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.
“Walkers, horse riders, cyclists, however you get around, we all enjoy the beauty and serenity of our wild areas for the same reasons – stunning landscape, wonderful wildlife and fantastic flora. So Be Nice, Say Hi to everyone you meet!”
If you have ever flipped over a Be Nice Say Hi beermat and perused the back of it while you were waiting for your mate to return from the bar, that is what you would have read. It sums up not only how we feel about it, but its supported by the Sheffield Ramblers and Hallam Horse riders (not to mention the Outdoor City and Peak District National Park)
It has been a great summer again and we have had some pretty prime trail conditions. But lots of prime riding in the dry and dust does tend to cut up the trails a wee bit. But hey, that all part of challenge and as long as we look after things then we get quality riding all year round.
So the time has come to put a little back into Lady Cannings on Sunday 29th September. We will be tidying up the loose material, pulling out the odd rock, a little bit of patching and building up a couple of the berms too and hopefully not too much litter picking.
And a Jam Session I hear you say? Well kind of! After a rather damp and cool start to summer we have a embarrassment of Blackberries and Bilberries lining the trail, so while trying to pick them on live trails is a bit of an extreme sport in itself, we figured we should make the most of closed trails by allowing a bit of fruit harvesting too.
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!
It’s been another good summer for dusty trails this year, but the extra rain we have had has given us a bit of overgrown vegetation. (Parkwood will be sorted by the council team shortly)
So we will be heading upto Lady Cannings next Thursday the 25th for an evening session, cutting back vegetation and tidying up some of the loose sections too. Followed by post work pints in the Norfolk Arms (our sponsors may even buy you one 👊)
Dress appropriately for the work,don’t forget the midge spray and the water.
We will be meeting in the bottom car park on Sheephill Road at 6pm Thursday the 25th of July, or on the trails after 6pm.
Back in the days before our minds were continually melted by a non stop supply of shredits, we used to get the treat of a couple of times a year of heading down to the Showroom with a couple of hundred other riders to watch whatever feature length film was out at the time. As well as a cool communal experience, it was nice to be able to catch up with the MTB community too.
Last year we were treated to the World Premier of Gamble, but that was a rare treat. However we now have a couple of films coming up in the next month, if you like that sort of thing.
First up is The Moment, it’s about the history of free riding and how it has shaped our sport. Check out the trailer below. Its screened by Cycle to the Cinema at Decathlon on the 3rd of July
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!
This article comes with a health warning, please approach with caution. If you’re a conservationist or outdoor enthusiast of a nervous disposition, look away now. If you’re happy to have your preconceptions challenged, read on….