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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Summer Newsletter 2015

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Welcome to the first TTS Newsletter. One of our goals for this year is to increase TTS’ presence by getting in touch with the volunteers more often and providing better trail information. One of our goals that is, alongside plenty of trail building and riding!

Volunteer Weekend 10 – 11th October
The trails are still hugely popular and it’s been great seeing the number and variety in the groups riding. With that comes wear and tear and Blue 3 and Red 15 are in need of some serious TLC. So, we’ll be working on these areas from September 28th to October 9th followed by a volunteer weekend (that’s 10th and 11th October) to make good. If you’re interested in helping and are good with a shovel, then get the date in your diary and email us.

Freeride Area
Why has it all gone quiet? Is it going to happen? Has it all fizzled out? The answer? We’re working on it. After the meeting with the volunteers we started getting into planning and quickly realised that we are a way away from being ready to start building. TTS is working in the background with The Crown Estate to secure use of the land and a sustainable budget which sadly means it’s unlikely we’ll start building this year. More news as we get it.

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What happened to Tank Traps?
Not currently part of the trails but not lost, is the answer! The Crown Estate have a rolling 5 year and 25 year plan for the forest. That section of woods had been flagged for a while in the rolling 5 year plan to be clear felled, once this has taken place, the section then becomes an annual ground nesting area from March to September. We are currently discussing with The Crown Estate about altering the layout of Tank Traps to enable the final gully to be open throughout the year. The good news is, Tank Traps will reopen at the end of the summer anyway.

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Trail Tails from the Bearded One
Many of us ride these trails, enjoy them and are grateful they are there but few realise the work that goes in behind the scenes to keep the trails running. You may have seen him out in the forest but far from being some wild forest dweller, Colin is our expert trail builder. He’s the one who patches up the trails, such as the recent repairs on Blue 16, keeps The Crown Estate up-to-date on what work needs doing, ready for inspection and sign off. Ever wondered why you don’t get stung by nettles or torn apart by brambles? Colin constantly clears the trails. His next task will be getting tank traps back up and running. He has good design ideas and, as a quality mountain biker, knows how to make a trail fun to cruise down or more technically challenging if you go faster. A talented man!

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Calling All Web Designers
It’s time Trail Team Swinley had a website and we need to promote Trail Team Swinley as a brand – who would like to help? If this is your thing, please email us.

 

March Newsletter 2016

FebBan

If you go down in the woods today….
You’ll probably see people working on trails or at least the new trails well underway. The Freeride Area is taking shape, the heavy lifting is complete on new Blue 2, Red 1 and Red 4-5, ready for the finishes touches over the next few weeks. A lot of hard work has gone in since the beginning of January with over fifty volunteers coming in to help. A huge thank you to all of them – we couldn’t have got this far without you!

Our message is keep on coming! To respect the ground nesting birds plus other wildlife we aimed to complete all major work before the end of February. The Crown Estate have supported us all through this by moving ginger around to where we need it, providing digger drivers and even joining us on dig days to push the work along. All we need now, at least until the end of March is more help – it’s all manual labour from now until end-September!

The next build day is Saturday March 12thRoblox Hack No Survey No Download

What’s left to do?
There’s still plenty to do on the Freeride Area. The team is testing it and working out a plan to complete each run. We will have groups working on it as well as finalising the new Blue 2 climb, new Red 1 and Red 4-5 (Seagull). All the work has progressed well and it’s been great to see so many new faces coming down to help as well as the grafters who turn up time and time again.

If you can’t come…
If you’ve signed up, got a confirmation email from us and then for whatever reason you can’t come, please let us know! It’s no problem if you change your mind but please remember places are limited and if you don’t let us know, someone else misses out and less work gets completed. All it takes is an email, Facebook message, carrier pigeon…

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No Tank Traps again this Summer
We tried and The Crown Estate tried but in order to protect potential nesting sites, Tank Traps will be closed again this summer. Positive negotiations continue, aiming to find common ground which helps the wildlife and keeps interesting trail features running.

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Weekday Volunteering
We hope to offer weekday volunteering soon as well. You can use any charity/community work days your company offers for this. Keep an eye on the newsletter and Facebook pages if you’re interested.

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Do we have to stop trail building through the summer?
We are talking to The Crown Estate as to what we can do. Without heavy machinery and protecting wildlife, the summer will mostly be about keeping the trails clear and running sweet before we push on with the big building projects in late September or October.