Looking back and moving forward
Its been a while since we last had an update and round-up of whats been going on over here at Ride Sheffield and while it might seem a bit late, it felt like it would be a good time to reflect on the past year and look towards what we had planned for the coming year.
Ride Sheffield started out after we became represented on the city’s Local Access Forum (LAF), this was the first time that a mountain biker had been appointed to this statutory body and it seemed like it was a move in the right direction. However i came out of the first meeting a couple of years ago feeling pretty angry with the whole thing; but with enough direction that setting up a group was going to be a good way forward in making life better for the bikers out there. Now if yu follow our twitter, you would probably notice some venting of frustration after pretty much every meeting; invited to the table but not really seeing any changes in attitude towards the sport.
However, the last meeting was something of a revelation; after a site visit to Greno to look at the plans up there, things started to change, most of the group saw that the plans for the woods were a good thing for the area, given a couple of criteria.
However the biggest move was an acceptance that mountain biking will continue to grow and that it is time to start working with mountain bikers, rather than just ignoring them, this means improved dialogue, better consultation and the possibility of opening up more Bridleway’s to accommodate them too. This might not seem that significant, but it is a change in attitude that will hopefully make a huge difference to mountain bikers in the area. It is however just a start and there is a long way to go still.
Another good bit of recent news was that we had managed to win the public enquiry to keep the three Bridleways on Fox Hagg open. Thanks to Steven Hardcastle, CTC and CPRE for putting together a fantastic piece of work. It is worth noting that very early objections to Fox Hagg work was why Ride Sheffield came about! As well as keeping the Bridleways open, it is looking very likely that the bits of upgraded Footpath nearby will receive their official upgrade to Bridleway status soon
Greno Woods had seen a great deal of progress over the past year, starting off as something we had been consulted on as stakeholders; things stepped up a bit after the successful hosting of Peaty’s Steel City Downhill. It not only showed the woods were more than capable of hosting big events, it also raised a lot of money for the wildlife Trust and showed how popular the sport is.
We have been slowly moving forward, from the initial consultation, to a proposal for a loop which was taken to wider consultation later in the year. Now we go into the new year with work building the new track penned in for the end of the month all being well. This will be followed by several volunteer days to get the rest of the loop up to scratch, it will then be signed and ready to go. We are really excited about this one!
It’s not only up at Greno that we have been doing some good partnership working with the Wildlife Trust. We have also done three maintainance days on the bridleway’s. The work on Devils Elbow has made a huge difference to the trail, as had the work on the bridleway running parallel to the Hathersage road. We are going to continue to work with them to keep the bridleway’s on Blacka (and in other locations) up to scratch in the future too.
Lady Cannings Plantation
A bit of a slow burner on Lady Cannings, but things are slowly progressing and we are aiming for an October start for the building, allowing for time to survey the area and go through the public consultation. You can find out more about the proposal in the projects sections of the site and you will see updates on progress on here as we go along
Eastern Moors Partnership
We have been working with the Eastern Moors Partnership as one of their stakeholder groups and are contributing to the work on there.
Its been really good to be part of the process and it is looking likely that access and connectivity for mountain bikers will improve considerably over the next few years. More information can be found here http://www.easternmoors.org.uk/. You can also view the draft management plan here http://www.easternmoors.org.uk/public-consultations/index.html. thanks to Sue and John for all their great work on this one
The final piece in the puzzle for Parkwood springs is about to be put into place, with contractors going up onto the site shortly, with a completion date in early May. We will keep you informed about it when we hear more from the man behind the project Jon Dallow
As well as the loop up at Parkwood, a DH track has been constructed on the hill at the Ski Village, the track is pretty much complete, with a few tweaks needed and a couple of changes to be made to allow it to be a slick running operation. More information can be found on www.thisisheffield.co.uk, as they are driving the project forward. Right now it is not open to the public, so please don’t jeopardise things by riding up there. Hopefully it will be open to the public sometime in the spring.
We are hopefully going to have some regular dig days throughout the year, these might be on public rights of way, but also as the year goes on should be involved in trail construction up at Greno and Lady Cannings. We are also fortunate to be supported by Big Stone www.bigstone.co.uk for our digging, who are helping us out with tools as well as providing food for all our dig days.
We are now a fully constituted club, which makes life much easier, we have a bank account and we are insured for digging and events too; big thanks to Cotic www.cotic.co.uk for covering this aspect of the group. We are on website MK2 now, big thanks to Phil from www.gravity-slaves.co.uk for putting in all the hard work to make it possible.
We will be having the usual social events, as well as getting the women’s ride up and running this spring.
We are looking forward to another successful year, something that is made possible by our supporters and all the work that is done by volunteers to keep the group running, who promote the work the group does, as well as all the people who come to the dig days and go to all the meetings. Thanks to everyone who is involved in the group.
Enjoy the ride