Wessenden Trail Maintenance

The great news is that we’ve got approval to work on the Wessenden bridleway.  We’re planning two sessions, 9am-11am on the 16th and 30th November, followed by a ride if we’re not knackered.

The works are all reasonably simple.

  1. Reinstate existing drainage.
  2. Improve drainage from the trail onto the moor.
  3. Cut back vegetation

No heavy equipment will be needed, just shovels and mattocks that Ride Kirklees will provide.

Proposed area of maintenance

wessy

The area we’re going to work on starts just above the Wessenden deer farm. We’ll meet at Binn Lane/Binn Road junction, have a quick safety briefing, then we’ll make our way up to the deer farm to start.

  • Reinstate existing drainage.

There are several existing cross drains on the trail however they have all silted up through lack of maintenance. These will be reinstated to improve the drainage using the existing features. 

Photo 2.1 Existing cross drains

There’s also a side drain that runs down the west side of the majority of the trail. Although it takes water from the moor, there’s no drainage channels from the main trail into it hence small side cuts could drain the surface water from the trail into the existing side drain. We’ll clear the side drain where needed. Any materials cleared from the drain need to be placed neatly in a row about 3-4 feet on the opposite side of the trail. This ensures the waste material looks like it’s been treated professionally and will soon be enveloped by the ferns.

20190811_152747.jpg

Photo 2.1 Existing side drains (to the left of the trail in the picture)

  • Improve drainage from the trail onto the moor.

Although the original drainage will be reinstated, it’s not sufficient for the narrow trail. Climate change has introduced much heavier, short bursts of significant rainfall. These have a far greater impact on trail erosion than users as it sluices down the existing trails, creating the deep channels. One solution is to create 10cm channels from the trail onto the moor to the right. This drains the main flow of water off the trail onto the moor, reducing the water erosion. 

Photo 2.2. Additional drainage channels to the right.

These channels silt up (much like the existing drainage) however encouraging riders to “Kick A Drain” will help keep these drainage channels clear.

  • Cut back vegetation.

This could be academic by the time we do the work however currently there’s several points on the trail that are being impinged by ferns, and they need cutting back.

20190811_151752.jpg

          Photo 2.3 Overgrowing vegetation

There is a fair bit of work to be done in order to get this bridleway into a state where it’s easy to maintain and provides a year round fun ride. The aim is to carry out the work on this bridleway so that it’s character is kept and further erosion can be limited. As mountain bikers, we have a responsibility to help protect and conserve the trails we ride and the surrounding landscape.

This is the first of many bridleways we want to work on, with the hope that by doing so we can improve our access rights across Kirklees. The more bodies we can get on site, the more work we can get done. This helps show other trail users that we are not just about bombing downhills as fast as possible to catch Strava times, but we are considerate trail users putting something back, and improving access for all.

If your free from 9am-11am on the 16th and 30th November, bring some snacks and a flask of tea and join us for a bit of digging and lots of craic to improve this great bridleway.

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