2021 Rescue Ride Challenge

Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team’s fundraising mountain bike ride, the Rescue Ride Challenge, has reappeared this year. Most of you will think Holme Valley’s nowhere near me, so what? They may be based in Marsden however their patch covers the whole of Kirklees, and a lot more besides – from Holmfirth to Marsden, via Oakwell Trails, to Garforth and Knottingley. We spend a lot of time shouting up these folks because they’re all volunteers, funded by donations, who’ll come and rescue us from our mtb shenanigans when it goes pearshaped. Covid exercise has created far more callouts whilst Covid has hugely reduced their fundraising events so we want to do everything we can to raise funds.

If you’ve not ridden over Marsden way the routes are some great riding, with the mtb routes signposted (by Ride Kirklees), gpx files available and refreshment points on the way round

The Rescue Ride website seems to be having a funny turn (quite literally, if you move your phone through 90 degrees it moves from the entry page to the main page bit that’s not obvious) so here’s a link to the entries and a load of detail. Come and join us, it’s a great ride and at worst you’ll meet the sweeper riders who are us.

Entries: https://www.racespace.com/gb/holme-valley-mrt/rescue-ride-2021#metabs-tickets

Detail: On Saturday July 17th 2021 it’s Holme Valley MRT’s annual fundraising bike rides. The Rescue Ride Challenge is a fun way of fundraising for the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team. It is a cycling event for both road and off-road bikes. It is not a race but an opportunity to take a personal challenge and enjoy the scenery whilst raising money for the team. The event starts and finishes at the team’s headquarters in Marsden and offers a choice of distances, terrain and difficulty, there’s something for everyone.


  • Short MTB: 25km – Elevation 680m
  • Long MTB: 50km – Elevation 1520m
  • Short Road: 49km – Elevation 1180m
  • Long Road: 110km – Elevation 2430m
  • Family Route 11km – Flat(ish)

GPX FILESThe MTB routes are signposted however the road routes are not! The GPX files for all the routes are available here rescue-rides-2021-gpx

Refreshment Points (Water, flapjack, bananas, chocolate)

  • Road Long – Top of Cragg Vale 28 miles; Haigh Gutter (A640) 39.5 miles; Brown Hills 45.7 miles; Huntsman Inn 55 miles; top of Holme Moss 60 miles.
  • Road Short – Brown Hills 7 miles; Huntsman Inn 16.8 miles; Top of Holme Moss 21 miles.
  • MTB Long – Brown Hills 5.4 miles; Haigh Gutter (A640) 11.9 miles; Top of Wessenden 19.9 miles; Huntsman Inn 23.8 miles
  • MTB Short – Top of Wessenden 3.7 miles; Huntsman Inn 7.5 miles.

Registration and Start Times

  • Long MTB 8.30am
  • Long Road 9.00am
  • Short MTB 9.30am
  • Short Road 10.00am
  • Family Route 10.30am

Arrival & registration

Registering, starting and finishing of all routes will be at our Headquarters, Emergency House, Manchester Road, Marsden, HD7 6EV.

There is no parking available at Emergency House however there is a free car park near the Marsden Moor Estate office adjacent to Marsden Railway Station and signposted from Station Road.

  • On road parking is also available in Marsden, but please park responsibly.
  • You must make sure your number is recorded at every check point you pass.
  • Any cyclist who drops out before the finish must immediately report this via phone to the event organiser to avoid unnecessary searches being activated.
  • Remember this is NOT a race but a personal challenge.
  • It is COMPULSORY to wear a cycle helmet at all times while participating in this event.
  • All riders must abide by the Highway Code and the Countryside Code.
  • The mountain bike ride is on shared trails. Please respect other users – slow down for walkers, horses and other riders. #benicesayhi.
  • All under 16 year olds must be accompanied by a participating parent or guardian.
  • All under 18 year olds must have their parent or guardian’s consent.
  • All riders must carry a mobile phone.
  • Your Rescue Ride number must be visible at all times.

MTB Short Route

MTB Long Route

Hooligan cyclists steal other people’s litter

Every year Trash Free Trails hold their Spring Trail Clean. Last year, due to the restrictions relating to the pandemic, we were unable to host a group trail clean, and instead joined in with the #selflessisolation trail cleaning.

Today, with restrictions lifting we were able to organise 4 separate trail cleans around Kirklees. The locations were: The Wessenden Bridleway, Mirfield woods, the Spen Valley Greenway and Oakwell Hall. Unfortunately, mother nature had some other plans for us, and decided to cover the Colne valley in a blanket of the white stuff, meaning that Wessenden had to be cancelled!!( No point looking for litter that’s hidden beneath the snow!)

Mirfield woods is a popular area for riding. It consists of a few pockets of woodland linked together with some bridleways. Lady wood has a small trail going through it, some bomb holes and some great natural riding of rights of way. Committee member James, headed up this trail clean with 2 other volunteers, who managed to pull a number of bags of litter from the trails, got them loaded into a car and taken to the tip.

Meanwhile, Mal, who was running the cancelled Wessenden clean had hightailed it over to Mirfield to lend a hand. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find James and the volunteers, and got caught up with a running event in the area. He did however manage to fill 4 bags and have a chat to Woodhead MRT.

The Spen greenway clean up was a different bag o’ s#@t!! Committee members Stu, Tim and Bob were joined by 2 other volunteers to tackle a stretch of the greenway from Asda in Dewsbury. The site had been highlighted by Bob as one of the worst sections of the whole greenway, and was in dire need of some work. 26 bags of litter, some car tyres and a car bumper later that section is looking well, and just needs locals and trail users to respect it and keep it “Trash Free”

The Oakwell clean was attended by 10 volunteers, including Trash Free Trails ambassadors Jo and Harry. We took a walk around the lower half of the park, and then up the rideway and onto the trail itself. The main paths were pretty trash free, but there was still enough litter in the undergrowth and poo bags hanging in trees to fill 15 bags!!

Today has definitely been a purposeful adventure for a lot of people. It’s a great feeling to get out there and be part of a movement to help protect our wild places and the places we ride. I took my family along, and the kids loved it (possibly because they got stickers – thanks Jo!! and ride around Oakwell). It’s a really simple thing to do whilst out for a walk or a ride, and also very rewarding.

So next time you head out to your local trail, grab a bin bag and pick up some litter. The cleaner a place, the less likely people will be to drop litter.

Annual General Meeting 2020

Our AGM is a yearly meeting that is a requirement for us as a constituted group, but also a really good time to chat about what we have been up to over the year. Usually we hold our meetings in a pub, where we can drink our fill and talk bikes and projects….This year though, with everything that has been going on with Covid, it had to be an online Zoom meeting!!

If you have not had the pleasure (I use the term very loosely) of an online meeting, they are possibly one of the most awkward social gatherings you can have. I am not a huge tech fan, and prefer to ride my bike, hand write lists and notes and speak to people face to face. But with the global pandemic, lockdown 2 and all the pubs being closed, it was over to Zoom.

The meeting kicked of with the formalities of a constituted group, and the appointment of our 3 key members of the group. The positions of chair and treasurer have remained the same, with myself (Gordon McMinn) continuing to act as chair, and Mal Gibb as treasurer. Liam Raby has stepped down as secretary due to family and work commitments, and has been replaced by Stu Davies.

One point that wasn’t raised was that Tim Bailey has also joined the committee, so I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Stu and Tim to their new positions. The full committee is now made up of 10 members:

Chair: Gordon McMinnTreasurer: Mal Gibb
Secretary: Stu DaviesCommittee member: Andy Bampton
Committee member: Bob HedleyCommittee member: James Smith
Committee member: Liam RabyCommittee member: Mat Melia
Committee member: Rik LeggeCommittee member: Tim Bailey

The treasurer’s report was a brief section of the meeting, purely because we don’t have any money. However, Mal is in the process of spending several hours trying to organise a meeting with a bank to set up a community group account. At the moment Barclays is the only bank offering this type of account to non customers. As soon as we can get an account, the committee will be looking at funding streams to develop trails and run projects.

We then moved the meeting on to some of the things that Ride Kirklees have been working on. Covid has put a stop to a lot of the work that we had planned, but also gave us a chance to write a proposal to the council setting out our plans to develop a number of purpose built trails in the area.

Drivetrain Bike Hubs

The largest of the projects in the proposal is Dewsbury Country Park bike hub. This is a large, long term project which will see the creation of a mixture of trails (Green, blue, red and black) a pump track, a jump line and a cafe, shop and visitor centre.

The park ranger is in the process of applying for funding to get the project up and running. Unfortunately, Ride Kirklees were unsuccessful in getting any funding through the British Cycling “places to ride” scheme. On a plus note, I was approached by a company carrying out a consultation for Kirklees Council to look at ways of revamping the town. There is a potential £25 million available to make improvements to Dewsbury, and the bike park/hub has been included as one of the potential projects.

Caulms wood in Dewsbury is another potential place for the development of a trail. Ride Kirklees was approached by the Friends of Caulms wood to help design and build a red trail in the woods as well as a pump track. 3 pump track designs have been submitted to the Friends of group, and an online consultation has been carried out and a design chosen.

Clearance of the site was started (pre lockdown 2) by Kummon y’all youth group, and they are planning on going back in to clear the rest of the area for the pump track when restrictions are lifted. When the site is cleared, we have permission to begin digging out ready for the build. It will be a dirt track to begin with, and if it proves popular with the local community, will later be stoned up as a permanent facility. The long term plan for the wood is to then develop a red trail through the woods, giving riders a challenging route which should help to leave the Kirklees Way footpath free for walkers.

The proposed red route around the woods.

Park Mills Bike Track in Clayton West has a dirt jump line and a disused track which was built by the council in 2009. The original track was not fit for purpose, which led local riders to build the dirt jumps. The council are happy that the dirt jumps remain (if managed to a standard set by them), but would also want the disused track brought back to life to make the site suitable for all abilities.

RK have submitted a design for a basic pump track which will replace the original trail. It will consist of rollers and tables with a large berm at one end and a start ramp at the other. The site was cleared pre lockdown 2, and the building material is already there, as we will be looking to reshape the existing features.

The original track was cleared in summer.

Managing unofficial trails.

In summer we were asked by the Council to resolve user conflict in Fixby Woods. Biking has been in the woods for years however a recent glut of inappropriate digging had caused a lot of complaints from locals. We’ve done a lot of remedial work to remove some of the poor quality digging, and reduce the impact of the woods. As it’s ancient woodland there was a real risk that biking could be banned and all trails dismantled however we gained agreement to keep both trails. The council have been really positive and are now making the following signs for all entrances.

It’s looking like we’re going to get a 12 month trial to rider manage the two trails to the agreed specification, hopefully ensuring the long term future. If successful it opens opens the door for rider managed woods throughout Kirklees, giving more security to other unofficial trails..

Natural Kirklees.

Natural Kirklees is a local group who operate a tool store, co-ordinate projects and provide our insurance for dig days and volunteering. At the time of the meeting, due to covid, our insurance wasn’t running, however, it is not back on and we are able to run volunteer sessions. They also have small grants available to member groups of up to £750 which can be used for projects that benefit the natural world. We are looking for project suggestions that would allow us to apply for a grant. The project would need to be something that benefits mtb as well as the countryside and other users; for example bridleway maintenance.

Trash Free Trails Reps.

It will come as no surprise that Ride Kirklees supports and pushes the TFT ethos. It was put out to the attendees that we would like to appoint a rep to promote TFT and encourage other group members to look after their trails. We now have 2 reps, so a huge thank you to Rik Legge and Austin Thornton for taking this on.

Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team (HVMRT).

Mal Gibb attends the monthly HVMRT fundraising meetings and has become heavily involved in organising the Rescue Rides (route setting, fundrasiing, signposting and sweeping the route). It’ll be back in 2021 after unsurprisingly being cancelled this year however his idea of a Facebook post about the loss of the event raised over £350.. He is trying to create a relationship between Leeds Urban Bike Park and the Mountain Rescue team as they are quite often called to attend injured riders. He is also helping to create a 120 mile fundraising walk.

RK are looking to make a large donation to the rescue team and getting a named brick in the wall at HVMRT headquarters. So far we have raised £100, but I’m sure we could up the donation and support the hero volunteers who will gladly pick any of us up after an off.

Bridleway issues.

As a group, one of our main concerns is looking after and protecting our rights of way. The bridleway network in our area, is disjointed to say the least with numerous “footpaths” being suitable to ride, and others falling into disrepair. We are involved with a number of bridleways – either sitting on the steering groups, or carrying out maintenance.

Ramsden Road in the Holme valley is an official green lane and is open to all traffic. Over a number of years the surface of the track has been damaged through erosion. The Friends of Ramsden Road was set up to look at solving the issues, and fixing the byway up for all users. Ride Kirklees are active in the group and are pushing the voice of MTB.

The repairs have been divided into 3 phases. Phase 1 was completed in June 2020 by Bike track. They reinstated the original large drains on the moor side of the track and repaired a number of culverts. Phase 2 will go from the quarry and will look at the 6ft water channel that has become a main concern for the council. Although the track will be resurfaced all the way down, as it is a public byway, RK will be looking to ensure that the trail is still enjoyable and retains it character.

reinstated drainage channel.

Recently there have been issues with off roaders straying from the track and going off piste, which is causing damage to the surrounding area. If anyone see’s any illegal activity, it should be reported to the police using 101 or through their online reporting https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/form/report-nuisance-bikes

Marsden Packhorse

The packhorse trail was repaired by contractors, which resulted in a number of horrible steps coming down from the moor towards Easter Gate Bridge. The repairs were unsympathetic to the area and to horse riders and MTB – it was suitable for walkers only, even though it is an official bridleway. RK and Kirklees Bridleways Group flagged up the issues with the ROW team, and after some discussion the council appear to have nearly completed the repairs to the “repairs”. Stone pitching has replaced the vast majority of stairs, the water bar of death has an out-route to the left and also appears less severe.

Magdalen Road

In October RK members flagged up large scale works taking place on Magdalen road in Meltham. It appears that a new landowner has dug up a lot of the trail and filled it in with large aggregate. The works were immediately reported to Kirklees Council(KC), who were unaware of the works being done. The works were also reported to the Peak District National Park(PDNP) and Natural England.

Work was ordered to stop, and an investigation was started into whether the works were being done illegally. It transpires that there is no planning permission from KC/PDNP. The site is a SSSI and protected by law.

The landowner will now have the opportunity to apply for planning permission. RK, the Kirklees Bridleways Group and Peak and Northern footpath Society are now joining forces to write a letter of objection to the works, and will push for it to be returned to its original state.

Maintenance Update.

Good old Covid has pretty much put a stop to our regular maintenance days, but we have still been able to get out and do some work.

Fixby Woods is coming on well and we have the backing of the council and most of the local community.

Turley Cote Lane is officially in Calderdale, but is on the border. Ride Calderdale as a group, haven’t really got down to business yet, and we jumped in to give them a helping hand (I say we, I mean Mal!!) Good progress has been made through some 1 to 1 sessions in order to be covid compliant. We can’t solve it completely but have removed a lot of standing water. It now needs Calderdale Council to provide several tons of aggregate to sort out the levels and stop huge puddles forming. The work and enthusiasm has rubbed off of Ride Calderdale, who are now a constituted group and are going to get digging.

Our regular dig days were completely stopped due to covid. We had planned on continuing work on Meltham Cop, Wessenden Head and Harrison Lane (Blackmoorfoot Res). Meltham Cop still needs some serious work to drain the year round ponds. Wessenden needs a bit of TLC in the form of culverts and cross drains clearing. Our proposal for Harrison Lane was approved by the council, and we will look to get a start on it as and when we can.

We will be working on proposals to carry out some maintenance on Wellands Lane in Cleckheaton and Springs Road (above Digley Res).

Oakwell Hall mountain bike trail is in need of some work as it is now out of its maintenance contract with Bike Track. Gordon McMinn is going to be heading over at least once a month to work on the trail, and will be able to take groups of volunteers. With covid restrictions, places will be limited, but we will be able to make a huge difference and ensure it doesn’t fall into disrepair.

In the new year we will be looking to organise Covid little big dig days. If Covid continues to stop large groups, we may run concurrent 1-1 sessions on all our maintenance sites. It’d make progress whilst keeping us within Covid guidelines.

The North Peak Loop.

We are working alongside Tameside MTB to develop a 40 mile loop that takes in the Northern fringes of the Peak District, including Holmfirth, Meltham and Marsden. The route will be waymarked and advertised as a national cycle route. At the moment, we are waiting to get permission to use the “footpath” across bobus moor in Marsden. In order for this to work the path would need to be upgraded to a bridleway. We have also approached a number of local businesses to have them included on the route map – this includes cafes, pubs and bike shops.


Gordon McMinn has been attending the Public Rights of Way meetings. Due to Covid, the meetings have been put on hold. When the resume Gordon will be delivering a presentation about Ride Kirklees and our achievements.

Restoring the Record.

Kirklees Bridleways Group have added 3 new evidence forms – Hey Green, Marsden, Mag Wood, Netherton and The Gulley, New Mill. These along with a large number of packhorse tracks are classed as footpaths, but should be bridleways. The more evidence forms that are submitted, the stronger the case for them being upgraded or lost. We have asked to be provided with maps showing the locations of the paths, to help our members identify the routes easier in order to submit evidence forms.

We would encourage our members to submit as many evidence forms that they can for trails they ride. The bridleways group have forms and maps for a number of the trails in question, and they can be found here:

Evidence Forms – Kirklees Bridleways Group

As is usual, we ended the meeting with Any Other Business, which opened the meeting up to the group.

Rastrick Pump Track

Jason Ashworth’s idea for a fully funded tarmac pump track in Rastrick. Up to £65k available from Rastick Big Local as a starter. The plan is now to develop a proposal. The project will require at least 3 tenders from separate companies. The project will hopefully be steered by Ride Calderdale with help from Mal Gibb

Project 22

This project by PDMTB is still ongoing, and we are awaiting an update on progress from PDMTB.

One Community Funding

Mal Gibb only found out about this today. A £1m fund available for community projects in Kirklees. Gordon to try to find out information from within the council.

Storthes Hall

Planning permission given to build houses at Storthes Hall. The owner is now creating issues with access to the woods where there’s a long history of use by all user groups. Nigel Addy is going to ascertain whether Rights Of Way can be granted from proven historic use under Restoring The Record.

World mental health day.

Today is World Mental Health Day. In the midst of a global pandemic our physical health seems to be under constant scrutiny, and so it’s good to know that mental health issues are becoming more widely understood and less stigmatised.

However, separating our health into physical and mental “compartments” might be too simplistic; it’s more that they are two aspects of our overall health, and often closely linked. An injury or illness is likely to be accompanied by feelings of anxiety, perhaps a loss of confidence or worries over keeping up the day job. We might feel lethargic, demotivated, frustrated, angry. In my opinion, we should not just ignore these feelings but try to address and manage them in the same way we might approach any other “physical” illness or injury.

Worth remembering this wee slogan when your out, as you never know how another person is feeling, and a simple greeting can go along way.

In addition, there is still a lingering idea that mental health is in some way binary; a person is either well or unwell, or as if only some people are affected. But in the same way that even the fittest and healthiest of us can be struck down with a virus, anyone can struggle with their mental health. The severity might vary considerably (just like with a physical injury or illness) but even in mild cases, showing some sympathy and support can help.

Over the past few months, I have found myself feeling pretty down. I suffer a little bit with anxiety in any case, but with uncertainty over work, family, friends and a host of other things , life has felt more of a struggle. Normally, I find that any daily worries and frustrations seem more manageable after a ride. Getting outside, spending some time on my own in the hills and challenging myself on some tricky descents gives me the dopamine hit I need to restore my mental balance.

A bit of peace and quiet in the hills can go along way to relieving stresses.

However, recently things have been different. The idea of going for a ride just didn’t appeal. Sometimes I’d force myself out, but I felt crap, like I’d forgotten how to ride properly. Where previously I’d make time to ride, I was now doing more work. It became a vicious circle; seeing other people ride would induce feelings of jealousy, but I couldn’t bring myself to get out. I deleted Strava, stopped following people on social media, stopped messaging friends. I just wanted to shut everyone out, sell the bike, hide away.

Today though, I feel a bit better. Despite the damp conditions, I actually found I fancied getting out and when I did, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t fast or stylish, but it was fun. I have tried to identify what it was that made the difference, I’m still not sure and perhaps it was a few things, but at least in part it was a message from a friend arranging to meet up.

I know full well that my mental health issues are, in the grand scheme of things, pretty trivial. Everyone feels a bit down sometimes, or gets bogged down with work, or feels stressed. But just because everyone goes through it, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t show some kindness; both to others and ourselves (sorry, sounding a bit Jerry Springer there). Check in on your friends, see how they’re doing; it can make a huge difference.

Check in with your riding buddies, organise a ride out and have a laugh, you never know how they might be feeling, and getting out and forgetting for a short while, might do them the world of good.

Written and submitted by an anonymous Ride Kirklees group member.

If you suffer from any form of mental health issues, there are people and groups out there to help. There are numerous groups in Kirklees who can offer help and support, check out some of the links bellow or chat with friends and family.



What have Ride Kirklees been up to?

As with everyone else Covid put life on hold for Ride Kirklees. It put a stop to our dig days, Trash Free Trails (#tft) clean-ups, social rides and such. That said lockdown gave us time to work on various proposals and we figured now’s a good time to start spreading the good news. Ride Kirklees have been asked to get involved with trail developments in:

  1. Oakwell Hall
  2. Dewsbury Country Park – Dewsbury Bike Park
  3. Caulms Wood
  4. Park Mills Colliery, Clayton West
  5. Fixby Woods

As you’ll soon gather, the developments range from small to huge so some parts will come to fruition sooner than others. There are all sorts of decisions to be finalised regarding funding, permissions from other landowners, fully signed off plans etc however Kirklees Council have been very positive so it’s going to be an exciting few years for mtb in Kirklees.

1. Oakwell Hall

This is a simple one, the trail’s already in place and fantastically well used, it’s more a request for help. We currently don’t have a representative that lives locally and rides it regularly. If it’s your local trail and you fancy getting involved to keep it sweet, we need a volunteer to organise TFT clean-ups (maximum two a year); getting to know the rangers so problems can be reported; keeping an eye on the state of the trail; help out the organising team for another open day. It’s not an onerous task, and there’s several of us that can help out until you know what’s what. If you’re interested please get in touch. (ridekirklees@hotmail.com).

All the following trail developments are in various stages of discussion with Kirklees Council. The discussions were underpinned by our “Drivetrain Bike Hub Proposal” document, regarding creating off-road cycling facilities in Kirklees. If these are your local rides, keep an eye out on the Facebook page to get involved.

2. Dewsbury Country Park – Dewsbury Bike Park?

After attending the Oakwell Hall Opening Day, the ranger of Dewsbury Country Park contacted Ride Kirklees with the idea of something similar in DCP. The long-term plan for Dewsbury Country Park is to develop a bike hub and trail centre. The park has the space to build a network of safe trails for people of all abilities. This proposal includes family orientated green routes, beginner blue routes and more advanced red routes (with black options) as well as a pump track and jump line. If you’ve never ridden a trail centre before, they use colours to grade routes by difficulty so that everyone knows what to expect. Having a mixture of graded trails would mean that the park would cater for all riders and allow progression for people to develop their off-road cycling skills. Providing dedicated walking/multipurpose routes near the bike tracks would also encourage more visitors to the park and also help to reduce any user conflicts that may arise.

At present Dewsbury Country park has issues around anti-social behaviour – fly tipping, drug use and unauthorized use of motor bikes. With the development of a bike hub and on-site facilities (e.g. bike hire, café, information centre) the increase in visitor numbers is hoped to reduce the anti-social issues, much like Leeds Urban Bike Park has done in Middleton

The aim is to develop the site in stages, so the council can gauge the popularity before the next stage of development.

The 1st stage will be to create a pump track that caters for all abilities – from kids wanting to learn, to experience riders looking to progress and jump. If the pump track is successful, we should then be able to move on to developing the red and green/blue trails.

Dewsbury Bike Park plan

3. Caulms Wood

Caulms Wood needs a significant amount of management and has seen the development of a volunteer group to take on the challenge of restoring the woodland into a more welcoming and secure place to find an escape from day to day life. The woodland is used by dog walkers and is also part of the Kirklees Way.

The woodland is already used by cyclists with several unofficial trails and a bridleway that cuts through the centre of the site. The Friends Of Caulms Wood invited Ride Kirklees to assess the feasibility of introducing official bike trails into the woods with the intention of creating a recreational venue close to the centre of Dewsbury. Ride Kirklees have since then held a meeting on site with local riders and the chairman of Singletraction – a volunteer trail building group who are responsible for developing and building bike trails including the Devils Toenail in Wetherby.

With the elevation of the site and the features that have been left from past quarrying, the site would make a challenging red graded route, with black graded options. By developing an official trail in the woods, we would be able to encourage off road cyclists to stay away from the Kirklees Way footpath that is currently being resurfaced. It would also help to reduce conflict between user groups, for example dog walkers, horse riders and cyclists.

Below is the phase one suggested route that was planned during a site visit by Ride Kirklees.

The above route would start and finish at the Cliffe street carpark, which would allow for people to drive to the venue and ride from a fixed point. However, with the Dewsbury local plan, this car park may be subject to housing development, in which case an alternative would be sought. The route was planned so as not to interfere with existing official rights of way, however there are a number of desire lines that have been created over the years by walkers and cyclists. Where possible, the cycle route would avoid these desire lines and create a new trail. We’ve suggested some of the desire lines become official walking routes to further reduce any conflict between user groups.

There have been discussions relating to how much space could be used to build this facility. From discussions with local riders there is a large amount of green space North of Caulms Wood, locally known as Nursery woods, with access from High Street in Hanging Heaton. If possible, it would be ideal if the proposed trail could utilize this space further by extending the trail.

Longer term there is a potential second phase, developing a trail that utilises the space between Caulms wood and Hanging Heaton (Nursery woods). This would mean that access to the trail can be from several different access points, enabling more use of the facility. At the moment this is just a possibility as amongst other things it requires permissions from a different landowner.

The above map shows phase one highlighted in red and the possible phase 2 highlighted in blue. There would still be a need for official access from the Hanging Heaton side using the existing paths.

After the Friends of Caulms wood carried out some scrub clearance recently, an area was identified to create a kids track. This will probably be a fairly simple pump track with rollers and table tops, and will be pretty small in order to enable kids to learn to ride. The designs have been submitted and a consultation is in progress to choose the design we will build.

4. Park Mill Colliery, Clayton West

Park Mill bike track was first launched in 2009 but has since fallen into disrepair for a number of reasons. A group of residents spoke to Councilors Graham Turner and Will Simpson in 2019 about youth provision in the area. It was suggested that the bike track could be revamped to create a facility for off road cycling.

The Park Mill Bike Track group met with a trail building company but the cost of a commercially built trail is prohibitive so are looking to create a volunteer-built track. Work has begun with the clearing of the original track, and we are hoping that this winter will offer the opportunity to start the resurfacing and shaping of the track.

When the original track is made fit for purpose, there are plans to develop a short red route around the site. This will complement the existing dirt jumps and the redeveloped track.

This project came about because in recent months, local trail builders built unsanctioned timber ramps into the dirt jump line, which although are well constructed, could create issues due to the extreme nature of the ramps. Ride Kirklees was  approached by Kirklees Council to assist on developing the site which will help to create a network of off-road cycling facilities in the area.

5. Fixby Woods

Hopefully everyone’s aware of this already from the discussions on the RK Facebook page.  There’s been a lot of good discussion with the Council to resolve the complaints about riding/digging in Fixby Woods. The main take away is they are positive about the future of mtb in Fixby on the back of our proposal however that means there’s a load of remedial work required. As most riders won’t be aware there’s a problem, we’ve been allowed to put signs up around the woods to help increase awareness and get more riders on board with the solution. First dig day is 10am Sunday 13th Sept, look out for more on the RK Facebook page. That’s just the briefest summary, the full detail is on our website:


Fixby Woods Update

The Problem

Although Fixby Woods(Upper Fell Greave) has been ridden for years, in the last 12 months there’s been a shedload of inappropriate building and a lot of locals have properly kicked off about it. There’s been hundreds of hours of building effort put in which is commendable, just some of it’s not been thought through too well, and some could have been built better. Had the building been at the edge of a big woods, it probably would go unnoticed but these trails smash through the middle of a small busy suburban wood.  If the enthusiasm and effort of the diggers can be channelled a bit better, it will help create a long term future for mtb in Fixby.

The trail building has also collided with the perfect storm of other issues kicking off at the same time: increased Covid exercisers, increased littering, grafitti, dog mess, fires and motorbike riding. Due to the number of complaints the council have to act so we’re trying to be proactive in order for biking to continue in the woods. The council don’t blame us for the other stuff however biking is the vast majority of the complaints. The council has a number of worry beads about biking – they have to keep all user groups happy which is fair enough; they need to keep things as safe as possible for everyone; their liability for injuries; the poor quality of digging and damage to the ancient woodland amongst others.

That ancient woodland point could have knocked riding on the head straight away – some of the borrow pits impinge on tree roots; no building should go above the ground level by the trunks (some berms back up onto trees) and whoever carved the direction arrows into the tree trunks wants their head testing. If we build stuff it’s got to be considerate of the ancient woodland e.g the borrow pits should be blended in, not just left as stark holes left dug out. No feature should have wood in it e.g. the gap jump fell apart because it was packed with logs.

One complaint that was knocked back was that trees are being cut down to build the bike stuff. The council agreed with us that that’s not happened, it’s making use of the felled trees that have been left there. However they’re left there to form habitats so that critters (obviously I’m no entomologist) and stuff can thrive on the dead wood.

The solution – well it’s a work in progress.

The first good news point is that as soon as the complaints became significant, the Council organised a meeting to discuss resolving the issues and Ride Kirklees were asked to attend. Looks like our approach to advocacy is working.

We’ve had a few meetings with the Council and thumbs up to the council, they’ve been very positive with our approach. We submitted a proposal to keep the two lines through Fixby – the bombholes, and the newer jumps line. There’ll need to be some changes but most of the features will remain. We’ve been dealing with council folk from numerous departments (asset management; forestry; insurance; Rights of Way; parks; admin and I can’t remember who else). They’ve all been very positive……..well 99.9% positive – as non mtbers they went a bit grey at the sight of the shonky gap jump. That said they’re not on about sanitising it – the gaps may go (yet to be decided) but the length of the jumps is not a problem. One principle is that the line should be rollable so a rider of any ability can ride it (this is a multi user woods, not a bike park), however a 3.5m tabletop is rollable.

Going forwards:

  • There a load of remedial work that we’re allowed to undertake e.g
    • the kicker over the bridleway has to go (you just can’t have a jump over a Public Right Of Way)
    • blending all the dig pits in
    • filling in any dig pits that impinge on tree roots
    • removing wood from any features (if anyone can explain why layering branches on the top of berms is meant to be a good idea, I’m intrigued)
    • ensuring berms aren’t built against trees
    • the oddly out of place loggy gap jump creation at the top of the bombholes will be removed along with the “berm” next to it. Cutting a “berm” into a flat surface just creates a berm shaped pond.
    • A lot of it is aesthetic improvements, but the aim is to get the digging to blend into the forest again, rather than being an ugly scar.
    • We’ll sort an RK Dig Day to start the ball rolling, just Covid and my knackered ribs might delay it a bit.
  • Some local riders have already been in touch to ask what they can do to help out. We met up to go through the problems/solutions – it’s all about spreading the message. There’s loads of riders use the woods, we need to get them involved in solving the problem hence the signs….
  • The Council gave us the nod to put signs up in the woods to try to stop any new digging and for the diggers to get in touch with us. As it stands there’s a large number of riders using the woods and a lot of them will have no idea there’s a problem. The signs’ll help with that however if everyone can spread the word too.
  • If you’re wondering about the inner tubes on the tree mounted signs. We’re not allowed to use nails or screws into the trees. We needed to use something that will grow with the tree (they’re not going to be up for that long!) hence inner tubes.
  • The jump line won’t be touched for the short term. They need a lot of work but we need to be accredited by the council before we can work on those. There has to be a rollable line so that anyone can ride it. This doesn’t sanitise it, the jump length can remain (as may some gap jumps) but the quality of the jump build needs to improve hugely. If you want an idea of the quality, head over to Wellholme Park Jumps line.
  • There’s work needed to improve the safety for all users of the woods e.g.  improved sight lines; a separation at the end of the new jump line to keep walkers/riders apart (currently the jump line and a footpath merge).
  • There’s still a way to go for full approval. I think we’ve met people from 7 departments so far, who are then going to be working with the local councillor to address the complaints however it feels like we’re currently in a good position.
  • There’s still the sticky issue with some of the locals. The folk in the council we’re dealing with are in discussion with the Fixby councillor; we’re involved with the Friends Of Fixby group and have kept them appraised with what we’re doing. I’d say there’s a way to go yet but we’re using the right channels to resolve it. That said there’s also locals who’ve voiced their approval that we’re doing something that the local kids can use. Whilst we’ve been there it’s been good to see a fair few kids riding the bombholes line, though a few more helmets would be better.
  • Medium term it potentially becomes a 12 month trial. If we can make the changes, keep any unauthorised building in check, keep it maintained to the agreed quality, then we’ve proven a rider developed/ maintained/ policed solution is viable. This may lead to the lines becoming more official, with signage but that’s a future discussion.

A long way to go but we’ve made some great progress in the few months since it all kicked off. Even more so considering the ultimate sanction could have been everything getting flattened.

Getting the water flowing

Last year we started carrying out a lot of bridleway maintenance, and have a team of really enthusiastic riders, walkers and horse riders willing to give up some time to clear drains, dig holes and cut back overgrown vegetation. We all seemed to get the bug, and planned monthly dig days, which saw a lot of work getting done to protect and enhance our trails. Then Coronavirus hit us and quite rightly everything stopped. Our trail maintenance programme has been suspended for now, but I thought I’d share a bit of positive news about what we have achieved so far….

Wessenden Bridleway.

This iconic route in the Colne valley was chosen as our first project because of the large number of users – mtb, horse riders, walkers, fell runners etc. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular bridleways around, and it made sense to tackle it and show what we can do.

The whole bridleway is about 3 miles long from top to bottom, with a wide track at either end. The middle section is narrower and has a number of ‘features’ that make it fun and challenging at the same time. It was this section that was in need of some TLC, as there were a number of large puddles leading to the trail widening and erosion of the moor. The drainage was simply not working due to the lack of maintenance over a number of years.

Our aim on this bridleway was to get the drains working as they were designed originally. Over 4 sessions (a total of 60 volunteer hours) we have significantly reduced the standing water on the trail. This was done by re-instating the hill side water gully, finding the culverts and clearing the cross drains.

Last time I rode it, there was still a few puddles that needed a quick ‘kick’ to get the water flowing again but on the whole, it is running fast and fun (even after all the rain we had). A few places need some aggregate to re adjust the levels, we’ll complete this in summer.

Next up….Meltham Cop (Dunnock Road).

With Wessenden running well, we decided to let it settle to monitor how effective our efforts have been and move on to a more challenging trail – Meltham Cop and the lakes that are there all year.

If you are not aware of this bridleway, the Cop is a very distinctive hill above Meltham, close to Blackmoorfoot reservoir. The bridleway skirts around the hill and is renowned for having rotor deep, track wide puddles at any given time, and after the torrential rain throughout February it was like riding through lakes.


There is evidence of some maintenance, but it appears that drainage wasn’t taken into consideration. It was over to us to find the drains and culverts and get the water flowing away from the trail. As well as making it a more pleasant ride, it’ll reduce the amount of erosion caused by users avoiding the puddles and walking/riding off the track.


The first (and only) session so far has been a great success with about 70% of the puddles 85177959_10163090110820252_7886965943065116672_ndraining away from the trail. It still needs a load of work as the first session was done to clear the puddles so we could take a better look at what needs doing. There are definitely some culverts in situ – our culvert finder Austin exposed one that took a huge amount of water away quickly!! Now that the majority of the water has got somewhere to go, we can dig around to expose the other culverts and get them back in operation.



Lee digging out a drainage ditch on one of the larger puddles.

The above photos show one of the ‘lakes’ before and after the first session. This was one of the smaller puddles on the trail, and as you can see we’ve not completely got rid of the water. We have, however reduced it, and with some drier weather this section should become fun and flowing (and faster!!)

Our second and third sessions were planned for the end of March – one Friday session and a Saturday session but due to the nightmare that is Coronavirus, they were cancelled. As soon as we get the all clear, we will get some more dates organised to crack on with Dunnock road.

In the meantime, if you’re out on your daily exercise, and you find a trail that could do with some TLC, please email ridekirklees@hotmail.com and we can look into it. We have proposals completed and submitted for another three bridleways, and one in the process in Cleckheaton. We need you, as local riders to give us a heads up about your trails, so we can sort them out (you can join in, everyone’s welcome). Don’t worry though, we are NOT looking to sanitise them, just sympathetic maintenance to prevent them getting to a state where they need a full resurface.

Stay safe, and ride sensibly…..

Lets get digging….



Not to bring politics into mountain biking but we are in a time of austerity. Councils are strapped for cash, and services they offer are under pressure, and this can be seen every time we head out for a ride (especially in summer). Lets face it, bridleway maintenance is not high on the priority list of work to be done for our councils, especially when they only employ a handful of people to look after all the rights of way.

This summer it was pretty evident that rights of way were not being well managed – I can’t count the times I got home covered in nettle stings and bramble cuts from overgrown vegetation, or couldn’t find the actual trail under the sea of bracken. Then when the rains came – the amount of standing water, or rivers flowing along the tracks was immense.

These two bridleways were photographed at the height of summer. The first is possibly one of the most popular trails in Kirklees – The Wessenden Bridleway, a great fast flowing ride, with great views and a load of bracken covering most of the actual trail. The second photo is one of the lakes on Dunnock Road (Meltham Cop), which is almost rotor deep all year round.

Generally speaking the issues don’t really effect mountain bikers in the short term – we regularly ride through puddles and slop, and blast past bracken and brambles without any real issues. In the longer term standing water leads to increased erosion and degradation of the trail, hence greater future repair costs. Also these problems can cause issues to other users.

The main issue is erosion which causes the majority of damage to a bridleway. A lot of user groups will try and avoid puddles if possible, and this generally means walking or riding around the water. If enough people20190810_130948 do this, a new ‘desire line’ is created, causing damage to the surrounding landscape and widening the trail. Water is most definitely the main cause of damage to bridleways, either directly to the path surface through erosion or by forcing users to avoid it. You can see in the picture how the trail has been widened by people avoiding the puddle.

To some people, this may not seem like an issue, but fast forward a few years and the powers that be will have to resurface this fun, challenging trail. Are they going to think about it from a mountain bikers perspective, or look for an easy, low maintenance and durable fix? Chances are a load of crushed stone spread along the bridleway and compacted down (as has already been seen by other councils).

A prime example of where this has happened is the Packhorse Trail in Marsden, where parts of the bottom section have been resurfaced (using flags and stone pitching), but from a mountain bikers point of view, there was nothing wrong with it!!!

As an advocacy group, we want to help put something back, and look after our trails so we can continue riding them, and preserve the character of them for future riders. We have started looking at the condition of some of our local trails, and how we can help protect them. So far we have surveyed and written proposals for 5 sites in the West of Kirklees, and are looking for other members of the group to submit trails from their local areas so we can generate a definitive list.

The bridleways we know about so far are:

  1. Wessenden bridleway.
  2. Blackmoorfoot reservoir.
  3. Dunnock Road (Meltham Cop).
  4. Causeway (Pole Moor)
  5. The Packhorse Trail in Marsden.


1. Wessenden Bridleway.


Blocked cross drain

Possibly one of the most popular trails in the area as it joins up to so many different routes. Although there’s nothing seriously wrong with the bridleway, it’s ideal for preventative maintenance.

There are several areas where the side drains are blocked and water is leaching onto the trail and has started to cause erosion. Also most of the existing cross drains are blocked so they’re no longer channeling water off the trail.

This situation is only going to get worse so it’s best to solve the problems now.  We’ve already had a couple of sessions here, and the improvement is fantastic.

The pictures below show the reintroduction of the drainage channel. From the picture on the left it’s hard to believe there is one. Previously it was blocked and the standing water in it was leaching onto the trail. We’ve uncovered and emptied it so it’s now free flowing with water, and the trail is much drier. This has helped remove the pooling of water in dips in the trail which were beginning to erode.

2. Blackmoorfoot Reservoir


The plan is to improve the bridleway between Reservoir Side road and Harrison Lane for all users. This small bridleway has a reasonable number of users due to it’s proximity to Blackmoorfoot Reservoir.

The aim is to reinstate existing drainage and improve drainage onto the moor. There was also problems with overhanging vegetation but these were resolved by Kirklees Bridleways Group.

The existing cross drains are silted and the flow off channels onto the moors are blocked. This is causing water to flow down the bridleway, increasing erosion hence clearing them will resolve the issue.

3. Meltham Cop (Dunnock Road)

This is a well used bridleway that’s suffering badly from standing water. There’s existing cross drains and side drainage channels that are all badly blocked. This is causing standing water to cover the trail, and people are either creating path creep to the side, or using stone from the dry stone walls to try to create stepping stones through the puddles. These photos were taken in summer show the impact of the problem.

The aim is to reinstate all the cross drains, and clear the drainage onto the fields below. This will remove the standing water and people will use the main trail again. The dry stone wall can be reinstated and next summer’s growth will cover the path creep.

4. Causeway

Causeway and the bridleways over Worts Hill near Pole Moor provide a multitude of problems. The first being that despite the marking on the OS map, Causeway isn’t actually a right of way so getting permission might take longer.

Causeway – There’s a side drain that runs beside the trail that’s mostly blocked (with Himalayan Balsam). This is causing significant amounts of water to chanel straight down the path, to such an extent that the householder at the bottom hasn’t fashioned dams to stop their drive flooding.

Worts Hill – There’s huge amounts of standing water caused by the lack of cross drainage from the farm track. The sheer size of the puddles and lack of drainage may mean a huge amount of work, and possibly machinery to sort this one out, as well as loads of aggregate. The plan on this one is to attempt to create some drainage, but will require some extra input from the landowner and the council!!

5. The Packhorse Trail.


Most riders in Kirklees know of the Packhorse Trail in Marsden. Probably one of the best and longest descents in the area. It runs from the A640 above Marsden Moor down to the Easter gate bridge. It has recently seen the National Trust carry out some stone pitching and flagging on the bottom section – the final descent to the bridge.

The fear is that without intervention from us, the pitching and flagging will continue along the whole trail. There are already a couple of sections in the in the middle of the trail that have been flagged across boggy areas and the unstoppable project to sanitise the bottom section is underway. The top section (pictured) is becoming heavily rutted through water damage. We have put together a proposal to clear out the existing cross drains and landscape the ruts to create a flowing line that should keep users on the original line of the bridleway. The idea is that any water will be diverted off the trail and onto the moor. This in turn will help to re-wet the area and protect against wildfires and encourage growth of sphagnum moss and other moorland species. It will also help to prevent more ‘desire lines’ so the bridleway doesn’t become a wide track across the landscape, but will be more ‘singletrack’.

How can you help?

We have now been granted permission to work on the four of the sites (as noted Caiseway will take longer). We’ve completed 3 maintenace session on Wessenden, clearing a huge length of drainage ditch and drastically reducing the amount of water on the main trail. We have another day planned on the 25th of January, which should mean the first section is complete and we can head further up the hill at a later date.

We are planning on holding a monthly dig day (the third Saturday of the month) so we can develop the trail network and show that us mountain bikers are willing to put something back. We have got permission to begin work on the bridleway between Reservoir side road and Harrison lane (Blackmoorfoot res) and Meltham cop, so the February dig may well be on one of those – keep an eye on Facebook for the dates!!

It’s not only about bridleways though, there is some potential to do some official trail building at a couple of locations as and when we can get permission. So if you’re more into your downhill and playing out in the woods, there hopefully will be a chance for you to get the shovels out. Happy digging!

AGM 2019

It’s a bit late, but sometimes life (and bikes) get in the way!!!

The annual general meeting of 2019 was held on the 28th of November at the Navigation Tavern in Mirfield. Its a great wee venue, where we had a function room to ourselves, and is pretty much central to the whole of Kirklees, so becomes accessible for all group members. It was attended by 10 group members, who took part in a number of discussions about the direction and projects that we are involved in.

The first point on the agenda was the dull, but necessary bit for the constitution where we need to appoint/elect a chair, treasurer and secretary. Myself (Gordon McMinn), Mal Gibb and Liam Raby were proposed and seconded by the attendees and will remain in position for another year. There are also committee positions available to group members who would like to get more involved, and if you would like to put yourself forward please get in touch with a current committee member, listed below:

Ride Kirklees Committee:

Chair: Gordon McMinn. Treasurer: Mal Gibb. Secretary: Liam Raby.

Committee: Rik Legge, Andy Bampton, Bob Hedley, Chris Hull, James Smith, Mat Melia.

After all the formalities, it was on to the real stuff we wanted to chat about –

What have we done as a group? 

The main discussion revolved around the big projects, with the first being the national Be Nice Say Hi campaign. When RK first started, the campaign had already started to gain some momentum through Ride Sheffield, PDMTB and other advocacy groups as well as Cycling UK and The British Horse Society. We were able to secure funding from Kirklees Sports and Physical Activity team to get 250 signs printed up with the plan to distribute them across the popular bridleways in Kirklees.received_390414671715234

The signs arrived in time for the opening of Oakwell, and were put up around the entrances to the Park on day 1. From there they have started spreading around the Colne and Holme valleys and Mirfield. We really need to get more of these signs out around the trails group members ride, so we are asking people from other areas to get in touch, so we can send signs and screws out and get the message out there.

Oakwell Hall MTB.

The big success story of 2019 has to be the opening of the Oakwell Hall trail. It was a great event, on a beautiful day with bikes, beer, music and fun. The trail has cost around 90k to build, has used over 200 volunteer hours, been embraced by mountain bikers and local park users, featured in MBR and came 2nd in the MBR Trail Of The Year – no mean feet for a small group of riders.

The event itself went off pretty smooth, with no major issues. Everyone seemed to have a great time, from riders and vendors to members of the public wanting to see what was going on. It was a fantastic day, though we learnt a few things that can be improved for next year. The day attracted over 500 people, with 60 riders entering the time trial race. The feedback from stall holders was great, and they have all expressed an interest in attending any more we do.

The plan now is to hold a yearly event to celebrate the trail and all things MTB. We are hoping to make each event bigger and better every time, and welcome ideas from group members to help us achieve this – so if you have any ideas, let us know.

Bridleway maintenance.

One of the main aims of RK is to help improve access for riders around Kirklees. Most of you will know that the network of trails isn’t amazing (although we do have some amazing trails). A lot of the bridleways are beginning to show signs of wear and tear, and there is always a strong chance that if not maintained sympathetically, these routes will be sanitized by the powers that be.

We have written proposals for the maintenance of a number of bridleways that although are great to ride at the moment, have issues that if left unchecked could ruin a great ride. We are not looking to tame any rough/fun stuff, but to create sustainable trails where we can reduce our environmental impact and give something back.

The current proposals include: The Marsden Packhorse Trail, Wessenden, Meltham Cop, Causeway (near Pole Moor) and Harrison Lane (Blackmoorfoot). Most of the work revolves around drainage, reducing the amount of standing water and erosion. All the proposals have been given the go ahead (pending site inspections).

So far, work has started on Wessenden and a good section of drain has been cleared hel20191130_104840ping keep the trail dry(ish) and preventing further erosion. In the photo, you can see the drain on the left is now clear – before this was taken it was completely overgrown with vegetation and all the run off went straight onto the trail to create a series of large puddles. Not a problem on a bike, but other users try to avoid the puddles, which then widens the trail, and ultimately could lead to it being resurfaced and it loosing its character. This bridleway will be an ongoing one due to the length of it, and we are planning to make a start on Meltham Cop, which could be done within a couple of sessions.

Project 22% – PDMTBPicture1

Peak District MTB have recently launched a new project that aims to increase the bridleway network in the Peak from 11% up to the national average of  22%. This is great news for us, as many of our ‘footpaths’ cross over into the Peak, and if they can be upgraded to bridleways, our routes can take us further. So far as a group we have submitted 9 suggestions, which equates to approximately 20km of trail. RK have spoken to Kirklees council, who are onside and open to discussion about upgrading some, if there is supporting evidence.


Earlier in the year the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team held their annual Rescue Ride to help raise funds for the sterling work they do across Kirklees (not just the Holme Valley!!) As mountain bikers, they are the team of volunteers who will be there to pick up the pieces when we come off in remote areas. As a group, we felt it was only right to support them where we can.

66594221_10162054113525252_5192532507865645056_n.jpgWe offered to publicize the ride and drum up more entries for the day, and also carry out sweeping duties to ensure all the signs were brought in and no one was left behind. It was a cracking ride out, with quite a few RK members entering, and has also led to us being involved in organizing their other MTB events.

We are helping the team to generate more interest, but also more importantly providing advice and suggestions on the route, hopefully resulting in less road, and more fun stuff. The 2020 event is on Sunday July 5th.

After helping on the Rescue Ride, we have built a pretty solid relationship with the team,64685257_3169593213114199_4522229559118004224_n and also volunteered to be casualties on some of their training days. 3 of us ventured out with the team on a wet morning to provide a scenario of 3 riders involved in some pretty serious ‘offs’. This was a great experience where we were able to get an insight into how the team operate, and what would happen if we did come a cropper out on the trails. As mountain bikers, we really need to support the Rescue teams as much as possible, as they are vital to our safety, and are volunteers, who have no support from the government, but will gladly give their time to get us packaged up and sorted out.

Ramsden Road.

A classic MTB route that is falling into disrepair and in need of a shed load of tlc. RK have signed up as a voice for mountain bikers to the Friends of Ramsden Road action group. The group was formed to work alongside the council to find a solution to the damaged road, that would suit all user groups and get the job done. FoRR is made up of representatives from 4×4 drivers, trails riders, walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers who want to ensure that the nature of the road is not lost and that access can be improved for all.

The road has deteriorated over a number of years due to water damage, and if not sorted could be downgraded to a footpath and lost to all but walkers. The group has got together to come up with a viable solution and raise funds to address the drainage and keep it open to all.

So far there has been a lot of positive discussion which is now turning to action. Bike track have been invited to cast an eye over it and provide a quote for getting the diggers in and cracking on. We can get involved in some of the hands on digging, but the main reason for getting involved is to ensure that the technical trail stays technical and isn’t sanitized.

Tubes don’t grow on trees/ Trash Free Trails.

Climate change, micro plastics and the downfall of the human race is constantly being discussed in the media these days, and even if you are a sceptic about how bad it really is, that’s no reason not to do your bit for the environment. Tubes don’t grow on trees and Trash Free Trails are 2 mountain bike specific organisations that are at the front of the movement to help protect the countryside we ride in.

The message is simple, “pick it up, ya prick” and “don’t be a tosser”. As an advocacy group, it is really important to ensure that we are seen as doing our bit and taking care of our trails. By simply timing a break on a ride where there is some litter and putting it in your pack, you are helping look after the countryside.

We encourage all of you to do this and hashtag the stuff you find of social media. The more riders are seen to be doing this, the better the public’s view of mountain bikers will be. It’s really important in more remote areas, as there are no street cleaners on’t moors – its our responsibility.

Project 2026 – Recording lost rights of way.

If you’ve not heard of project 2026, here is a quick breakdown. By the year 2026, historic rights of way that are not recorded properly could be lost forever. We have all ridden footpaths that are wide enough to drive a car down and tracks that are blatantly old packhorse trails which have ‘no bikes’ signs etc and if we don’t identify them and get them changed, they will remain that way – rights of way mountain bikers (and horse riders) have no rights to use.

A lot of these trails were missed or recorded incorrectly when the definitive map was drawn up, and now is the last chance to change them. A prime example of this is around Deerhill above Meltham. Deerhill End Road is a bridleway up to a Yorkshire water gate, after the gate it is a footpath around the reservoir and down Shooters nab (although you could drive a Landy all the way!) The gate is the boundary between what was the Meltham and Colne valley districts. When the definitive map was drawn up, Meltham parish council called it a bridleway, Colne valley a footpath, and so (officially) we shouldn’t ride there.

The Kirklees Bridleways Group are working tirelessly to change this, and are submitting applications for footpaths to be upgraded on a regular basis. We can help the Bridleways group whenever we come across a trail we feel should be a bridleway. All we need to do is let them know where it is, and send some photos. Bev and Mark will then pretty much take it from there and get the paperwork together. Its then just a case of filling out a form (takes about 10 minutes) and submitting it.

The 2 pictures above show separate footpaths, both about 2 meters wide with walls down either side. To me they looked like they should be bridleways (especially the first one with a stone carving of a packhorse!!) I took a couple of photos, noted the location and sent them onto Bev and Mark – it’s as simple as that, and it could open up new routes for us to enjoy..

Until next years….

Well there it is, a years work done, and plenty to still do. We have been really busy behind the scenes at RK, with meetings, planning, organizing and riding. There is a great little cohort of dedicated guys in the group, working away, and I would like to give my thanks to all of you who have contributed to this group. If anyone wants to get more involved, there is loads you can do – from putting out be nice signs, helping out on dig days, organizing ride outs to picking up trail side litter and identifying lost rights of way. We are always looking for more volunteers, so if you want to get more involved, please get in touch….



Annual General Meeting

The date has been set for this years AGM. It will be happening on the 28th November at a venue in Mirfield. The venue hasn’t been confirmed yet as we are waiting to get an idea of numbers.

The AGM is a chance for group members to meet up and discuss what we have achieved and what projects we are planning to carry out. It will also give members a chance to put forward their ideas for projects that they want to get involved in – the whole idea behind the group is that it is steered by the members, so we need input from you!!

The agenda for the meeting will cover a number of points that we as a constituted group need to carry out, mainly electing committee members. We will also look at :

  • The be nice say hi campaign.
  • Oakwell Hall – nearly 1 year old!
  • Bridleway maintenance projects.
  • Peak District MTB’s “project 22%”
  • Trash Free Trails.
  •  Project 2026

If you would like to join us for a beer, a chat and a chance to win in our raffle, please let us know via email/facebook/comments bellow so we can confirm the venue.