Unsanctioned trails on Holmbury

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  • Unsanctioned trails on Holmbury
  • bent_udder
    Member

    Linky to a post from the Hurtwood Control Ranger’s own blog.

    coffeeking
    Member

    Not that I have anything to do with it, or that I think its the right thing to do, but maybe they should have consulted the people buildign the existing trails to find out why they keep re-building them differently?

    bent_udder
    Member

    Er, you mean why the people building the sanctioned stuff build them differently, or the people building the unsanctioned stuff build it differently?

    djglover
    Member

    how can you consult with someone that builds in secret?

    MrSmith
    Member

    always the idiotic minority spoiling it for others through their own selfishness.
    if they want to ride stunts like that then why not do it where it is legal?

    coffeeking
    Member

    bent – I meant find out why they dont like the trails you built and maybe try to incorporate some items they’ll like? Rather than demolishing everything they do and threatening, try leaving a note asking to talk to them about what they’d like. They’re obviously not your average idiot to have created fairly decent trails themselves.

    if they want to ride stunts like that then why not do it where it is legal?

    Often where its legal is too far/hard to get to. And when people take over an area and make it how they want it, people get alienated and do their own thing. I’m not saying that HAS happened here, I dont know, I’m just suggesting its not that simple. I hate trails being "made" where people think they should, its always different to how I’d want it (isnt it always?!) and no-one asked me if I wanted my regular trails destroying for their own design.

    Sonor
    Member

    I think the trails that they would like coffeeking are the ones that the land owners don’t want on their land irrespective of sanctioned/un-sanctioned trailbuilders opinions.

    coffeeking
    Member

    Possibly, though we’d never know without someone saying so. Again, talking to the landowner helps aleviate fears of such trails. They’ll continue to do it until you get bored or the trails get closed, simply because for them you’ve "wrecked their spot" (regardless of who owns the land).

    geetee1972
    Member

    I personally know the section of trail they are referring to and I’m not surprised that people/person keeps reclaiming it – it’s by far and away the best trail on Holmbury Hill. It’s also been there for quite some time but is not considered to be part of the legacy trail network that Hurtwood Friends have agreed to protect and develop I think largely because the jumps that are included (which are pretty modest in the scheme of things but substantial enough to hurt yourself on) are dug out at the back, which means you can’t roll them, you have to commit to the jump. A few people have tried to roll them and hurt themselves (I think a collar bone got snapped there over the summer).
    This photo is on the lower section of that trail:

    This is not the dug out jump, that’s further back.
    As a regular user of the whole north downs area, a member of Hurtwood Friends (I contribute financially) and attempting to be actively involved in trail maintenance and building, I can’t condone this person or persons actions, but I can entirely understand them.
    The real problem is that the people currently self appointed to trail building don’t really do that great a job of it although you cannot fault their commitment. The new section leading into Yogurt Pots is really average and lacks decent berms that allow you to carry speed.
    I am also always amazed by people on this forum immediately rushing to condemn this sort of unsanctioned trail building. I don’t condone it, but neither do I condemn it because I understand where it comes from – the desire to ride challenging trails close to home where you don’t have to spend 5 hours in the car (and all the CO2 that that entails).
    Most of the people I meet on the north downs that share this condemning attitude seem to do so because the trails are already more than challenging enough for them and they can’t empathize with those that find them easy and want something more difficult to ride.

    nukeproof
    Member

    the trails are already more than challenging enough for them and they can’t empathize with those that find them easy and want something more difficult to ride.

    Just because they want more challenging trails doesn’t mean its acceptable to make their own trails using the areas around Holmbury Hill. Why can’t they find some other land where its accepted?

    Maybe if some of them got off their DH rigs that allow them to float over the existing trails, they might find them a little more challenging? 😉

    bent_udder
    Member

    The real problem is that the people currently self appointed to trail building don’t really do that great a job of it although you cannot fault their commitment.

    geetee – if you want to get involved in the trailbuilding – and you’re a Hurtwood member – you only need volunteer, and you’ll be able to build. You can volunteer on the Hurtwood forum and self appoint yourself quite easily that way, you know. 😉

    The sanctioned trails have to be built to a certain spec, and that includes consideration for the fall line and consideration for people unable to ride jumps with the backs cut out of them – landowners are concerned about liability, and that means worrying about insurance companies suing them. To date, very few mountain bikers have sued landowners, but a whole load of insurance companies who pay their sickness and injury claims have.

    As you say, there’s no point condoning or condemning unsanctioned trailbuilding – after all, it’s how a lot of the trails in the area got built in the first place. However, it is worth taking into consideration what the landowner wants to do with their land, and talking to them.

    Last point – if the builders want to talk to the landowner, they know where to find ’em. Talking is a good thing; this trail wasn’t taken down because the landowner ran out of teabags that morning and is in a bad mood as a result. 😆

    Sonor
    Member

    I am also always amazed by people on this forum immediately rushing to condemn this sort of unsanctioned trail building.

    Perhaps it may be because those people realise that if this type of trailbuilding continues the landowners will grow weary of it and restrict any kind of riding on the land.

    The real problem is that the people currently self appointed to trail building don’t really do that great a job of it although you cannot fault their commitment.

    Ha Ha, I’m sure they’ll be really hurt by those comments…

    Ewan
    Member

    Looks like a stunt ramp….

    webcore
    Member

    Lot of good points raised here. One thing that isn’t mentioned. This is private, not common land. The owner is really supportive of biking, but aware of the liabilities this creates. The previous incarnation of this trail in the summer produced at least one significant injury a week and several times two –ambulanced off, collar bones etc. Including Mad Dave who I believe built it. The liandowner liability is potentially significant, therefore they have decided what is and isn’t acceptable, the point at which the risk becomes too great for them. This trail is beyond that. Thats the reason the others are like they are. Plus durability considerations that Bentudder notes.
    Re the cap on bike trail proliferation, the land is used by everyone, walkers, horse riders and bikers. The landowner has decided that for now there are enough bike trails, and more new ones will create so much penetration that the peacefull enjoyment by other users is diminished, hence the policy of no more trails.
    It’s more complicated than this, but these are key points.
    If you want to carry on riding here, respect the landowners wishes. don’t spoil it for all of us. If you see someone doing this kind of thing, ask him to consider this. What would you think if someone kept digging up your garden?
    If you know who did it tell him he’s a prick for keeping doing it.
    If you did it, be a man and own up and join the debate.
    You might grow some more brain cells you f*%"g Hydra.

    sexpest
    Member

    The real problem is that the people currently self appointed to trail building don’t really do that great a job of it although you cannot fault their commitment. The new section leading into Yogurt Pots is really average and lacks decent berms that allow you to carry speed.

    Hey Greg :wink:, couldn’t disagree more with you i’m afraid. All the trials the Hurtwood guys have worked on are well made and are rideable whatever the weather. The above trail "joyride" while refreshingly enjoyable was badly made and fell apart after a couple of days of rain. I loved it and rode it loads but it and all of the unsanctioned stuff is ill thought out and poorly constructed.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Yeah, Nukeproof/Sonor I completely agree and just to reiterate my original point (he said a little frustratedly), I don’t condone it; it is the biggest threat we have to riding on the Hurtwood Trust land. But here is the really important point – the best way to deal with the problem is to solve the issue of demand, after all, that’s why the trails got built in the first place, as bent very aptly pointed out. I don’t think the answer is to get shirty with these people because it’s not going to solve the problem – on the contrary, it will make matters worse by getting their backs up and driving them underground. And if all we end up with is utterly sanitised trails that appeal only to the lowest common denominator, then I 100% guarantee you that the number of unsanctioned and potentially dangerous trails will increase ten fold.

    Sonor – all the people I ride with and to whom my comment about ‘challenging trails’ applies ride bikes with between 130mm and 140mm bikes – they aren’t downhill rigs, mine included which has 140mm and I still think that’s too much. Those of us that can ride fast DH don’t need DH rigs to do it and your comment comes across as a little juvenile. I’m sure you’re a top bloke – seriously – and it’s just the lack of context.

    I am a friend of Hurtwood already, registered with the website, I pay £100 a year by S/O, I’ve even met, spoken, volunteered in person and by email for trail building/maintenance duties but no one have ever contacted me with times or dates despite much trail work having taken place since that time. I’ve heard similar stories from other people I meet around the trails. It’s very frustrating because having met some of the people responsible for the existing hard work, they don’t come across as being terribly understanding or inclusive – they come across as being unfriendly and a little didactic. Maybe they’re just introverts but I am worried because I don’t want to end up being marginalized in my riding.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Sexpest, we’re in the strange position where I agree with you but you don’t agree with me (as well as you know who I am but I don’t know for sure who you are, although I could have a pretty good guess ;o).

    The newer built trails are well constructed and sustainable and yes the unsanctioned stuff was badly made. I still don’t think the newer stuff is all that good though but that’s just me.

    Joyrider has been there a long time and yes it was badly made at the bottom (not so much at the top I thin) but worse than that the first jump, though great fun, was always an accident waiting to happen because you couldn’t see the back of it was cut out. I thought that was a terrible idea and completely understand why it was put beyond use and I even agree with it.

    I keep making this point though – the answer is to listen to what people want and try to find a compromise, and I don’t think that is what’s happening, which is only going to make matters worse.

    sexpest
    Member

    How’s Ian?

    geetee1972
    Member

    He’s fine Dan.

    Have to say, very much looking forward to Sunday.

    Sonor
    Member

    Juvenile? I think you need to read my comments again.

    nukeproof
    Member

    Those of us that can ride fast DH don’t need DH rigs to do it and your comment comes across as a little juvenile.

    I take it that this was made at me and not Sonor.

    geetee1972…Whoa there, my comment was not aimed specifically in your direction but I could see how it could have been considered such. More an observation that I have seen many bikes up at Holmbury which could be considered borderline DH bikes.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Yeah it was Nukeproof, but you’re probably right about some of the bikes that get ridden up there. Sorry mate, I shouldn’t have been so hasty in my (mis)interpretation.

    nukeproof
    Member

    Phew. Don’t want any trail rage next time I’m up there…and being Dorking based thats quite a lot 🙂

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Is 140mm not overkill for round there? I’d say so. Particularly for someone who evidently has the riding skills of a trail God!

    I think I agree with the general tone here, although there seems to be a lot of contradiction.

    Fair enough people may not like all the trails, want more technical ones etc, but that doesn’t mean they can choose where to put them, particularly if they’re potentially dangerous to other users.

    As for the new entrance to Yoghurt Pots, I agree, the first couple of turns are ok, but the few after the turn off the Doc at the Radar Station are far too flat and need some serious building up!

    I doubt the kids who built that stuff look on here anyway…

    They would be better though channelling their energy into sorting out the bottom of BKB.

    sexpest
    Member

    Who’s Dan?

    geetee1972
    Member

    Ripe 140mm is too much. If you fancy buying me a new bike I’d be happy to oblige your offering 😀

    oink
    Member

    It wasn’t me 😉

    grumm
    Member

    Maybe if some of them got off their DH rigs that allow them to float over the existing trails, they might find them a little more challenging?

    Isn’t that sort of similar to saying ‘why do you need to ride your bike on this bridleway when you could just walk?’

    All,

    Really pleased to see this debate going on here and to hear from so many people. Hurrah!

    Geetee 1972 wrote – I am a friend of Hurtwood already, registered with the website, I pay £100 a year by S/O, I’ve even met, spoken, volunteered in person and by email for trail building/maintenance duties but no one have ever contacted me with times or dates despite much trail work having taken place since that time. I’ve heard similar stories from other people I meet around the trails. It’s very frustrating because having met some of the people responsible for the existing hard work, they don’t come across as being terribly understanding or inclusive – they come across as being unfriendly and a little didactic. Maybe they’re just introverts but I am worried because I don’t want to end up being marginalized in my riding.

    Great stuff that you’ve joined Hurtwood control and contribute so generously Geetee.
    My experience has been that the guys and girls leading the trailbuilding work have been really friendly and have welcomed volunteers with open arms. I know the approach has been to build a small core team to start with, but having lots of willing people is all important. (and for anyone who’s never built trails before – its really hard work and many hands make light work 🙂 )

    I wouldn’t take it personally – maybe post on the Hurtwood control forum to find out more?

    As for being didactic (meaning having an air of teaching) – well I for one will gratefully accept a bit of instruction on how to build trails. Partly as I want to make sure my effort isn’t wasted and partly so the trail I’m building will still be fab in the years to come… If you’ve built lots of trails before and understand how to make a trail sustainable then I suspect the guys and girls would like to hear from you even more!

    Oh and I’m not defending anyone, simply giving a different perspective.

    TM

    p.s. welcome back STW 🙂

    Isn’t that sort of similar to saying ‘why do you need to ride your bike on this bridleway when you could just walk?’

    Indeed.

    Unfortunately picking on ‘type’ of bikes certain people choose to ride is an easy win for those less versed at the fine art of debate.

    Its almost a cycling specific version of Godwin’s for some.

    For what its worth I agree in part with ‘geetee1972’. Although a committed bunch some of the members of Redlands Trails have always had a very narrow view of what they think a trail should be like and aren’t particularly open to suggestions that vary from their ‘vision’. I should know as this was the reason that I stopped trail building with them.

    Whilst I understand fully that there are limits to what you can get away with building on public access land there are ways to build in more interesting features and yet keep them rollable for those less happy with slipping free from their earthly bonds to soar (briefly) through the air.

    JonEdwards
    Member

    S&J – good comment.

    I’ve built on and off with Redlands for some years, and have a passable understanding of some of the issues they face (nd some of the internal politics).

    The point is we’re not all the same, and we do want different things from our riding and at different speeds and skill levels. I’m all for a bit of airtime as part of a much bigger ride, and it would be good if there was a/some trail(s) in the Surrey Hills that catered for that. It would be better still if they were official. The official builders need to see and understand that, even if it’s not what they actually enjoy riding themselves.

    glenp
    Member

    Take a look at the difference between the attitude on Hurtwood land owners and Wotton Estate for a bit of perspective. All Wotton Estate land is barb-wired off and the land owner is totally and permanently opposed to cycling. Just because Hurtwood isn’t a freeride wonderland doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be grateful for what we do have and constructive and progressive about going forward.

    The sanctioned trails can be interesting as long as they are safe, but there is no reason to expect a demand for jumps (for example) to be met if it doesn’t fit in with the bigger picture.

    If it is true that anyone has been frustrated in their efforts to get involved with the group then that is wrong and should be put right. Doesn’t mean you’ll get instant results, trails-wise though – because everyone is giving as much time as they can and doing the job properly is time-consuming.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Phew, I was begining to feel like a lone voice in the wilderness for a time.

    What’s most interesting here is that the debate does seem to polarise around one simple issue – jumps (love the John Magee reference by the way sootandjim). There seem to be two camps, those that want to have jumps and those that feel jumps of any form present a problem.

    What do people think – does this seem to be a critical polarising issue?

    In the spirit of debate, shouldn’t we be saying, ‘look, I’d really like to have some jumps thrown in every now and then’. It’s not like jumps aren’t built on lots of other trails.

    Another key question is, why does the forrestry commision, which is subject to the same liability issues as Hurtwood, not have a problem with building some pretty large jumps and drops?

    GlenP – I don’t think I (or anyone else) was expecting ‘instant results’ in getting more interesting trails built when they started trail building with Redlands, but then again when I first started trail building with Redlands I was more jey than a very jey thing and only got my wheels of the ground when I used to put my bike in the car.

    As my riding progressed and riding ability improved I enquired about building in more technical features, not dug out drops or jumps, just something a little more interesting than a straight piece of bench-cut trail. At the time we were building ‘Summer Lightning’ and was informed that "we won’t be putting anything too technical on here but when we start building the ‘DH run’ we’d welcome your input". Eventually when the ‘DH run’ was started near enough every suggestion that myself and the more progressive riders offered was poo-poo’d and so many hard-grafting volunteers stopped turned up and went to do their own thing. Hence the shambles that the ‘DH run’ became. Un-bermed and badly made switchbacks, lack of natural flow and a whole host of other niggles that meant very few people actually enjoyed riding it.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Jumps are fine, but they need totally rollable and obvious, you can’t have dug out jumps, or people suddenly finding they’re 5 foot in the air aiming for a tree, or they’ve just been kicked over the bars by an innocuous looking hump. You’ve only got to look at the number of novices around the area to see that. You can see why the trail builders/land owners have avoided them totally, as they are more likely to cause crashes in those unaware of them or how to ride them.

    Morning Jon (*waves*),

    I share your view that a bit of airtime within a larger ride is fantastic (and having followed you down one or two trails I can confirm you do like to leave the ground on occassions – those when you were still in my sight! 🙂 )

    It seems to me that there’s plenty of opportunities on the current trails to get airborne. Thinking about Barry Knows Best for example, there has to be at least 3 or 4 four air opportunities on the way down. And I know I don’t utilise all the little ramps and kickers littered about our favourite trails.. I guess I speak as a mere mortal, although I suspect the vast majority of the bike riders on Holmbury are mere mortals in the most part too…

    I wonder if you’re talking about having a dedicated jump run? table tops and big kickers and the like. An interesting question. My take is that sorting out the current trail network is the first priority (The end of Barry Knows Best comes to mind). And you know as well as I do the policy on new trails (no new trails on the Hurtwood). Interesting – yes. realistic? hmmm…

    TM

    njee20 – In my experience one of the worst parts of the Surrey Hills for crashes is the bridleway leading towards Coldharbour from the tower. Not a jump in sight and a public right of way to boot.

    As I’ve said, I agree that dug-out drops and jumps are not suitable for the sanctioned trails but there is scope for more than just straight-lining and flattening previously enjoyable trails into a sea of bench-cut blandness. As someone mentioned, they manage to include interesting trails at FC centres.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    And I said I agree with you, I was just playing devils advocate if you will, and suggesting a potentially valid reason why there aren’t more jumps up there.

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