Swithland Wood

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  • Swithland Wood
  • dannyh
    Member

    If the guys who had built the nice skinny and ramp after the second ‘bombhole’ are on here, I’m sorry to say it has gone(!)

    I saw it on Thursday night, in semi-dark, but on a quick blast this afternoon, thought I’d give it a crack, but………………. gone.

    I’m a little bit in two minds about it if I’m honest.

    On the plus side, it looked really well-built – a nice piece of work, but I can also see it from the point of view of the landowner – if some idiot on an ‘Argos Special’ injures themselves while riding it, the park trust could be in the cart if they decide to sue – I know it’s the justification that is always trotted out, but I think it has some validity in today’s sueing culture.

    I also think we need to stay ‘under the radar’ a bit – we are sort of tolerated in the wood, but too much trail-building action will inevitably cast light on MTBing in the wood – we don’t want to give the Trail Gestapo any ammunition they can use to ban us properly!

    It is a shame to see a really good bit of trail-building get removed – but I can see their point a bit – I wish they’d remove the bloody logs that the Trail Vigilantes (as distinct from Gestapo) drag across the tracks, though. I had to move three or four this afternoon – I threw most of them far enough or inconvenient enough not to be easily put back, but one was too heavy – I just had to drag that to one side.

    Keep riding one and all.

    Let’s face it, the only place bikes are allowed to be ridden in Swithland is through the main track, not in the forest itself. Like you say, we are tollerated but not allowed. If people keep building stuff we’ll get banned full stop so I wish the wouldn’t!

    Premier Icon fathomer
    Subscriber

    I’ve not been up for a quite a while (is it not a complete bog?) but was amazed that someone thought they’d get away with building it and I’m surprised it’s lasted this long. I do agree, we’re not supposed to be there so why flaunt the fact that people are mtbing there?

    dannyh
    Member

    Swithland and Charnwood in general will never be a total bog – you need to go east of Leicester onto the clay-based soils for that!

    I think the key (stupid as it seems) is just to be as covert as possible.

    Don’t really hoon around on Saturday and Sunday daytimes.

    Don’t ride in the park itself 9am – 6pm on any day.

    As an initial position, be polite to everyone and give way to everyone.

    If you do get harrangued by a busy-body, try to ignore them, if not possible, be polite and wait until they’ve gone out of sight.

    If you get caught by the ‘Fun Police’ aka ‘Trail Gestapo’ in their nice, shiny, new landrovers, play the ‘grey man’. Apologise a bit, plead ignorance yank their chains a bit, but don’t give them any rope. Technically speaking, the byelaw could mean a criminal offence, but I don’t think they would be qualified to administer it properly.

    I appreciate the Park, I really do, but pretending that it’s the masai mara and fleecing families in the car parks to buy shiny new landrovers and quad bikes for some pseudo eco warriors is a bit far-fetched!

    Also claiming the place is some kind of SSSI – whilst maintaning an artificial deer population is a bit bloody rich. The regime of cutting back the bracken for example has led (in my opinion) to the only really exceptional (in Leicestershire terms) animal population disappearing – namely adders. I think the Park and Launde Abbey were the only two populations (at least 25 years ago – I cannot recall any sightings or signs since the mid 80s in the Park).

    It should be treated as what it is – a public park, an open space near a big city that should be used and enjoyed by all. Not a self-justifying imitation of some priceless habitat!

    Rant over – if cornered, I’ll stick to name, rank and number – childish, but that’s the level.

    rascal
    Member

    Nice to hear of some fellow Loughborough-ish riders!
    We are not blessed with the best riding available, tis true – it IS Leicestershire after all πŸ˜‰

    Putting up woodwork or anything ‘bikey’ is a blatant 2 fingers to the powers-that-be though.
    I know that area well and even though adding some ‘extra interest’ seems a good idea, it’s just giving ammunition to the red socks to getting bikes banned altogether from the woods. It’s not great but being booted out of the woods full stop would be much worse than it is now. We are tolerated at best. Some of the local non-biking fraternity put up with the slightly naughty off-piste jaunts without saying much, but that ‘I’d wish you’d piss off somewhere else’ look in their eyes is plain for all to see. Keep it low key for the rest of us.

    Just out of interest, where are you Swithy locals from?

    I’m in Anstey so about as close as it gets! Some guys I know give it the “i’ll ride where and when the hell I like approach” I’d like to punch them in the face because idiots with attitudes like that make us all look like gits.

    I occasionally go ‘off piste’ but only late at night and during the week. I’d never think about going across Bradgate on a Sunday morning.

    I’m seeing more and more cars heading to Swithland with big bikes strapped to boot racks, baffles me as the riding isn’t that great and if they’re going to the trouble of driving there why not go to Cannock or somewhere else?

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
    Subscriber

    I have ridden swithland for years and years (its equally as rubbish now as it always has been haha)
    I have spoken to the walkers the rangers and even the horsey types and never have I been told to leave or had any ill feeeling towards me (going to bag that massive carp in the pool one day it’s taunted me for years)

    Bradgate is the same, the whole park has been left to the people of Leicester to use, being a person from Leicester I am using it πŸ˜‰

    Oh and I have the massive misfortune of currently residing in Birstall

    dannyh
    Member

    I’m in Woodhouse Eaves.

    I agree with all the sentiments above.

    I tend to ride anything naughty on weekday evenings – so bad encounters are fairly minimal.

    My underlying sadness is that whenever I get the chance, I get in the car and go to ride somewhere ‘proper’ – Peaks, Yorkshire, Long Mynd etc.

    I know we can’t compete with these areas locally, but the non-progressive attitudes in Leicestershire play their part too.

    I’ve often thought they should stick a turnstile at the top gate of Bradgate to allow riders through one at a time at a cost of Β£1 or Β£2. Then have a single, marked route over the top and down, no choices. The route could be easily moved an remarked if wear became an issue. In this way, they could get a bit more money, allow people to get their exercise and still keep bikes off of 99.9% of the place.

    Of course, I won’t campaign for this because I’m afraid of even raising the profile of riding in the area. Pathetic, really, but when you’re dealing with small-minded people who know nothing other than the word ‘no’ and want to control what fun people are allowed to have, then that’s what you get.

    Remember the omerta of the Charnwood rider – keep silent!

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
    Subscriber

    living in Leicester… the soul reason I got myself a play bike! Town riding and western park make up for the severe deficit in natural trails.

    There’s a very non-progressive view to anyone not walking in the Charnwood parks. My wife got some really nasty cowardly comments from people for riding her horse along the track in bradgate park once. She dared to use it to make a circular ride around the park instead of having to use the marked horse routes ( where cyclists are not allowed!?), which are dangerous for horses due to the damage on them caused by the rangers in their land rovers. Whole place is a joke, all those ridiculous bye laws.

    Still I only ride bradgate or beacon in the quiet times and keep a low profile. In and out fast and stealthy.

    Some of the woodland could have some great singletrack and be quite good for the local area if some people in charge dropped their blinkered views and had a bit more progressive stance.

    I bet half the tracks in swithland and martinshaw wouldn’t still be there if it wasn’t for the passage of local riders.

    dannyh
    Member

    Non-progressive is the word. Short-sighted would be another.

    Another example to show how it is not black and white:

    I was riding down a very naughty bit of path and came across an old boy and his missus walking up. I stopped for them and he said “you know you shouldn’t be riding here don’t you?”

    I said “I know, but I’m always pretty careful – I only ride within the limits of what I can see, and always give way to walkers and horses etc”.

    We then had a pleasant chat during which he semi-apologised (unnecessarily) for taking me to task. It turns out they had nearly been KO’d by a group of 4-5 mountain bike ‘riders’ who, instead of apologising, simply shouted “get out of the ****ing way”. On a footpath to compound the problem.

    It seems it is not all one-way traffic.

    I just get annoyed when the default answer is “no”. I want to ask what the perceived problems are, how they might be addressed, is there any middle ground etc? But a lot of people just say “no” because they are stubborn, inherently obstructive and miserable. There’s no point in even trying to engage people like this – I console myself with the fact that I can enjoy my hobby without feeling the need to try to deny other people theirs. How can anyone who really enjoys the countryside spend the precious time they are there trying to stop other people enjoying it too – the mind boggles?

    Anyhow, none of this is going to remotely stop me riding our local area. I’m not going to vandalise or remove ‘no cycling’ signs like some people. I’m not going to be aggressive with people and be lowered to their level. I’m just going to get on with it. Secretly of course! πŸ˜‰

    Quorn-ite here. Noticed the swithy woodwork had gone a couple of weeks ago, but probably for the best, draws to much attention to an already cheeky play area.

    aa
    Member

    hugglescote here,

    i’m in total agreement with the comments above, overt building is only going to cause resistance in the local community. i do think that a forum/dialogue with landowners/lcc could be a good idea.

    i work for lcc and know a few of the rangers, we share an office, (who know i ride in the area). i have raised the ‘issue’ of cheeky riding and whether there would be any la support for organised trails.

    funding, or lack of, seems to be a main barrier along with the issue of ssi areas being damaged.

    it has been suggested that out of hours riding, where only bracken is being disturbed wouldn’t be challanged.

    if we expect landowners to be reasonable regarding access, we need to be reasonable once we;re on the land.

    whatever, i will remain cheeky.

    Madfly
    Member

    Lboro-ite here,

    I thought it was a bit cheeky the woodwork. Jumped out of the second bombhole without knowing it was there straight into it, not what i expected, ammusing all the same. A side note, I’m not though convinced that swithland even needs that sort of thing, with some imagination there are some ammusing rock drops, even some gutsy ones that don’t attract attention and are far more severe than the woodwork was.

    As above im through beacon hill in a flash either very first thing weekend morning or just before dusk. An frustrating number of walker placed obstructions at the bottom of a number of “cheeky” routes, but i guess that’s all par for the course!

    toppers3933
    Member

    haha. i work for lcc too. highways. i am the antichrist.

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
    Subscriber

    Toppers how could you πŸ˜‰

    Loads more locals here than I thought.

    toppers3933
    Member

    i have 1 day left. moving on to exciting new ventures.

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
    Subscriber

    Good to hear, best of luck with said new ventures.

    toppers3933
    Member

    cheers man. will be living the dream. very excited.

    dannyh
    Member

    toppers, don’t leave – you and aa could be our ‘men on the inside’.

    You know the sort of thing – pre-arranged meets in darkness, covert travel, wondering if someone’s tailing you etc.

    Oh, hang on, you can get all of those things while ‘cheeky nightriding’ anyway.

    It’s a difficult one – bringing it up formally with landowners could just lead to greater restriction.

    It would also mean, horror of horrors, that mountain bike riders would have to organise(!) The ‘ad hoc’ nature of most of the riders I know would mean any formal ‘club’ or ‘association’ would just not attract the numbers.

    I think the situation is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future. I’m quite a straight-laced person, really and I do get a (small) pang of guilt when I push open the gate at Bradgate and clip-in. It’s a shame I have to be technically on the wrong side of the law to do something I enjoy and that really doesn’t do any harm. It’s a lot less harmful than letting your dog crap all over the park for example!

    Premier Icon fathomer
    Subscriber

    I’m also in Birstall (which isn’t that bad a place to live), due to the lack of off roading and the fact I can’t be arsed with the you shouldn’t be there I stick to the road bike in the week and head somewhere interesting at the weekend.

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
    Subscriber

    Fathomer borstal is hell! haha

    what bike are you on I will keep an eye out for you. I’m riding in birstal nearly everyday.

    Premier Icon ads678
    Subscriber

    I’d just like to add, as an ex Leics lad now living in Leeds. The riding up here is awesome! Nightride at Stainburn last night. Wharncliffe only half an hour from my door (by car). Dales, peaks…… Excellent stuff.

    My sister lives in Mountsorrel though so i should have a ride round swithy at some point.

    Carry on!!

    Premier Icon fathomer
    Subscriber

    Pik n Mix – Member
    Fathomer borstal is hell! haha

    what bike are you on I will keep an eye out for you. I’m riding in birstal nearly everyday.
    I’m from Thurmaston originally so I’ve gone up in the world!

    I commute on a Boardman road bike with a red Gore jacket, Cotic Soul if I’m on the MTB which is not very often in the week unfortunately.

    What do you ride?

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
    Subscriber

    I’m on either a black and purple attack trail 6.8, a very retro rockhopper 1×9 rigid or a giant TCR 2 road bike.

    Mostly on the Marin. Will wave if I see you

    nosedive
    Member

    this brings back memories ! I grew up in Syston, I used to take the muddy fox to swith….

    -m-
    Member

    this brings back memories ! I grew up in Syston, I used to take the muddy fox to swith….

    πŸ˜† Ah yes, I must admit to following this thread having lived in Mountsorrel for a couple of years (serving my time at Longslade in Birstall – all a very long time ago now). In my case it was lugging an Apollo Kilimanjaro across the fields to Swithland woods from time to time…

    greenjeens
    Member

    i came up to swithland wood the other day for the first time, some fun cheeky bits in the north-west corner (Y)
    i’m from thurmaston so it’s a forty minute ride but it’s the best closest woods for us!

    rascal
    Member

    If I’m riding locally I usually go Swithland way, but for a change went up to Thringstone Woods for the first time in a few years last Sunday. There’s a car park at the top of Swannymote Lane (think Shepshed to Whitwick), and in the corner is a great little trail that loses height gradually after a while and heads down to Grace Dieu. It’s only 2 miles or so, but the surface is sweet and well used with nice rocky its – a sinuous flow that brings a smile every time…worth a few runs and there’s a nice pub nearby called ‘The Man Within Compass’. Made me think that not all Leicestershire is dull and crap – worth a sniff if you don’t know it πŸ™‚

    dannyh
    Member

    I know it well! There’s some quite tricky (if not very long) tracks in that wood (cademan). Some other nice bits around there, but nearly all footpath, so care needed.

    I have cobbled together a 23 mile loop that I ride quite often at weekends to avoid bradgate and swithland (evenings only). This is probably 40% road, but it gets you from good bit to good bit quickly.

    In my opinion whitwick area is the best riding in the area, but as with all local stuff it just isn’t big enough if you want to ‘do a ride’ rather than playing in the woods.

    rascal
    Member

    Rode from Loughborough up the ever-amusing-called Butthole Lane to Shepshed, arsed around up there, via Blackbrook Res to the top of the woods, then few runs…was quite nice. The woods taken at full pelt is actually fun, quality riding…that doesn’t last anywhere near long enough though!

    vdubber67
    Member

    Rascal. There’s masses of riding in those woods and surrounding if you know where to look. The ‘brap ya mum’ trail is good fun…

    rascal
    Member

    There’s a few of us heading up there again in a few weeks…maybe you should give us a guided tour??!! πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon scandal42
    Subscriber

    Old post but interested in people’s views on local riding, I live on Cademan st in Whitwick (3 minute ride to the start of the trails in Cademan woods)

    I must say I have seen an increase in the amount og bikers riding the woods recently, not that it’s a bad thing imo. There are actually 10’s of runs in the woods, you could ride all day in there an take different singletrack most of the time. There are some really sweet (hidden very well) downhill bits as well.

    Then it’s over the road into Thringstone woods to carry it on. The Man in Compass is my local, It’s great to pop out of the woods behind the pub and have a couple of sneaky ones before rolling downhill to the back door.

    I must say I wish the authorities were more open minded in the county, there is actually a large MTB population that probably feels fairly neglected here. We do have the peaks on the doorstep but it’s nice to promote local stuff.

    Anyone got any good routes? I’m mainly xc with some harder stuff thrown in.

    seanthesheap
    Member

    Wow, so many people from the area on here, had no idea, me and the old ball and chain ride all the trails mentioned above, we tend to link them up with sustrans routes though to get the millage up, happy trails all.

    Susie
    Member

    There were motorbikes in Cademan the other week, I hope that’s not going to be a regular thing.

    Premier Icon asbrooks
    Subscriber

    I live in Leicester too, however I drive to and from Swadlincote along the A511. I usually stop off at Hicks Lodge on my home a couple of nights a week. In-fact there is a night ride I think on Tuesday eve. It’s no way near as good as Cannock, but it’s a good work out and gets the lungs working. Anyway I try to get 3 or 4 loops of hicks lodge.
    I used to go out to martinshaw woods when I first started riding some 10 years ago, but getting there requires some road riding and the last I did that, I had to take evasive action as some idiot ragging the life out of a Land rover over took me too closely. Consequently I try to stay away from riding on the little country roads now.
    Indecently, is there good any riding on Bardon hill? I go by there daily and looks very inviting.

    dannyh
    Member

    Motorbikes bloody everywhere at the moment. The problem is that they ramp up the tension tenfold compared with mountain bikes. More attention, more grumbling, more likelihood of blanket bans. Gracedieu wood is also largely private land. There may be trouble ahead. Some tool has been riding a moto up to old John in bradgate as well.

    Bardon is good. Footpath though, so be ‘cool’!

    It’s pretty much one way up and one way down, due to half the hill being missing, more a part of a ride rather than a ride in itself (no hills around here are anywhere near big enough to be a ride in their own right).

    Premier Icon sparkerfix
    Subscriber

    Hicks Lodge night ride is Thursday night. The cafe is open till 9:00 pm as well.

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
    Subscriber

    Seriously someone’s been up to old John on a motorbike? That’s taking the wee to the n’th degree πŸ™„

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