Greno: Sign of the times
Greno Woods has been one of Ride Sheffield’s projects since the very early days of the group. Some of you will have been there at the very start when quite a large bunch of us took the Wildlife Trust for a ride round the woods as part of their Stakeholder Meetings.
Since then quite a lot has changed in the woods. From the inaugural Peaty’s Steel City Downhill, to an initial proposal that you can still read here through the building of the Steel City Track and changes made to the other tracks to the point where we now have the mountain bike routes signposted and signage on the other trails allowing you to make a loop of it if you wish.
If you go down to the woods today….
You will now be able to follow a sign posted Red Loop that takes in two of the downhill runs in the woods and an additional Black Loop if you want to extend the distance of your ride. The loops take in the mountain bike specific trail and links them together with shared use Bridleways. The Red and Black loops combined is roughly 3.5 miles.
What to expect…
Greno trails are a combination of fully built trails and existing trails that have been managed in a more sustainable way. The trails have better drainage and have features made out of local materials, this makes them more sustainable than natural trails, but they are not surfaced like a trail centre. So when we get heavy weather (like recently) they will get muddy and will be more susceptible to erosion when they are very wet!
When you are on the MTB specific trails yo should hopefully find them just that way, you might occasionally find people riding up the trails, or walking their dogs on them. Best response is the polite hello and maybe to let them know to expect bikes on those trails.
When you are on the linking Bridleways, these are shared use trails, so expect to see walkers, dogs and horses on them.
Greno isn’t a trail centre, so we don’t have surfaced trails, or a full-time team working to maintain and extend the trails (Nor is there a cafe, though there are pubs, a shop, a chippy and a cafe in Grenoside). We are just lucky enough to have been able to work alongside Wildlife Trust along with Bike Track to help develop a series of trails in the woods.
Why did the changes happen and how does that affect you?
Back in 2009 the Sheffield Wildlife Trust bought Greno woods with a loan from Esme Fairbairn Foundation. Over the next couple of years they raised the 1 million pounds required to buy the woods. This is how Peaty’s Steel City Downhill came about.
Up until this point the landowners had very little to do with the land, which meant over time a network of trails had developed in the woods. When the Wildlife Trust took over the woods, they came in with an ethos to manage the woods better for wildlife but also for people too. This meant engaging with different stakeholder groups to work out how each of them wanted to use the woods. We were lucky enough to be involved from the start and what you see now is a result of that work.
It may mean that some of the hand-built trails with very large features in the woods may be lost, but this will be assessed by the landowners. If you happen to try to build a trail through the Scheduled Ancient Monument, they may well be less than pleased! (see Sheep Skull)
What does the future hold for Greno?
At the moment we are working on a long-term plan with the Wildlife Trust and Bike Track. We currently have an income stream from the Steel City Downhill which allows us to develop new trails and maintain the old ones. We will release a map of the plans when they are finalised.
How can you get involved?
We will be running a series of trail repair days throughout the year to keep the trails in tip-top condition. We will also be looking for a couple of regular riders to be trail checkers who can give let us know how the trails are holding up and even carry out minor repairs. You can let us know how the trails are doing via Twitter to us directly or via Keeper of the Peak. If you want to help in any other way just get in touch.
Other than that, just get out and enjoy the trails!
Thanks to everyone who has been involved in the project, who has given us advice or who has come on dig days. But particularly to the Wildlife Trust for getting us involved, Bike Track for their advice and construction, to also to Steve Peat for all his help and advice, Aline Coaching for advice, digging and regular trail days with The Bike Garage. Also finally to Steel City Series and This Is Sheffield for all their help too.