Work starts to remove unofficial mountain bike trails in South Wales

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S Updated December 26, 2016

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has started work to remove unofficial mountain bike trails in a forest in South Wales.

The trails were built without permission in a woodland managed by NRW, known locally as the Warren, near Caerphilly.

NRW officers say people can ride freely on forests roads, trails, bridleways, and the natural land form through the trees. People are not allowed to cut down trees to make jumps and bridges, and use soil to build features.

Riders and people who use the forest are put in danger by unofficial trails which are poorly designed, built and managed. These trails also damage the landscape and disturb habitats for local wildlife.

Diggers are working along the trails to remove the tracks and jumps and to disperse soil. The land will begin to return to its natural state by the spring.

Once the trails have been removed, signs will be put up to inform people that they have been closed.

Gareth Roberts, local land manager for NRW, said:

“Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and get healthy in nature’s gym.

“As a landowner we are responsible for managing our sites and the safety of people who use them. We need to respect nature and other forest users, which is why we encourage people to use only designated trails for mountain biking.

“This site near Caerphilly is one of over 50 similar unofficial trails which have appeared on our land in south Wales without permission. They don’t consider safety, wildlife, habitat destruction and don’t follow general good mountain bike trail practice.

“There are numerous official, well designed routes nearby for mountain bike riders to enjoy, such as in Cwmcarn, Bike Park Wales in Merthyr Tydfil, and also Parc y Van jump spot in Caerphilly, run by Van Rd trails club.”

People who want more information about official mountain bike trails can find out more at www.naturalresources.wales/mountainbiking

iBikeRide would like to hear from local riders and the wider community about the above situation so please comment below and if there is anyway we can help facilitate in anyway then please also get in touch This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We have asked NRW for comment. I'm personally curious as to what attempts were made and what plans they have, to engage with the local MTB riding community going forward.

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it's not like we're causing any damage to the nature so what's the need.
B
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Update
(Updated: August 04, 2016)
Folks, iBikeRide have made contact and had an initial conversation with the MTB ranger from NRW. We've also had someone from the local riding community step forward to help represent.  We have made an introduction between the two and conversations are ongoing. Thanks for all your valuable feedback. 
S
#1 Reviewer 89 reviews
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NRW contact first?
I am appalled that the trails on Caerphilly mountain have been dismantled. Yes some features were too ambitious but no need to dismantle the lot? 
My experience comes from trying to engage NRW and Cadw and Cardiff council regarding the trails at Castel Coch. A meeting was held all parties turned up and I had a list of willing volunteers to engage in the maintenance of the trails. After the meeting lots of promises but not one party of the three re-contacted me with any sort of commitment not even a we can't help!
How can we proceed if people like myself are willing and able to assist  but are totally let down by the authorities. Our only solution is to carry on unofficially?

NK
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Nature survey first?
I wonder if NRW carried out a Bat Survey first? I rather doubt it, yet other mountain bike trail providers have to do so.
M
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mr
NRW are a total joke! Can someone explain HOW they are the "landowner" , I thought all land was common land or Crown land and the Forestry commission as the were called now NRW only had the logging rights? I may be wrong . How can building trails deep in the woods where most 99% of walkers/dog walkers don't venture only bikers be unsafe to the public? It seems perfectly fine for these logging company's to roll up strip blocks of trees, leave a friggin hell of a mess behind , yea that's not a hazard at all!! 
T
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No contact made by NRW with local bike shops
NRW certainly made no attempt to make contact via the local bakeshops (Muddybumbikes, Rhiwbina) to see if they could engage in dialogue with those riders who had built / rode the trails.

Personally, with obesity levels at an all time high in Wales and what appears to be a fairly large of the population thinking playing Pokemon Go, is a form of exercise, the ripping up of the trials, and the destructive mess NRW have left behind, its not a good advert for Wales, MTB'ing in Wales or local riders.  Yes permissions should have been sort, and may NRW could facilitate the setting up of land user interest groups for these pockets are woodland, so land owners and special interest groups can agree on usage, location of trails and avoid future conflict.
N
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Mr
I'd like to echo some of the comments made below regarding motocross bikes etc and the fact the council has decided to go ahead with this action prior to informing any local riders or discussing alternative action with the local community. 
The trails will simply reappear in time to come because despite the council destroying them due to 'unsuitability' I doubt very much they will be stepping forward with the money and recourses to build new trails for local riders. Echoing again a previous comment, who wants to drive upto 15 miles in order to go to a 'paid'  biking Park when you are able to ride out locally, enjoy your own local trails and then ride back again all for free... I happen to live in the vicinity of smilog woods where we are lucky to have many bike paths built by volunteers and like minded bikers and I must say, if the council decided to destroy those paths, many people would be upset. The council is answerable to the people not unto themselves. Disgraceful. 
J
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Mr
I am a local rider to the caerphilly trails. And have riden many trails throughout wales. The trails in question are very well built and cant see any areas along side where trees have been cut down where is your evidence of this?
The trails look very well built with all features being perfectly moulded into the ground and landacape around it.
The volume of riders i have seen up there and even walkers have commented about how great it is for the community and how nice it is to see people out on theyre bikes. 
The grading of trails at these official trails doesnt cover a trail like the one at caerphilly and this was a brilliant track for those looking to start progressing. It progressed throughout the the trail starting off very very small and was rollable all the way apart from the last two. So beginers could progress from jump to jump untill they can do them all. Even after completing the full trail it continues to be a fun enjoyable trail.

If you tried to get feedback for the trail from locals in the community and those that travel to ride there im am certain that the ratio of good to bad feedback would be in favour of the trails remaining there even from the majority of the walkers. I always speak to the walkers by and i am a dog walker myself and i have not heard one bad word about the track yet from dog walkers, walkers, horse riders or mountain bikers.

I thought that NATURAL resource wales would want to keep things natural and look after the enviroment rather than promoting people to dismantle theyre bike put them in a car and travel 15 miles either way to the nearest official trail. And some people may live further than 15 miles away. I believe people should ride local and they should be supported in doing so. 

I think it is an utter discrace that these trqils have been totally demolished prior to any talks had gone on with local riders.

Once again another public service is letting us down and only doing half a job.


Regards.
Julian Raymond.
JR
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Mr
As a local rider of Caerphilly I am saddened by the destructive actions taken by the nrw, those trails helped keep riders and walkers separate to enjoy each other's pass times without a risk of physical contact, thanks to the nrw this means that the risk to walker and riders alike will now be increased.the trails were in good condition and regularly maintained by local riders and far less of a eye saw than the nrw have left it which us totally I expectable, shame on you nrw!
R
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waste of money
I'd bank on there having been no formal trail assessment undertaken prior to this work being completed, there was no attempt to work with local trail builders or mountain bike groups first to deal with any issues or work out an agreement and meet required standards. NRW cant expect to have it both ways when it comes to mountain biking. Happy to promote what they do for the sport and how it engages people with the environment etc then smash up local trails used by the community the next, expecting people to drive niles away instead, great for the environment! Smash it up. The trails WILL reappear and all that is happening is tax payers money is being wasted.
O
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