt.

    Hopefully. Is it only the yellow brick road stuff that’s to be preserved? If so, will it be made into one single loop?

    Every time I get lost ride there about 50% of it is the yellow brick road, the rest is nice peaty singletrack and random trails of various kinds. I don’t want to be made to stop doing that.

    Trail centres are great things, I love them and ride at them a lot. However at every one I know, the trail centre is not at the expense of ‘natural’ trails. You can still do that if you choose. I’m just worried that this would take a big area of forest out of commission.

    So whats going to change? Nowt.

    Depends how they enforce the ban on mountainbiking.

    On the one hand they may do nothing (I presume they’re not stopping families riding round on the fire roads) and everything will continue as normal, abeit with a one way system, which lets face it, we’ll probably ignore at off peak times.

    On the other hand they had got more visible checking permits in the last few years so could have a jobsworth in a landrover chastising people for riding the corkscrew (which isn’t on those maps unless I’m imagining it in the wrong place?). Or even worse, completely demolishing anything unofficial or some tactical clear felling.

    And what molgrips said about most trail centers not being att he expense of natural trails +1. No one is unhappy about new trails. We’re less happy about the loss of exisitng ones (or at least the permission to ride on them).

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    I dont think anybody will stop you, how can they? the point is to reduce usage off the mtb trail, which will happen naturally as more people will stick to the man made stuff. they cant sign post every footpath or police every junction, the forest is too big and rambling, what they can dol is make statements to discourage people straying and hand in hand with dryer, and more man made stuff, it will. It will put ‘day trippers off’, is all, not regulars who know the forest well.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    I’m looking forward to seeing some fat blokey trying to chase us MTBers off a trail puffing and panting running down the single track after us.

    From what i hear the consultation with BOB’s and Gorrick etc has gone like thus

    “We don’t like what you’re planning… maybe you should…”

    reply “We don’t care what you like or don’t like, this is how it’s going to be…..”

    “Yes but…what about..”

    “Yeah, we don’t care ….”

    Ad Infiniitum.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    so could have a jobsworth in a landrover chastising people for riding the corkscrew (which isn’t on those maps unless I’m imagining it in the wrong place?). Or even worse, completely demolishing anything unofficial or some tactical clear felling.

    This is my concern – my understanding is that there’s going to be three colour coded, defined routes, and the rest (all the off-official map stuff) is going to be off limits. And what does that mean – illegal* to ride but still actually there, or actively blocked off or bulldozed / ripped up.

    * remember, it’s private land, the landowner can in theory ban bikes if they want to. Then you get into the usual discussion about who can enforce that, trespass, etc., but different from the usual theft of a cheeky footpath where unless it goes right through a farm you’re unlikely to actually encounter the landowner or their agent, they will have wardens in landrovers so the chances of being caught in the act will be far higher.

    Technical point to TINAS – corkscrew is not on the Crown Estate, it’s on FC land in Crowthorne wood. So not part of this process, but who knows what the future holds for that side of the fence too.

    so will people need permits once all this is done?

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    LOL they have for Years mate.

    i know, i’ve got permits dangling off my bike 🙂 i just wondered as the permit money went towards BOB/gorrick/insurance i thought, but its a different company doing the work now?

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    no, permit scheme is ending

    Current policy on permits (at least as of two weeks ago) is that if you need to buy a day permit, you get your car park charge refunded. No discount if you bought a yearly permit though!

    rj2dj
    Member

    In his press release from CE, John Deakin states that they have made a conservative estimate of 170,000 riders per year using Swinley.

    Out of idle curiosity I did a few calcs, based on some assumptions:

    80% of riding is done on the weekend: 136,000 riders @ weekends
    50 weekends a year (100 days): 1360 riders per weekend
    Riders set out between 9-2: 272 riders per hour

    Which would mean that on AVERAGE, you’d have 4.5 riders per minute (or roughly one every 13 seconds) setting out from just the ONE blue trail by the lookout. That’s not even adjusted for seasons, where I would guess you could easily double it for Bank Holidays or summer holidays.

    Considering 170,000 was a “conservative estimate”, is the biggest danger not just that the Blue run will become incredibly over-crowded as everyone uses it to either get to the Jump/Freeride section, or to DH section, or to the red route?

    Back of a fag packet calculations, I know.

    I think that incudes familys going for a ride on the fire roads. Although 5 riders/minute probably isn’t a bad estimate for the whole 9 yards on a dry weekend. If you pause for a rest someone or more likely a group will overtake you.

    I went round at about 10pm on a Saturday night, there were still 4 sets of lights just on Stickler as I pased! Say most people were there for 2 hours, maybe 10 areas the size of stickler, 40 riders makes that one settign off every 3 minutes even at the most off peak of times!

    170,000 does seem an odly exact figure, I wonder if there’s been a machine counting wheels past Go-ape and the tea rooms?

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    I dont believe their numbers are right, i know its a big forest but I cant, and havent, seen 1300 odd riders in there even on a summers weekend.

    own up, who is half a rider? must be me. :o)

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    Agree with the calc to get the 4.5 riders per min, but the reality would probably be more like a group (of say 5-10 on average) would pass by within a few seconds of each other, and then no-one else for another minute or two. And a minute of riding at 12km/h (just to keep the calc simple) is 200m, so you’re talking gaps between groups of 200-400m. Still busy, but particularly on the twisty stuff, 200m can put you out of sight with the group ahead and the group behind so you may as well be the only group on the trail.

    The issue will be at the start / end of sections, where groups will regroup and in doing so the next will catch up, so will be like playing golf – each hole can be played almost non-stop, but then you’ll bunch up on the next tee again. Do we need an agreed etiquette on the back of the trail map reminding us to let faster riders through 😉

    Premier Icon GDRS
    Subscriber

    This has got me down. Been riding here since 92. Permit and all. Among people I ride with we have had the odd conversation along the lines of……

    its getting busier – but it will clear out come the winter……and then it’s still busy – one day it might be an idea to get a few routes ‘one way’ traffic etc.

    Anyway, I will give it a try, but out of protest – I MAY NOW NOT BUY A CUP OF TEA.

    An idea (not a good one) but does anyone fancy redoing the Swinley flash mob / love in?

    I have been on a couple in the past – and loved being shown new routes and ways to link up old faithful routes.

    May be this is the last chance to ‘legally’ hit all the Gold in the forrest?

    the point is to reduce usage off the mtb trail, which will happen naturally as more people will stick to the man made stuff. they cant sign post every footpath or police every junction, the forest is too big and rambling, what they can do is make statements to discourage people straying and hand in hand with dryer, and more man made stuff, it will. It will put ‘day trippers off’, is all, not regulars who know the forest well.

    Indeed, I reckon the big point has been that up till now there’s never been a cohesive ‘loop’ with the existing trails, so a lot of the daytrippers wander off piste, as other than the built trails there’s no ‘direction’ to tell them what to do next.

    An idea (not a good one) but does anyone fancy redoing the Swinley flash mob / love in?

    I like the sound of that.

    But Phil’s married now, is he still allowed sexyparties?

    lol of course i’m allowed sexy parties!

    but it doesn’t have to be me that organises them 😉 set a time and date, promote it, make the point that everyone is welcome and anybody who think’s they’re cooler than another rider because of their bike or skills will be bluntly reminded of how much of a knob they look in a bike helmet and riding clothes…. sorted.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    So, in summary then – will I be able to ride there tomorrow night?

    I must admit that I am uncertain what people mean by “trail centres” other than it being a term of abuse on STW. I only ride in Surrey Hills and Lakes mostly singletrack and off-piste stuff. The only TC I have visited was Whinlater in the Lakes which I enjoyed (as something different) and so I guess TC=slightly sanitised surfaces (ie fewer roots and boggy bits?) with differing degrees of difficulty, some rocks, a few jumps and berms etc but with more obvious obstacles.

    If my understanding is correct, then I see what is happening at Swinley as a glass half full. I would imagine that the result would be a series of TC routes where 90% of the traffic will be concentrated combined with a degree of stuff similar to now where the remaining 10% will spend the most/some of their time. The Crown Estates (is that correct) are hardly going to have the resources or the desire for draconian policing.

    So I expect much of the same as now albeit with some of existing trails being constructed better/sanitised (your choice) plus loads of off-piste stuff remaining for those in the know.

    Plus ca change, rien na change

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