Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Birches Valley Christmas Parking

Birches Valley Christmas Parking

During the Christmas period we are expecting a high volume of visitors to Birches Valley. The top car park is being used exclusively for Christmas tree sales meaning we have reduced capacity for other forest users using the site.

During busy periods this may mean we do not have enough parking spaces to accommodate everyone.

As a solution we are offering alternative parking at Tackeroo campsite (postcode for satnav purposes WS15 2UA). The alternative parking is free but has very limited facilities.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Christmas at Birches Valley

Christmas at Birches Vallety starts on Sunday 28th November with the grand arrival of Father Christmas and his real reindeer. Christmas trees are on sale daily from the Sunday 28th November until Sunday 19th December. Full details can be found on the Forestry Commission website

Buying a Christmas tree from Birches Valley helps support the Forestry Commission and the recreational facilities they provide.


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Evil Slab Number 1 (Trailbuilding Sunday 14th November)

Sunday saw us stealing, sorry, relocating more rocks from the start of the Stegosaurs. If you’ve been out of the trails recently, you’ll have seen that the root step-up at the end of section 12 had been partly removed. With the number of tyres that have spun out on the root over that last 5 years, it had eventually worn through. Rather than lose the technical challenge, we’d hatched a plan to add something different – enter The Evil Slab!

The recent strong winds had left a fallen tree across the trail and a potentially dangerous “hung” tree in the vicinity, our first task was to set up a diversion and tape off the area for safety. A few tonnes of tree landing on your head is going to do some serious damage. If you out on the trails after high winds and find fallen or hung trees, let the Forestry guys know by emailing and they’ll get it sorted.

First task was to dig out the ground ready for the slab and tidy the remains of the root. Bruce, Dave and Jez manhandled the slab into position and tweaked it until it fitted like a glove. A few more rocks were placed around it and surfacing material packed in around them. The results look good and like a fine wine should improve with age.

We’ve also pegged larch logs along the edge of the trail to deter riders from taking short cuts – the slab looks worst than it is to ride.

Whilst we put the finishing touches to the Evil Slab, Martin and Steve headed off to add a rock slab to the top of the log roll at the very end of section 8. You’ll only get to see this if you just ride The Dog – riding the Monkey misses out the part of the trail.

Dave, Jez and myself did a social paced lap of The Dog in the afternoon to inspect and test our handiwork – The Evil Slab should raise a few eyebrows ….

Next weekend should see us doing the snagging work on LSN now the Forestry Commission Engineer has inspected the trail – please join us if you can.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Finishing Touches (Trail building Sunday 7th November)

Over the last few months, we’ve been adding black “extreme” grade TTFs (Technical Trail Features) to what was the original Monkey trail. “Le Singe Noir”, as it’s been christened will peel off the existing red grade trail just before the first set of rocks and work its way down the hill before climbing back up to rejoin the red just before the end of the section.

Two weeks ago we finished “The Qualifier” – a rock garden into the tight left hand berm immediately followed by a two foot drop off. It’s a case of if you can ride that feature then you should be able to cope with the rest of the section.

As we’d run out of sensible sized rocks to build the last TTF, this week Dave, Ian and Steve tried their hand at splitting the larger leftovers. With the aid of a SDS drill and chisel followed by careful use of a wedge, the results were very successful.

Nigel and Jez quickly put the split rocks to good use filling a gully with a series of steps.

Whilst all the grafting was going on, Bruce, Phil and myself erected a fence to separate the black from the red trails and Petra finished removing the thick layer of pine needles covering the trail …. it’s been some time since the trail was last ridden in anger.

It shouldn’t be long before the new trail is opened – it’s shortly due a sign off inspection. Other highlights of LSN to look forward to are “The Toboggan Run” and the “Rock Skinny” – we’ll have to name some of the others …. maybe “Oblivion” for the steep rock garden …..