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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Swinley Forest - the end of an era

Never believe spin

The Crown Estates who own most of Swinley Forest have announced that the free cycling that has gone on for years is endangering ground dwelling birds and needs to be controlled. This control will result in three way marked routes. And that's it.

Now, that might sound great - there are trail centres all over the country that offer a choice of trails - but that's fine for destination centres. Swinley is not and has never really been a destination venue. It's a place where local people can ride and ride in peace and quiet on trails which are usually the result of races which have taken place around the forest

Oddly, when the Crown Estate harvest the timber, they plough through the forest in very large machines totally trashing the place. I presume that this probably pisses off the birds a wee bit more than a cyclist in a trail, barely a yard wide, with hardly any other trails nearby. Its also not like there are not extensive areas nearby which are ideal for birds - owned by the Army and really, really out of bounds........

I have no idea how they are going to police where people ride. I rather expect and hope that local riders will carry on regardless - I mean how can any sort of ranger (not that there are any...) catch up with an MTB on some singletrack through the trees (which is where there are no open ground birds anyway?)

Of course, this is nothing about birds, it's all about litigation. Apparently, there are a handful of people suing the CE's because they injured themselves on unregulated trails. Perhaps, given the resources of the Crown, they might take these time wasters to court and see what comes up - as its like slipping off a grass verge and suing the council because it owns the verge. If you are on a bike, you owe yourself a duty of care, surely?

I use trail centres - but it's just so boring to have to follow the same trail as everyone else if that is all there is. Ashton court has such a trial - indeed its linked to another - and is called the "BMX Trail" by locals. It's fun, but its a MacDonalds of a trial. A fast fix, not a slow cooked home made meal of a ride. 

My only hope is that this takes people off the interesting parts of Swinley - which is left to those in the know


Disgusted, late of Bracknell

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