Redmires Update: Project Postponed
Over the years Ride Sheffield have dreamt big and grafted hard to realise some very ambitious projects and have built a well earned reputation as a riding community that gets the job done. Our latest venture, Redmires, was set to be another example of this same commitment but unfortunately we have faced an ever growing set of unforeseen challenges and now three years down the road, we have had to make the difficult decision to postpone our work on the project.
Thanks to the generosity of local business and riders, the money required to build the track in Redmires Plantation was quickly raised. We formed an excellent relationship with Sheffield conservation groups to ensure we knew what possible impacts we could have on local wildlife. Ride Sheffield and Sheffield City Council (SCC) went the extra mile to produce a proposal that addressed numerous issues that could have an impact on the project.
But that’s where the good news ends. Redmires lies within the Peak District National Park (PDNP) and therefore comes under close scrutiny due to its proximity to land that is of prime conservation status. The National Park Authority has the highest standards and in spite of our best efforts to fulfill those standards, we have run into a brick wall.
Along with local residents, the PDNP has raised a number of objections including the effect the trail would have on landscape value, exacerbated by Storm Doris felling a belt of trees adjacent to the Long Causeway. The possible increase in parking and the fact that an endangered species, nightjar, is now nesting in the plantation were also crucial issues.
We may all have opinions about the veracity of these objections but we were under no illusions when we first proposed this project that it would be a real challenge. The delay has understandably caused some serious debate within the local riding community with some arguing that we should abandon Redmires. Rightly or wrongly, we stuck to our guns for three years but, as a result of changing circumstances, we have to make a difficult decision. Given the complexity of the planning application, it’s highly likely that Redmires will not be built for five years.
But we’re not giving up. For a number of reasons, we’re determined to continue striving to achieve what would be a ground-breaking trail. It would set an important precedent, that mountain biking and conservation can co-exist. Time will be a factor because the growth of new trees will have a number of benefits for our project, not least removing the landscape impact.
Importantly, this allows us to move on in a number of ways. First up, we’re keen to revitalise Greno. All three tracks need maintenance and reinvention with DH3 due an overhaul to ensure it becomes as popular as Steel City and Pub Run. We’ve already spoken to our corporate sponsors and they’re happy for funds they donated to be used for Greno. That, along with donations to the Greno Trail Fund and the Xmas raffle means we’re close to the required sum.
Secondly, Lady Canning’s has been incredibly popular since construction and is showing serious signs of wear and tear. Again, we want to bring it back up to the highest possible standard. We may not be able to rebuild both of them immediately as that will depend massively on the continuing generosity of the Ride Sheffield mountain bike community. We’re in the process of making an application to the Santa Cruz Pay Dirt fund which could go some way to financing this work.
Sheffield is the coolest mountain biking scene in the country. Thanks to the support of our community, we raised £45,000 towards Redmires. At some time in 2021, we will seek your opinions on what to do with the remaining Redmires funds. Ride Sheffield is determined to carry on listening to our supporters, being influenced by them and supporting the local mountain bike community.