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Proposed changes to Swinley Forest

gregwarigregwari Posts: 228
edited July 2013 in Routes
Has anyone seen whats actually planned for Swinley this winter?? I've heard rumours that they (?? not sure who they are) are planning on building a dedicated trail, rather than allowing bikers general access / the relatively informal arrangements that are in place at the moment.

Cheers
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  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/news-me ... or-estate/

    No route map as yet. Theres a meeting planned with CE on the 3rd december if you want to come. I'll post the location (Bracknell somewhere, 7pm) on the London Calling thread when its confirmed.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    Bloody hell, just spent ages tapping out a long winded whats happening just to be gazumped by twinkle fingers hisself.
    Regular updates on
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/SwinleyforestMTB/
    as well.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • gregwarigregwari Posts: 228
    Thanks guys...
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    Now map of changes here
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/444395922287125/

    Crown Estate are hosting a public meeting to share the details of the plans for Swinley Forest with the MTB community. It will be held at 7pm on Monday the 3rd of December at the Bracknell College building on Church Road in Bracknell (the new one). There is free parking on site, and its only a 5 minute walk from the station for those on the train.
    After the session, Ben and Andy (Purple Bike Shed) are hosting a basic maintenance session on bike set up and drivetrain from 8-10.
    All are welcome to join, and both sessions are free to come to, but we would ask that you ensure you register your interest on doodle (http://doodle.com/7kib8kmwurytp9md) for one or both sessions so we know how many are coming. By registering you will also get updates by email as they occur.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • gregwarigregwari Posts: 228
    Nice one, thanks guys. I'll try and free up some time Monday evening to pop along to the meeting.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    It's not over - another challenge by Ferrari
    Posted in the wrong thread but what the hell.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • gregwarigregwari Posts: 228
    Cooldad / Benpinnick - Hi guys, how did the meeting go on Monday? Work commitments meant I couldn't attend unfortunately. Was there much more to add other than whats already been shown?

    Cheers guys
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    Easiest to watch the video: https://vimeo.com/54847938. You probably won't learn much though. Just the background.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • gregwarigregwari Posts: 228
    Excellent, thanks again Ben
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    Heres the 'final' map. I say final, it may change between now and March.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/m6q1s4u4k1fh5 ... Biking.pdf
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • Any more news on this, what about the corkscrew, some key bits dont seem to be included? In some ways it kind of makes sense, i cant see that it makes that much difference, except the trails will be one way, you can still drop in and out wherever you want I guess. Be interesting to see if there are any fees. I was pretty peed off when they introduced parking fees that gave free access, as I had bought a season pass every year only to find it was effectively worthless now a few months after buying, dont get me wrong, the season pass price was a pittance for what you get, but I was fed up with seeing others ride straight into the woods without visitning the lookout first and not showing any sign if the pass on their bike / helmet. As one of the people that contributed and stuck to the rules, it seems I lost out a little, (again its the principle not the value).

    For people who dont know the place well, its a great idea, but for those of us that know it well it will be interesting to see how it affects our riding.
    My biggest fear is that should I crash, burn and die, my Wife would sell my stuff based upon what I told her I paid for it.
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    There will be no fees, only parking (which of course is avoidable by not parking at the lookout). Corkscrew is not included as thats on Forestry land, which is outside of the area under development.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • Well it probably was coming at some point can't say i'm wildly happy though paying for parking rather than use, will be less faff, plus mean I don't have to leave my bike unattended.

    People do get lost/can't find trails I do my self since I don't go to Swinley that often, I do enjoy the fact it's a network rather than just a loop of trails.

    Can't speak about numbers or how busy since I tend to go on wet Tuesdays but have noticed more rubbish left.

    Guess we'll have to see how it works in practice.
  • Well it probably was coming at some point can't say i'm wildly happy though paying for parking rather than use, will be less faff, plus mean I don't have to leave my bike unattended.

    People do get lost/can't find trails I do my self since I don't go to Swinley that often, I do enjoy the fact it's a network rather than just a loop of trails.

    Can't speak about numbers or how busy since I tend to go on wet Tuesdays but have noticed more rubbish left.

    Guess we'll have to see how it works in practice.

    Rubbish tends to be around Jump Gulley from what I have seen, probably more to do with age groups that use it the most. One worry I have is that the routes will cut through and across fire roads and where as before it was two way individual trails, you took care crossing and didnt fly through incase of other riders or walkers etc. if its a route, it tends to be more of a head down get moving ala cannock chase kind of thing, I just hope that there is adequate warning for walkers and riders to avoid a potential accident. However, it will be nice to able to not have to worry (as much at least) about somene pushing their bike up the deerstalker etc as they found the end and are trying to find the start! :shock:
    My biggest fear is that should I crash, burn and die, my Wife would sell my stuff based upon what I told her I paid for it.
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    Its ok, they are going to build huge gap jumps across all the fire roads so we'll be 10 feet up in the air when crossing.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • benpinnick wrote:
    Its ok, they are going to build huge gap jumps across all the fire roads so we'll be 10 feet up in the air when crossing.

    Hmmm.
    My biggest fear is that should I crash, burn and die, my Wife would sell my stuff based upon what I told her I paid for it.
  • Well it probably was coming at some point can't say i'm wildly happy though paying for parking rather than use, will be less faff, plus mean I don't have to leave my bike unattended.

    People do get lost/can't find trails I do my self since I don't go to Swinley that often, I do enjoy the fact it's a network rather than just a loop of trails.

    Can't speak about numbers or how busy since I tend to go on wet Tuesdays but have noticed more rubbish left.

    Guess we'll have to see how it works in practice.

    Rubbish tends to be around Jump Gulley from what I have seen, probably more to do with age groups that use it the most. One worry I have is that the routes will cut through and across fire roads and where as before it was two way individual trails, you took care crossing and didnt fly through incase of other riders or walkers etc. if its a route, it tends to be more of a head down get moving ala cannock chase kind of thing, I just hope that there is adequate warning for walkers and riders to avoid a potential accident. However, it will be nice to able to not have to worry (as much at least) about somene pushing their bike up the deerstalker etc as they found the end and are trying to find the start! :shock:

    I have seen now rubbish on some of the trails to the east of the Labyrinth, all coke cans etc.

    I have before now met a rather worried middle aged man and a happy Labrador walking up the Deerstalker as I was coming down...

    But on the whole the closing speed on most of the trails being narrow and twisty is low enough that it's not a issue have they said it will be one way? seems over kill to be honest.
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    It will all be one way. I don't think you could contemplate having a properly managed trail network that was bi-directional. Rational people of course will think this is fine, but the courts would side with the claimant if theres an accident.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • I must admit I have a mix of thoughts on this:

    As a Swinley regular, I know most of the trails, and it was great to be able to go out on a Saturday, with many riders in the forest, and it not feel overcrowded, as most people would be confined to the more well known trails (or lost!).

    With one-directional marked trails I think those days will be gone, and I fear it will become very overcrowded.

    However on the other hand, being a Swinley regular, the trails had become a bit too familiar, so a new 24km properly maintained trail is very exciting.

    I think the worst aspect of this will be banning riding off-road unless on these marked trails or on fire roads. It seems a shame, as most riders will happily stick to the marked trails, so the environmental impact would be limited. Its sad to think gems like the 'New England Switch-backs', 'Monaco', 'Corkscrew', 'Satan's Grotto' and 'Roller coaster' will likely disappear. I'm possibly being over emotional, however I feel its going to be a case of 'you don't know what you had till you lost it'.

    Perhaps I'll take up bird shooting.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Corkscrew and Roller Coaster will not dissappear as they are not on Crown Estate land - Forestry commision and MOD respectively. So they will remain as they are, unless those parties decide to change them - but no suggestion of that.

    Satan's grotto is part of the red route - there will be a new track for some of the harder parts as an alternative, but the original track is marked as a black option on the red route. So that should be fine.

    All the DH & Freeride stuff like babymaker etc looks set to stay and not be part of the route - it only using Deer Stalker and Labyrinth through that section.

    New England, Alpine and possibly parts of the Whole 9 Yards look to be the losers - which is a shame but it could be worse and the tradeoff with the new parts being built might more than make up for that.
  • I just wonder whether the Forestry Commission will take the chance to remove the trails on their land - however that's purely conjecture on my part (especially if there is no 'legal' way of reaching the trails).

    I suppose it really depends on how good the new trails are. If they are like Cannock Chase then great, if they are like Sherwood pines then not so good.

    However if Satan's Grotto is graded black then that doesn't say much about the proposed difficulty!

    Its still sad to think perfectly decent trails will be off-bounds, and will eventually disappear.
  • gregwarigregwari Posts: 228
    benpinnick wrote:
    It will all be one way. I don't think you could contemplate having a properly managed trail network that was bi-directional. Rational people of course will think this is fine, but the courts would side with the claimant if theres an accident.

    Seems such a pity to have to manage the risks out of a sport thats enjoyable for having risks, but thats life and it's something not limited to mountain biking (at Swinley or further afield). I must admit that my views have changed significantly over the last few months, my initial response was one of annoyance and disappointment but in reality you can't blame the CE for needing (and not just wanting to) move the liability they're carrying for allowing an activity they could have just as easily banned. It's not ideal but the thoughts of loosing one of only a handful of areas that are good for biking in the South East is by far the least desirable option. Oh, and for those who think the £2 for parkings steep, I went to Bedgebury in Kent the other week and had the pleasure of paying £8 for parking, we're not doing too bad all things considered!
  • The car parking thing is annoying, however there are so many other places to park, that its a fairly small problem (imo).

    I'm not a lawyer so i don't pretend to understand the legal problems for the CE; however i would have thought you could inform riders to have the correct insurance, if they choose not to, then they should have no legal recourse. I'm unclear how making a marked trail makes them less likely to be sued.

    The CE is worth over 7 billion so I'm fairly sure a couple of mountain biking accidents in Swinley is hardly that bigger issue. I would also be interested in finding out if mountain biking activity has affected these birds, or if its simply guesswork. Most of the trails have been around for a long time; even during the summer the forest is almost empty during the week. The only change recently is a new person in charge of the forest.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    A summary of the reasonings and the presentation at the recent meeting, from the local press - http://www.getbracknell.co.uk/news/s/2125872_new_swinley_forest_bike_trails_to_stop_insurance_claims

    (and less negative towards mountain bikers being purely the fault in causing lots of damage as their previous article suggested).

    On the parking, it's more the principle given the amount that goes to the council and the huge annual parking permit (£100, or £80 for Bracknell residents!. Compared to other places it's a huge amount).
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    The Windsor estate (which includes Swinley) is the only loss making estate in the CE portfolio, so I think getting rid of the lawsuits will help turn that around a fair bit. As far as I know, there is no evidence of any damage to wildlife so far, but I do know Natural England want CE to do more to prevent it being an issue. unfortunately in the UK, the option to force people to have insurance isnt viable, you can never waive your duty of care through any kind of contract, written or enforced via signs. The only way to do it is to show that the accident wasnt your fault - the marking and management of the trails gives a clear way forward for CE to demonstrate that they look after the trail network to recognised standards. While the trails are unmarked and essentially unmaintained (at least formally) but CE still encourages riding, they are open to ambulance chasers continuing to sue them. Marking and managing the trails doesn't reduce accidents, just means they can more effectively defend themselves from cases.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • gregwarigregwari Posts: 228
    How's the progress on the trails going?? Not been up for a few weeks (injured) so not had a chance to see the progress....
  • Went up today, the closed off trails are all being ridden anyway. Looks pretty lame at the moment, just covered the current trails with sand :(
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    No they haven't. There are loads of new bits, and the existing stuff is being changed. Map here
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/1kxZn3Lh ... edit?pli=1
    And it's being ridden by mongs who just ride over or round the barriers.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • Hi hope someone here can post an update or answer my questions.

    Haven't been to Swinley since end of Sept was hoping to get out tomorrow b4 I return to work on Tuesday.

    What's the current state of unofficial trails which ones are shut?
    I assume the new trails are not open yet, is it still worth riding Swinley?

    What is the deal with permits, are they gone? All part of the parking fee?
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    Almost everything is closed - Satans Grotto, Seagull, Stickler, Tank Traps, bits of Watsons Wander and Whole Nine Yards.
    The bottom section - around Crowthorne, Corkscrew etc is all fine - it's not part of the plans, and the Clubhouse area, Deerstalker, Babymaker and Labyrinth are all fine. Work hasn't started there yet.
    No need for a permit, but make sure you pay for parking - meter maids all over the place.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
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