There'll be trouble ahead – Swinley Forest content

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  • There'll be trouble ahead – Swinley Forest content
  • b r
    Member

    Just got an emaoil from Gorrick:

    Dear Swinley Forest Cyclist

    As some of you will know, since September last year there has been ongoing work affecting the trails in Swinley Forest which was initiated by The Crown Estate (the owners of Swinley Forest). Before this happened, a steering group (Swinley Action Group) comprising local riders from Gorrick, BOB MBC, Swinley Facebook Group and other interested parties was formed to try to work with The Crown Estate in developing new cycle trails in the Forest. However, despite its best efforts, the group was unable to influence the design and layout of the new trails in the Forest, as The Crown Estate went forward with the design provided by Back on Track (BOT), who have experience of designing and building trails in South Wales.

    A single direction cycle trail loop in Swinley Forest starting and finishing at The Look Out Discovery Centre has been put together now and together with the fire roads will be the only trail available to cyclists from April. We understand that all the other single track trails through the Forest will be stopped up, blocked or grubbed up, as cycling on these routes will no longer be allowed. Forest rangers will be patrolling the Forest to ensure that cyclists keep to the new marked trails at all times.

    As a result of these changes The Crown Estate have decided that they do not wish to have a permit scheme for cyclists in the future and that from 1 April 2013 they will manage all aspects of cycling within Swinley Forest. The Swinley Forest Cycling permit scheme will therefore cease to operate after the 31 March 2013.

    Swinley Forest Cycling thanks you for your support, and we hope you have enjoyed the trail development work we have achieved over the years.

    That is a shame, as the Gorrick crowd have put so much effort in – and there will be a lot of hassle with them trying to close down trails. Its not like the majority of the singletrack impacted anyone anyway, most far too far away from the Lookout.

    time to sue them for falling off on the new trails and say ‘i never fell off on the old trails’

    ormondroyd
    Member

    That’s blimmin tragic. So much lovely riding off limits.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    (just done on the bike forum)

    Premier Icon soundninjauk
    Subscriber

    That’s such a shame. I never really got to know all of the stuff that was there, having only been around it once on the STW ride last November or some such. Still, I was massively looking forward to going out there and finding it again.

    Jason
    Member

    A lot of the new routes incorporate the old trails away, so only a few sections will be lost. I think something needed to happen as alot of the singletrack was becoming as wide as the M25. Hopefully the new trails will hold up to the number of rider who will be on them now!

    ormondroyd
    Member

    so only a few sections will be lost.

    Or to put it another way, about 20 miles of nice “natural” signletrack will be lost

    Jason
    Member

    Are you sure 20 miles? I ride at Swinley a fair bit and can’t think that much is really disappearing.

    A lot of the new routes incorporate the old trails away

    A single direction cycle trail loop in Swinley Forest starting and finishing at The Look Out Discovery Centre

    Is there a single loop or multiple routes?

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/swinley-forest-users-please-read

    My friend was telling me that she saw mums with pushchairs on some new singletrack.

    Also, an update to say that a phone call was not received from Crown Estate. Civil servants eh.

    tutgareth
    Member

    anyone got a map of the new trail route?

    Remember CoedY Brenin when they ‘first’ opened the doors and only the red Bull route was there. It all ended up being dumbed down from fun and technical for people with ability to smooth and open to allow people with no talent to ride and not fall off. I guess this is the dumbing down on this. I will still park at Crowthorne at my mates house and ride through wherever I need to and across to the A30 etc , regardless of sticking to one route. As for stopping the permit to ride, it was something they never could really control anyway.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Just seen this on the Gorrick site myself. 🙁
    To be fair, there’s been so much stuff built that this was always likely to happen and I’m not sure the permit scheme was ever really known about widely enough (or adhered to) to make it viable.

    I used to ride at Swinley all the time, there’s some brilliant singletrack hiding away in there.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    Is there a single loop or multiple routes?

    A blue loop which goes from the lookout down through stickler & back, then a red loop that takes in seagull, tank traps, labyrinth and some rather nice [edit]looking[/edit] new stuff [edit] which isn’t officially open yet and is still being worked on in places[/edit].

    There will also be DH/freeride areas on the slopes above the jump track and around the baby maker/axle run, and possibly more developments in the future.

    Ride it before you make your mind up whether it’s ‘ruined’ or not.

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    I had a bit of a scout round last weekend, first time there for 6 months or more, so no idea what had gone on.

    Interesting times ahead I think. With the trail starting at the discovery centre I reckon theres a lot of potential for user conflict- everyone is going to use the loop, I predict, from families with kids on balance bikes and mums on shoppers, through to the fully committed flying along in the big ring using it to access greener pastures.

    In summer weekends the place’ll probably look like the old A303 on the Friday evening before a bank holiday, albeit with fewer passing places.

    Jason
    Member

    Here is a link to the planned trail map:

    https://docs.google.com/open?id=1kxZn3LhAacd0qAxCz-OJfweP16zClpJ6FF8R7eap-XZeVKCnhkgSEl2mGNd6

    I can understand Gorrick’s frustration about this as they spent many hours making the trails what they are/where.

    Don’t be so defeatest. Fallen trees and debris can be moved, bracken can be cut, wardens can be politely ignored. Keep on keeping on.

    stanleigh
    Member

    Don’t forget you’ve still got Crowthorne Woods & ‘ Over the wire ‘ Bagshot Heath , plenty of natural CX & ST there.

    Swinley had to be sorted , the sheer weight of riders was destroying the place.

    CE could have just decided to ban us all on the grounds of :

    Dickheads suing for accident compensation.
    The SSI status with the ground nesting birds.
    Good old elf’n’saftey with the on going logging works.

    Instead we’re going to get a half decent all weather loop , the bits so far ridden being pretty bloody good.

    Bring it on CE !

    Premier Icon sam_underhill
    Subscriber

    Have they sign posted it? The map looks like the routes / laps I’d tend to do anyway around swinley, so with sign posts (I always get lost!) and a one way policy, it might be a great place for a quick blast.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    So if Crown Estate Rangers are patrolling to ensure cyclists don’t wander, does this mean that dog walkers and pushchairs will receive the same treatment?

    Thinking back, Crown Estate did a pretty good PR job of advising Joe Public of the whys and wherefores of their decision. I could be wrong here but they’ve gone deadly quiet with no updates on progress.

    It’s because they can innit. 😕

    gee
    Member

    I don’t get the moaning. The trails that have been lost include the bottom of 9 yards, which was trashed, and watsons wander, which was less of a trail and more of a 15 foot wide scar through the woods. I’ve ridden at Swinley for the past 17 years – over half my life – and the place has changed beyond all recognition. It is so much busier now than it used to be and this is only a good thing in my view.

    The new trails are all-weather, really good fun, really flowy and fast. The stuff around labyrinth is all being kept. Yes, it’s not as roots as it was in places, but the popularity of those woods meant that the status quo was unworkable. I wonder exactly what Gorrick and co wanted that wasn’t allowed/taken on board? The new trails are built in the same way and from the same material as the SAG trails, so it can’t be that.

    I always bought a permit – yes it’s not enforceable but that’s not really the point. It makes me really cross when people start staging the only reason they’d buy one is if they knew people would be checking – but then again that’s how society is going these days. Just do things because it’s the right thing to do, people.

    GB

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    That has the feel of a golden age* closing.

    Hope I’m mistaken.

    Can’t say I’m a fan of blatting on to the ranger if there’s a dog/walker on the trail etc, as per CG’s link up there ^^. The consequence of forced separation will be ghettoisation of MTBs, like this. We’re in the minority.

    Also it’s easy to raise the principle of promoting exercise unhelpfully. What the government want is most people to do a bit, not a few people that already do it to do more. Dumbed down trails are the way to achieve more people doing a bit.

    Perhaps it’ll find a new happy level in due course.

    Apols if any of the above is not helpful, I’ve ridden and enjoyed Swinley a couple of times but I’m not a local.

    (Definition of a ‘golden age’ – you don’t realise you had it until it’s gone).

    stanleigh
    Member

    Ride it before you make your mind up whether it’s ‘ruined’ or not.

    Pretty chuffed with the bits I’ve ridden !

    ska-49
    Member

    Looks interesting! I’ll be heading down in April to check it out.
    Seems a shame to completely eliminate all the volunteers/groups though.

    Does this mean we don’t have to pay for a permit? Little confused.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    sam – yep, posts at start/end of each trail section. What they don’t tell you is how to get back to the start of the section you just rode so you can ride it again though.

    CG – one of the next phases of the CE work is to produce sign posted walking routes so the pram pushers and their hounds from hell have somewhere to go. There will always be one or 2 petulant asses on every side of the user community who will insist on doing what they always did because they always did it, but I’d expect the vast majority will just get on with it.

    And gee – well said.

    ska – there will be a new group of volunteers to maintain and maybe even extend the new trails. A group that hopefully won’t require you to be a BOB member.

    And as for the ‘golden age’ – I reckon that was a few years ago for Swinley, when there were more available trails that weren’t trashed. IMO the forest has been heading toward this sort of thing since the yellow brick roads started appearing.

    Premier Icon soundninjauk
    Subscriber

    Just quickly comparing that Google map to the old Swinley Singletrack map I have saved on here makes it look like the red route contains the Labyrinth and the Tank Traps at least for sure, while the blue route looks like it’s kept Stickler.

    I’m also vaguely hopeful that the new signposted routes will make it much easier for me to find the really fun stuff in there, unlike previous times I’ve gone unguided and totally failed to find things.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Don’t be so defeatest. Fallen trees and debris can be moved, bracken can be cut, wardens can be politely ignored. Keep on keeping on.

    That kind of attitude doesnt really help.

    Particularly at Swinley where due to the population density in the area user-conflict is always likely to occur. The net result of said user- conflict usually ends up with MTB’rs getting slung out of a place as we are often viewed as an irritating minority.

    By all means be cheeky but dont do it somewhere its going to cause problems.

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    So if Crown Estate Rangers are patrolling to ensure cyclists don’t wander, does this mean that dog walkers and pushchairs will receive the same treatment?

    Correct me by all means but: no, because they can go where they like. It’s bikes that are being ghettoised.

    gee’s comments are encouraging.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Story here http://www.getbracknell.co.uk/news/s/2125872_new_swinley_forest_bike_trails_to_stop_insurance_claims

    What kind of dickhead would sue the estate after crashing on their bike?
    Jeez.

    tutgareth
    Member

    my dog loved the trails at swinley especially the berms! hopefully the new routes will live up to his expectations too 🙂 😉

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Can’t say I’m a fan of blatting on to the ranger if there’s a dog/walker on the trail etc, as per CG’s link up there ^^. The consequence of forced separation will be ghettoisation of MTBs, like this. We’re in the minority.

    Ah, you didn’t read it all. I spoke to the Crown Estate office but NOT the Ranger to point out that the signs were too small and were being ignored. Word was spreading that some trails were open and I had concerns about accidents at the weekend.

    Actually, what really boils my pi$$ is that mtb’ers are expected to take responsibility for themselves and Joe Public takes none.

    I fear that the charm of Swinley will be lost. 🙁

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    tutgareth – if he likes berms he’s gonna be one happy dog. 😉

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I think the land owners perspective is clear and, tbh, difficult to argue with.

    I think we all liek to think we’re a bit ‘maverick’ and riding on a signposted, surface dressed, route takes us away from that.

    Premier Icon soundninjauk
    Subscriber

    Does anyone know when the official opening day is? Just so I know when I can head down and check it out (along with everyone else).

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    Hope it works out for you locals.

    I can see how the liability thing can be a worry for CE.

    Having provided waymarked trails and making it plain that deviation from them is ‘not permitted’, would they still be liable for an injury that happens off the trail? It’s hard to see how, otherwise they’d have to fence the whole place in.

    tutgareth
    Member

    i’d heard it was today, but cant confirm that..

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Of course we just have to take their word for it that they’ve been sued.

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    I think we all liek to think we’re a bit ‘maverick’ and riding on a signposted, surface dressed, route takes us away from that.

    Yeah but it’s faux really as you recognise. There are parts of the UK that can provide a wilderness experience, but the woods behind Nationwide Bracknell aren’t it. (Large as they are).

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    Of course we just have to take their word for it that they’ve been sued.

    It’s plausible though. I doubt they’d lie, they’ve no reason to.

    Premier Icon tuskaloosa
    Subscriber

    ok now I am totally confused…..

    the new stuff that was being built or or almost ready is being scrapped? and another lone single track is going to be built?

    was planning on taking a day off work to ride Swinley

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    Latest I heard was 28th or 29th March – but maybe not all the new stuff will be fully open.

    ralph1471
    Member

    Whilst searching for this thread on google I found this article, date 19th Feb, which says more or less the same thing. Interesting that they sold everyone on the idea of new trails but were not very forthcoming with the news about the old ones. I guess we should have expected it really, given that even from the start they said the reason for building new trails was that the old ones are ‘unmanageable”. Personally I’m gutted as I’ve spent a lot of time up there in the last year and even though I expect the new ones will be fun, its a shame to lose some great trails.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-21499732

    Jason
    Member

    Does anyone know when the official opening day is?

    The last I heard was that the 28th April was the planned day to open the trials, although the wet weather over the past couple of week might have delayed that.

    Premier Icon soundninjauk
    Subscriber

    I don’t want to predict doom and gloom until I’ve been there. I know where my favourite riding is, but unfortunately I live in London and the Lake District isn’t somewhere I can get up to regularly. Swinley was good because it was near, fun, and I didn’t have to gear up for that ‘epic adventure’ type of affair that can occur up north.

    I’m still hoping that it’s going to be the same, just with easier to find trails from now on. I can see how all this uncertainty could not be great with people who have been used to having the run of the place for years though.

    rattrap
    Member

    With the trail starting at the discovery centre I reckon theres a lot of potential for user conflict- everyone is going to use the loop, I predict, from families with kids on balance bikes and mums on shoppers, through to the fully committed flying along in the big ring using it to access greener pastures.

    ‘T’was ever thus’, surely – but at least now they’re not spending the first half a mile dodging between dogs on stretchy leads, pushchairs and prams, plus all heading in the same direction (one way loops)

    The user conflict in and around the user centre and the first few hundred yards of trails in every direction was ridiculous beforehand.

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