This year’s Winter Social on the 25th of November is a bit of a special one, as we are celebrating our 10th Birthday! Yes, time flies when you are having fun on your bikes and riding in Sheffield can certainly be as fun as it gets! But what’s almost as good fun as riding your bikes is hanging out with your mates over a beer and chatting about bikes and good times. Add in some top-notch entertainment from the Shred Talk hosted by Downtime Podcast, some excellent prizes to be won in the quiz and the raffle, a little bit of merch from ourselves and Bolehills and some of Sheffield finest brands showing of their good too.
A lot has happened in the past 10 years and we may have to toast a couple of our successes and just what an awesome place Sheffield is to ride a mountain bike. We will also be updating you on some of our key projects such as Redmires and Cut Gate and other exciting developments in the city, as well as looking forward at how we (and you) would like to see Ride Sheffield developing in the next 10 years. Finally, we will then give you a quick update on what we have done with Rad Tax this year, quickly rattle through our AGM and then we will be moving on to the more entertaining aspects of the evening….
As outdoors folks, we can all be a little guilty of pack mentality, sticking within our own little groups. We thought it was time to look a little further afield, discuss things more openly and try to work together with some different people. We wanted to talk about the impact we all have on the Peak District and what we could do together to help minimise this.
On Wednesday 9th October, we arranged an open meeting at the Norfolk Arms, Ringinglow. Spurred on by the success of Cut Gate as a collaborative project, we invited land managers, conservation workers and rangers to join a variety of outdoor user groups to discuss what we could possibly look to do together to improve our collective enjoyment of Sheffield and the Peak District.
With the Cut Gate project funded and contractors confirmed, today was the day to head up for a site visit to discuss the planned works. A sunny, blue skies day certainly helped!
We met with Moors for the Future (who are managing the Cut Gate project), Peak District National Park Authority and a host of other trail users – mainly to meet Andy from Terra Firma who will be carrying out the work.
It’s great to see users getting a proper consultation on repair works like this, but thankfully there was little disagreement anyhow. The planned work is primarily drainage, to get the standing water off the hill and away from the route.
Moors for the Future should be following up with a map and notes, which we’ll share. In the meantime, here’s a loose explanation of what’s going on.
Bog of Doom
The main boggy section of Cut Gate, which proves most difficult to pass when the weather’s been wet. This area will have the most significant works, with new drainage and a slight detour of the trail to keep it higher. This will be one of the longer sections of flags, around 70m – and a clapper bridge in one spot.
In between the two boggy sections, a new drainage channel will help to keep water away from the trail. No trail works as such in this area, but the drain will cross the trail at a couple of points – these will have stone pitching or flags as appropriate.
Bog of mild peril.
Further South towards the Cairn, this section has a split and significant amoutns of water gathering at the bottom. The trail will be routed one side, with drainage the other. A small clapper bridge and flags will then allow the trail to cross this drain, with water draining away using the existing pipework.
Between this bog and the Cairn, there’s a few setions of exposed peat that are being used as smoother route choices. These will be tidied and a route through the rockier sections encouraged. Where possible, the route will be held to around 1m in width – to allow the moorland to recover.
National Trust area
Beyond the Cairn and heading towards Derwent, the land changes into National Trust ownership and management. Although not directly part of this project, there is a little funding from the main project that’s being offered to the National Trust to carry out some trail work.
This is yet to be confirmed, but conversations today suggested that the steep section between the cairn and the flagged section is priority, along with the very bottom of the trail between the stream crossing and Slippery Stones.
We’ll keep you in the loop on this separate work, but it will once again be minimal and appropriate – mainly focussed on drainage.
The work on the bogs begins in October, ending in March before nesting bird season.
Huge thanks go to everyone we’ve worked with on this project, particularly Chris Maloney (Keeper of the Peak/Peak District MTB)
It’s been a collaborative project in terms of the two local mountain bike groups working together, but also one of our more successful projects in working with other user groups and land managers. We now have allies in the worlds of rambling, climbing, horse riding and conservation – people who are now singing our praises.
Big thanks go to Magic Rock brewery and Radventure for their help in the early stages of the project. Very much appreciated!
But most importantly, thanks to each and every one of you who helped with the fundraiser. The BMC and Moors for the Future headed it up, but every donation, sponsored event, raffle ticket and social media share has counted.
We look forward to sharing the improved Cut Gate with you as soon as it’s finished – ideally enjoying this iconic trail more of the year round!
Between us, we’ve done it – the Cut Gate fundraiser has hit its total! Those of us who’ve plugged away behind the scenes, our countless partners in local organisations and each and every one of you who fundraised and donated have all helped to make this happen. Huge thanks!
When we announced Rad Tax, the whole idea was for Sheffield riders to pay into a pot that would give Ride Sheffield something of a pot to dip into , in contrast to our larger crowdfunded trail projects such as Lady Canning’s.
So what have we spent it on so far? Here’s a few things we’ve done and have planned;
I hope by now that you’ve all heard of our collaborative effort to raise money to repair the Bog of Doom on Cutgate. While it’s not been much of a bog this summer, once the rain returns, so does the clart!
We’re now nearly a year into the project, so what’s been going on? Alongside Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB fundraising, we’ve had several kind individuals fundraising via their own sponsored rides along with the Steel Valley ride and Peak District MTB raffle. Massive thanks go to everyone who’s given up time to help, volunteered on event days, bought raffle tickets or dug deep and donated to the cause.
Sadly, we’re no where near the full target – around 20% of the way at present. It’s disappointing, but in a way understandable. There are a few concerns that seem to pop up, so we’d like to answer those.
– A fear of sanitisation. We’re looking at flag/clapper work over only 70 metres of trail, to encourage one route through the bog. That’s it.
– But “they” did this to that trail. There’s a lot of different “theys”! This project was led by Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB in the first place and we’re being involved in discussions throughout the process. Cut Gate is on Sheffield land, so we can categorically state that Derbyshire County Council are in no way involved. They’re usually the “they” in cases of inconsiderate works.
– Money’s tight. Yep, no doubt. As bikers, we don’t usually pay for trail access or repairs. Perhaps this is the chance to show land owners, land managers, national park bodies and other users groups just how responsible mountain bikers can be. If we’re seen as the good guys, maybe that will work in our favour in the future?
Help can be in other forms too – can you raise sponsorship somehow? Push your employer for a donation or some raffle/crowdfunder prizes? Can you just help spread the work via social media and forums?
If you’re ever wondering about what Cut Gate’s riding like, Keeper of the Peak is a great resource to find real life ride reports for Peak District & Sheffield trails. Check the website here and the twitter account here.
The BMC, who are overseeing all 14 Mend our Mountains projects have just launched their Crowfunder – giving great awards when you pledge a donation.