We arrived at ten o’clock on a nice warm sunny day. Present were Phil Saxena from Architrail, Keely and people from the council, Park Rangers, a lady from the Salvation Army, volunteers and the youth members from Hadleigh Mountain Bike Club. The morning was to show us and the other people how to look after the track and surrounding areas when it is open to the public. When it is open, there will be different grades of trail; Green will be multi user, Blue for beginners, Red for more advanced riders and Black will include the features.
Most of the maintenance can be done about once every 3 months. Basically all the tools that will be needed are lots of brooms, shovels/spades, a whacker plate and some different sizes of stones and dust. Where there is lots of surface stone and grit, we would need to sweep it away to leave the hard smooth surface clear underneath. If we needed to redo it, we would re-dust it with some wet dust and rake it over, compacting it down afterwards.
Phil took us around to look at the pump track first. The tarmac is strong on the berms so will last a long time but we should keep an eye out for BMX stunt peg damage and patch up any holes. Loose stones can be swept away so that all users can ride it safely e.g. little kids on balance bikes.
Natural riding lines around the skills area and other trails should be monitored as this is where the erosion will show first. Basically sweep away larger stones to stop riders slipping and encourage less skilled riders to access the correct riding lines.
We should keep an eye on the larger rocks and the three drop-off rock areas because they may become loose as rain may wash away some of the dirt that is keeping them secure in the ground. The bottom of the drop offs need to be kept smooth and rounded to stop your front wheel sitting in a gully and throwing you over the bars when you land.
Cattle grids need to be maintained so that gaps do not appear at the edges joining the path to the metal grid.
The trails will naturally change as they become more bedded in and get used more and more. If lots of loose stone appear get out the broom and sweep it away to show the compact ground underneath. Loose sand stone can be piled at the edge or be removed. Weeds can be kept back using weedkiller or a flamethrower.
The wooden ramps need to be checked for looseness, rotten planks of wood, loose bolts etc. This area is one that Hadleigh MTB club may be asked to modify as we can join up the right and left hand trails and link up the blue parts of the trail. Maybe we could add some features like logs or rocks here?
Oak tree and other tree features like Leap of Faith are also somewhere that the club could be responsible for keeping tidy. Loose leaves and sticks could be cleared up and sweeping should be done to keep a smooth transition at the bottom of the drops.
Drainage will need to be checked so this means making sure pipes are clear of mud or weeds. Gullys can form where water runs off the trails so this will need to be noted. Loose stone material swept up from other areas of the course could be used to fill these holes.
Some areas of the course have had the sandstone cut into and it is still very loose. These banks have been hydra-seeded to allow the grass seed to grow in the sandy soil. This will hopefully bind the soil together making it stronger and stopping landslides and damage to the trails.
The area that has the dual slalom is to be kept as natural as possible so that the impact of the mountain bike trail is less obvious in the surrounding fields although some minor weeding might need to be done.
Basically our job is to keep an eye on water damage to the trails and features following heavy rain. We should also be aware that long periods of hot dry weather can cause the trails to dry out and make things loose.
We should also check that the signs and signposts are where they should be, say what they need to say and haven’t been damaged.
Hopefully we can all do something to help look after this course so that it’s here for a long time for us to enjoy!