Unsanctioned trails on Holmbury

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  • Unsanctioned trails on Holmbury
  • Sonor

    This is quite a good debate, but the main issue is being ignored. Bentudder has said while riders who crash on land are not suing the landowners, the insurance companies who insure the riders are.

    Hurtwood is a charity, if something like that happened to Hurtwood or the Shere estate…its goodbye trails. Until Hurtwood change their minds over having jumps and the like the point is moot.


    This is quite a good debate, but the main issue is being ignored. Bentudder has said while riders who crash on land are not suing the landowners, the insurance companies who insure the riders are

    Why are they getting involved at all? I had to fill in a whole host of claim forms this summer when I broke my wrist after cocking up a root. There was always a "is there anybody else to blame for this accident" box, and it never got ticked. It wasn’t the root’s fault for being there. It wasn’t the Megavalanche organisers fault for sending us down that trail. It wasn’t Maxxis’ fault for their tyres not being grippy enough. It was simply MY fault for not being good enough.

    If *you* fall off your bike. It is *your* fault. End.Of.Story. You didn’t read the trail right, or bit off more than you could chew. Tough sh!t, live and learn.


    S&J – interesting points. Have you been to the DH run you talked about recently? We made several changes about a year ago that have improved flow.

    There are two large stump jumps near the beginning of the run, with backslopes so that people can roll them if they’d like.

    I agree jumps are a good thing, and there are air opportunities, as Twiglet mentioned above, on many of the trails. We always built with the idea that the harder you ride a trail, the more opportunities for air there are. Experienced / skilled riders could get air. A lot of this was about working out where we stood with the landowner – for example, the DH run was built according to what the land manager (Forestry leases that section of woodland) was comfortable with at the time. Times have changed, and so have the attitudes and understanding of local landowners and managers.

    I need to learn to jump quite badly, because I’m frankly rather bobbins. When the Dorking West jumps got going four or five years ago, I was pretty chuffed at the idea – it’s about five minutes from my front door. For various reasons, things didn’t go quite according to plan, but something is happening now. What do people feel about a dedicated jump area like that? Good idea, or jumpspot ghetto?


    Can’t understand the facination with more jumps, off the top of my head I can think of about a dozen places to get air, some of it pretty big on a ride between leith and winterfold. I’d welcome more singletrack, and think that the sanctioned trails are pretty good, riding summer lighning flat out is great. BKB was good after the work but is becoming a bit of a motorway now though.


    I miss Holmbury/North Downs. Stunning/beautiful and a great ride. Sorry, nothing to add to the debate, just browsing 🙂


    Can’t understand the facination with more jumps…

    I can’t understand some people’s fascination with singlespeeding, but if we all like the same things it’d be a pretty dull world.

    As I’ve said, rollable jumps would be fine, so that those who can’t understand them or just plain can’t ride them can avoid leaving the ground.


    I like jumps and I can do big ones, but I don’t want rollable kickers on every bit of singletrack in Surrey. There are jumps, manmade and natural all over, why spoil a nice trail with a mud ramp?


    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.

    Can you please email us again at mtb@hurtwoodcontrol.co.uk as it sounds like you have not made it on to the list as at least 2 emails went out last year (is your first name Gary?). Please mention geetee1972.

    We are still a small ‘core’ group that came to the table early and sat down with the Hurtwood (i.e. not self appointed, you could have been part if it as much as any of us are and you still can be) We agreed to go through a ‘proof of concept’ process with them which means that things move slowly (a lot goes on in the background at committee level and in liaison with the Hurtwood) and currently err on the side of caution as far as durability is concerned as this is something that our success (and permission to continue) will be measured against. It’s early days so please be patient!

    There are only certain things that the Hurtwood and their insurers can allow and we are limited by what durable natural materials are available to us and what the Surrey Hills geology can sustain. I.e there are no ‘proper’ rocks, no budget for rocks and no desire to import foreign materials into the AONB. This, to some extent, dictates what can be achieved.

    FWIW big berms on the new Park Life section were part of the plan but we ran out of materials on the day (as well as time even with 20 volunteers and an excavator) so they ended up pretty small. They may well appear at some point but not the current priority.

    We are currently setting up a maintenance plan for ’09 for the areas that we are currently sanctioned to work on and once this has been agreed (we need to ensure that we have experienced trail builders attending each session) then you will be invited to join (fairly soon). It is true to say that ’08 was quite fragmented in it’s approach as we started implementing the plan but we are all learning and forming/growing slowly as a group.

    Some of your views are shared by others within the group, we are not a group with a single point of view or a closed shop but we all agree on the principles of sustainability and are aware of the limits of what we have permission to do and what the express wishes of the Hurtwood are. We also know that we are never going to please everyone…(but would like to).

    they come across as being unfriendly

    that really surprises me….. you must have met ‘one’ of us on a bad day 😉
    Hopefully see you on a dig day real soon.


    Jon, the problem (as I’ve had it described to me) is that some people *do* tick that box, and while the case usually gets thrown out of court, there’s a load of work that the defence needs to do before it gets there. Add to that ambulance chasing lawyers of the ‘where there’s blame, there’s a claim’ variety, and you can understand why landowners get worried. At the original HC / mountain biker meeting a couple of years ago, this came up. There was a chap from the insurance industry in the audience, and he pointed out that case law is changing so that this sort of case doesn’t come to court as often, but the expense of just getting to court for the first day, when a judge throws it out, is very, very high. Certainly high enough for most landowners to be very conservative (see comments from Glenp about Wooton) when it comes to unsanctioned trails with big ‘old stunts in them.



    Yes the DH run is much better now with some nice drops,berms roots – just wish it was longer but thats not your fault. Thanks for the work on that.


    We only had a little hill… 🙁

    Ta for the kind words, though – makes a big difference. GeeTee had me weeping into my keyboard last night, you know…

    Could this situation be delt with another way as it seems to be a very popular trail, that’s been around a while. Could the ranger be persuaded to leave the trail open if the jumps were made rollable?


    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?


    In short the answer is the Forestry Commission are a government body and therfore do not carry any third party insurance (they self insure), where as a private landowner like the Hurtwood does have to use third party insurance. That’s the reason why any private landowner has to be more cautious, and hence the concern about dodgy jumps, easy 😆

Viewing 13 posts - 41 through 53 (of 53 total)

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