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Trail Specs

Trail Specifications

Aims & Objectives
The creation of a top-level recreational facility for wide cross section of users.The creation of a challenging “premier” MTB facility, able to draw enthusiast &highly experienced level mountainbikers, whilst still being enjoyed by moderatelyexperienced mountainbikers

The systematic provision of increased off road, and where possible off forest road access within the woodland, maximising singletrack and providing challenging routes whilst minimising uncontrolled access or environmental disturbance. Provision of an aesthetically pleasing & “fulfilling” countryside experience.

Primary Considerations
Avoidance of environmental degradation or wildlife disturbance, prevention of trail tread creep. Particular consideration must be given to the presence of nesting schedule 1 bird species in areas of the forest. Avoidance of user conflict, particularly in those areas where trails / users meet or share trails.

Restriction of users to “on trail” activity, corralling of users into chosen areas of woodland and avoidance of straying or undesired activities.
Particular avoidance of conflict with ecological, historical or forest operation interests. Minimising visual / perceptive impact.
Provision of interpretative & educational facilities for trail users.
Prevention of watercourse disturbance or pollution.
Ability of trail to support all weather use with minimal construction & maintenance costs.
Road safety on areas of trail that may meet or cross public & forest roads.
General safety of trail and control of user speeds.
Public liability in event of user injury.

Proposed Construction Specifications
Research carried out by IMBA has produced well established trail design and construction guidelines, these are detailed in IMBA’s “Building Better Trails” Handbook. Further work in the UK has produced variations of these plans that are particularly suited to Britain’s wetter and heavier used trails.
It is proposed that trails should be constructed to support a trail tread width of 400-600mm for MTB and foot access, and 1000-1500mm for horse routes.

Trail line will be raked and cleared of physical obstructions to denote trail line & allow safe passage, No further ground preparation is required. It is envisaged that this construction method will be used on those areas of the trail which are already reasonably condusive to passage, with well structured free draining soils, and a resilient surface already present.

Constructed Trail
Soil (loam) and vegetation will be cleared from the trail, exposing mineral soil underneath. Tread will require a minimal 5% outslope to facilitate drainage, along with the wide dispersal of removed soil onto downhill side.
Final preparation of trail will involve the smoothing & /or compaction of exposed mineral soil to a reasonable standard. Exposed roots and stone need not be removed.
Further stone may be used to denote trail line and corral users onto correct trail line. Where necessary constructed trail will be used in conjunction with full bench construction or other recognised IMBA trail construction techniques dependent on slope and ground conditions.

Hardened Trail
As above, but exposed mineral soil will be capped with a layer of Crusher run stone(80mm to dust) With high fines content, with a surface layer of compacted dust laid down wet (it is imperative that all stone is compacted as soon as it goes down otherwise the fines will get washed out and it will be useless) to a minimum fill depth of 80mm. Additional exposed stone may be embedded within the trail edge or tread as trail features or to denote trail line. As with “Constructed Trail”, IMBA construction techniques will be used in conjunction where ground conditions require.

Armoured Trail
Where required, mineral soil will be sealed with a layer of rock and/or broken stone, before capping with crusher run stone (80mm to dust) With high fines content, which will be compacted as per hardened trail.

It is envisaged that this level of construction will only be required on steep slopes or areas with particularly unstable soil.

Raised Trail / Armoured Raised Trail
In areas of wet soil, or where extensive water problems may occur, trails may be constructed as per hardened trail, but laid on unprepared ground. Extensive amounts of broken stone may be required to build a secure platform for the construction of trail tread, particularly where the trail may be required to support horse passage.

To avoid any risk of watercourse disturbance, it is envisaged that some short areas of boardwalk may be constructed to allow MTB passage without impacting on streams or adjoining riparian zones.
Proposed construction from rail sleeper supports, 100x25mm cellcured softwood rails with chicken mesh surface to prevent slipping.

Large watercourses or lateral obstructions may be passed by use of bridges or culverts as deemed necessary (it is noted that often culverts provide a more user friendly passage, in addition construction regulations and risk of damage are often less extreme with the creation of a culvert than a full bridge).

It is proposed that stone, wherever possible, should be locally collected, either from local loose stone or established borrow pit quarries located within the woodland. Trail surface materials as already specified.

The selection of a single route, which is of a higher quality & rider desirability is likely to increase user pressure on the trail, to combat this it is proposed that a widespread programme of trail hardening and reconstruction should be undertaken.

Funding for proper construction with machine and personnel (contractors) must be viewed as a priority. The possibility of Lottery Sports council partial funding for trail construction in currently being investigated by IMBA.
Recent FE trail construction in Wales has shown the advantage of proper machine use in trailbuilding. Pioneering work by Daffyd Davis at Coed-Y- Brenin and other Welsh forests has also shown the effect of trail construction to IMBA standards on both construction and maintenance costs.

User Facilities
Adequate facilities are already available within the forest, although the provision of a pay for use bike washing facility would be advantageous, as might the stocking of minor accessories, such as inner tubes, in the forest visitor centre & shop.

It is considered as vital that any development of trails should include trailhead interpretation boards, giving route information such as distance, terrain, conditions and technical difficulty. It should also carry details of local emergency contacts (and nearest payphone) as well as information on the FE cycling programme, IMBA and Singletraction.
The existing trail route marker system provides an effective, discreet waymarking method, and is regarded as being totally in keeping with the aims of the new trail.

For more information you may find these links to other trail building techniques/resources useful – IMBA UK – IMBA International – Lee Likes bikes fountain of knowledge on pump tracks