Autumn Newsletter 2015

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It’s been a busy month for TrailTeam Swinley. Planning for trail building 2016 is well under way and there is good news! The first project we’re planning for next year is to move Blue 1 and 2. Why is this such good news? Well, in the future if we want to add a Freeride Area where Blue 2 is now – the first step is to move the old trail out of the way!

The other projects we’re considering for next year are to re-route the start of the Red so Tank Traps is open all year round, rejigging the Red, taking out the boring bits and adding interesting features, sorting out Blue 7 as it’s somewhat worn out and extending the Green route. Any suggestions you have are welcome here…

Yes, the Freeride Area is still in the planning pipeline and much further down than it was before! More news as soon as we get it. Suffice to say – the more volunteers we get for each project, the faster we can do them and the more trail building we’ll get done next year. Worth considering!

Goodbye Sandy Cutting (aka ‘The Jump Gully’)
It was sad to see it go and being the team to announce it was never going to be easy. We can’t give all the reasons why in this amount of space but suffice to say the crunch came with the accident rate, high enough that any caring human being would take one look and realise it couldn’t go on. Time to move on and find other places to play!

Thank you to everyone who commented about it – we read as many as we could and have given the feedback to The Crown Estate.

To answer a few of the questions that came up. Do we close the trails at a certain accident rate? No, we constantly study the accident rates and if there are a number at one point then the trail is assessed and repaired within grade. Only in extreme circumstances is a trail closed permanently. Does this mean there’ll be no Freeride Area? See above! Finally, why weren’t the riders consulted? Well, it’s The Crown Estate’s land and there have been discussions on this every year. No new arguments came up in all the comments we read, The Crown Estate had already heard them, considered them and used them to take their decision. Sadly, it just didn’t go the way the riders wanted.


Will the new trails be ginger?
Yep. Is there another colour available? Nope. Why the ginger? Swinley Forest is a Special Protection Area with a unique ecology. To preserve this and respect conservation, The Crown Estate ask us to stick to locally sourced materials which match the conditions as far as we can. The ginger is what’s available. We used 202 tonnes of the stuff to rebuild Blue 3 which The Crown Estate quarried and dumped onsite for us.


Can I drive the digger?
That’s a question that came up a few times during the Blue 3 rebuild! The answer is ‘Only if you’ve got a digger licence.’ We have a few licensed drivers and it’s great that they give their time to come and help us on volunteer weeks. If we’re looking for more, you’ll be the first to know!


Keeping off the new trails to let them dry
It’s a polite request and one that’s almost never fully heard. There’s a lot of work goes into building a trail, 30 people worked on Blue 3 in total and it’s soul destroying that there’s always at least one muppet who has to ride it before it’s dry. Someone even moved all the logs, branches and tape off to ride Blue 3! Please stay off the trails and if you are said muppet with enough energy to shift logs rather than ride – come down and help!

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