Swinley Investment and Mountain Bike Network
Rumour has it that there are 5 outstanding claims,
That saddened me a bit, but seems to be the way of the world these days.
From Deakin’s presentation it seems like the cheapest/easiest thing for CE to do would have been to ban bikes from the area and get diggers in for a week or two to trash the existing trails. Instead they’re spending 300K on a new network of trails which, while they have some disadvantages compared to the old Swinley, will still be somewhere to go & spin the pedals & I’m sure that with a bit of judicious use of fire roads etc. you’ll be able to make up a few different loops.
In truth Swinley has always been changing – it must be only be in the last 4 or 5 years that Seagull was armoured (remember the moans about that?), Deerstalker opened and Watsons Wander got even wider. This is just the next step in that process, and apparently not the last.
FWIW I live practically next door to the place and being apparently terminally unemployed I ride it a couple of times a week, so in many ways I’ve got more to lose than most. I was pretty hacked off with the first announcements but as further details have emerged I can see that the CE just weren’t in a position to carry on as they were.
And hopefuly the rules aout only BOB being allowed to be involved will change.
+1Posted 5 years agothepuristSubscriber
I’ve tended to stay away from that area – last time I went the 9 yards section near new england was closed, but the wiggly wooded section that ends up at more or less the same place was fine, the next section of 9 yards from there toward the stickler was also closed, stickler still closed, 9 yards coming N from manhole to the next proper fire road was open but fenced off at the N fire road end (bit of forestry debris on the bermy section), plus anything that crossed the new trail building.
Also the fire road that goes past the bottom of the double drop & toward the jumps/surrey hill is a bit mashed by logging, as is the one that goes from the bottom of tank traps up toward the manhole.
And unless it’s properly frozen hard Watsons Wander is just a boggy slog.
If you were starting a ride at the lookout I’d head over Crowthorne way, do corkscrew etc. then satan’s grotto, seagull, tank traps, jumps, then take your pick of routes toward the labyrinth. On the upside the tougher climb back from the bottom of the labyrinth (turn right) is nicely firmed up & rideable… unless you’re on a SS (waits for someone with better legs to prove him wrong!)Posted 5 years agotheotherjonvSubscriber
And hopefuly the rules aout only BOB being allowed to be involved will change
FWIW, that wasn’t anything to do with parochialism. It was a liability thing; getting insurance to cover ‘random individuals’ working with plant and equipment was prohibitive whereas getting insurance to cover the club’s members was a workable solution.
I’ve pushed the odd barrow of dirt up some of those trails over the years and back in the early days when we could flag down passing riders and pressgang them into 15 minutes of dirt shovelling I was all for it!! And my back was 10 years younger then!!Posted 5 years agomike909Member
Swinley Forest is home to 3 types of rare ground nesting birds, Natural England has designated Swinley a Special Protection Area and requested that clear felling take places to provide an environment for these birds, they’ve also requested that access is restricted to these area to avoid disturbing the birds.
CE has been subject to multiple liability insurance claims by individuals who have had accident on features on the unregulated trails
This looks like a smoke screen – I mean what they are sayng is that they want to create a habitat? What happens to the poor birds when they harvest the wood? They drive huge vehicles through. Are dog walkers going to be banned? I mean I would guess bird s are more worried by doges chasing around than mtb’ers?
And given that most of the trails are not in clear areas (and those that are are mainly on the Crowthorne side) what is it that Natural Enlgand are requesting. The forest is far from natural its a man made forest
Re liability, presumably they are liable for the BMX track being proposed?
It’s a real shame – I was a Birch Hill local and still travel back because I don’t have to follow a trail – as an ex local I could just ride as conditions allowed – never boring, never the same
Its like the main trail centres – does anyone go every week to ride the same trails in the same order?
It’s in a heavily populated area – it will be very busy and not much funPosted 5 years agoZulu-ElevenMember
This looks like a smoke screen – I mean what they are sayng is that they want to create a habitat?
They already create habitat, else the birds wouldn’t be there.
What happens to the poor birds when they harvest the wood? They drive huge vehicles through.
The birds we’re talking about move into and nest on the areas after felling, before the trees have grown back up again – as one part of the forest is felled, another is growing and the birds can choose their preferred habitat from the many there, like a patchwork quilt of various stages of growth, think back to what you learned at school about the four field crop rotation system, and imagine it on a bigger scale with a fifty year cycle.
Are dog walkers going to be banned? I mean I would guess bird s are more worried by doges chasing around than mtb’ers?
What proportion of dog walkers wander more than half a mile from any of the the car parks? Riders go into far more of the forest and further from the access points than any other group of users numbers wise. Thats why they are a significant problem.
And given that most of the trails are not in clear areas (and those that are are mainly on the Crowthorne side)
Has it occurred to you that the Forest managers know what the felling plan is, so they know which areas are going to be felled in the future, and are planning the trails accordingly?
what is it that Natural Enlgand are requesting.
That the landowners take steps to mitigate the negative effects of mountainbikers on the bird communities by managing the riders in an effective fashion, the CE are doing this by not only giving us better trails that the vast majority of riders are more likely to want to ride, but by creating trails that keep the majority of riders in areas where they do not disturb the breeding populations of endangered species.
The forest is far from natural its a man made forest
Yet despite this, has become a haven for wildlife, which shows just what a good job of managing the forest they have been doing for many, many years, so perhaps they deserve some credit for knowing what they are doing.
Personally, I think its bloody wonderful that I can go out on a bike ride in the evening and see Nightjar hawking, and I wouldn’t give a second thought that my mountain biking should be more important than their survival!Posted 5 years ago
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