History of Ride Kirklees

Annual General Meeting 2018.

The first AGM for the group was held at Magic Rock Tap House on Friday the 5th October. On the agenda was a total of 8 points that will help shape the future of the group.

Present at the meeting were: Gordon McMinn, Liam Raby, Mal Gibb, Jason Budd, Bob Headley, Matthew Schofield and Mark and Bev Corrigan. Apologies were sent by Nigel Addy, Rik Legge and Chris Coburn-Hall.

Constitution.

The main point of discussion was the constitution and the setting up of the management committee.  At the moment the committee is made up of: Gordon McMinn (chair), Liam Raby (secretary), Mal Gibb (treasurer) Bob Headley, Rik Legge, Chris Hull and Mat Melia. There is only a need for 3 “official” posts, who will be elected each year. Other members are welcome to be part of the committee and will help steer/drive the group forward. It was agreed that the constitution is appropriate for the group at the moment, but there should be scope to amend it if needed. If any amendments were needed, it would be done through another meeting and the committee would make any changes.

Oakwell Hall.

Bike track have now moved onto site and set up their compound. The friends of Oakwell and the regular Thursday volunteers have already made a start on the clearance work required for Bike track to get going with the trail. There is a lot of tree felling and clearance work to be done, so trail days will be organized. The regular volunteers meet every Thursday at 9am and will be focusing on the trail Ride Kirklees will organize weekend days as and when possible. Although all the trees and fences that are to be removed have been marked, please don’t go in to do work on your own, as you wouldn’t be insured. It is also really important not to ride the trail until Bike Track have completed the trail, as this will have a drastic knock on effect on the construction of the trail. The completion date is around th12th December, and an event will be held to officially open it. The December event will be pretty small, with the idea of a larger event in spring.

Be Nice, Say Hi.

This is now a national campaign, and we are going to be looking to push this through the group. It’s one thing to do it (as I’m sure we all do) but we would like to see if we can get some signposts put up on bridleways in Kirklees. We will look to see if there is any funding available that we can apply for to get signs made and begin putting them up. There is already some being put on the Pennine Bridleway which does come into Kirklees, so hopefully we can find some cash to add to this.

Rights of Way.

Following a meeting with a representative from Kirklees Council, it would appear that there is potential to carry out some work on Bluebell Woods in Mirfield and develop a small trail. There is currently some unofficial trails there, but they could become official if we, as a group are willing to take on some of the responsibility for maintaining them. Everyone at the meeting agrees this could be an appropriate project, so this will be followed up in due course.

The meeting with Kirklees and potential funding streams for bike parks and trails also brought about the idea of creating a waymarked circular ‘off road’ loop of the area. If this comes about the idea would be for a 70-80 mile loop that could be tackled as a full day epic/bike packing trip, or broken down into several day rides. It is now up to Ride Kirklees to begin planning the routes, taking in the best ascents/descents in the area and joining them up. This could mean that some footpaths may be changed to bridleways in order to create it. If anyone fancies having ago at planning the route, then please do – this would mean that the best places to ride get included!!

Restoring the Record.

Mark and Bev from the Kirklees Bridleways Group were present at the meeting to help explain how we can assist them in highlighting trails that we all ride that should be considered bridleways, but are marked as footpaths. As 2026 approaches, the need to gather evidence from user groups is essential. The process is pretty straightforward – if you ride a trail that you think may have been a bridleway of byway, but has been signed as a footpath or blocked by a landowner, check the bridleways group website to see if it is one that they are aware of, fill in an evidence form and return it to them – they will collate all the info and do the rest. If it’s not on the website, let them know and they can look into it further. Kirklees has around 5% of bridleways, the average is 16%, so lets get behind them to bump up the average!!

Willykay Clough in Marsden.

Possibly one of the best and longest descents in Kirklees (if you’ve not ridden it, you really need to) Owned and managed by the National Trust Marsden Moor Estate, there has been rumors about the whole trail being flagged. After some emails with the Trust and conversations with Kirklees Council, it would appear that this is not the plan, but some flags will be put in place to help prevent damage to the surrounding landscape. We are hoping to speak directly to the Trust to ensure that the trail is still going to be a brilliant one to ride, and also offer to get involved in any trail maintenance. Hopefully further meetings can be sorted to put our thoughts across to the Trust and work in partnership with them to keep the flow of the trail.

Yorkshire MTB Alliance.

We have been invited to become part of the Yorkshire MTB Alliance –  a new group made up of representatives from all the advocacy groups in Yorkshire. The group is the brainchild of Ride Sheffields John Horsecroft and aims to get us all working together to link up our areas and make Yorkshire an even better area to play out on bikes. The first meeting has been set up, so the outcomes of this will be posted soon.

Other Business.

Concerns were raised around membership and insurance that will be required to carry out trail maintenance days. At the moment there is no plan to pay for any membership, as this will potentially have an adverse effect on the group and its ethos. It will probably be that when members attend a maintenance day they will be asked to fill in a volunteer form and sign up for being a Ride Kirklees Volunteer.

Advertising of the group was also discussed, and it was noticed that there is a lack of advertising in bike shops in the area. The only way to hear about the group is through social media, word of mouth and the website. Posters will soon be designed to distribute to LBS and promote the group.

We also discussed looking into other areas to develop trails. Dalton bank and Deffer woods were mentioned, and I’ll bring them up at the next meeting with the Council. Are there any other trails that people would want to develop?

 

 

How it all came about…

Ride Kirklees was set up on the 21st of October 2017 to give a voice within the local community and represent mountain bikers from the area.

Kirklees has a mass of public rights of way that wind their way up and down the hills and across the moors that surround Huddersfield and Dewsbury and feed into Calderdale, The Peak District, Leeds, Wakefield and Lancashire. There are hundreds of riders living and visiting this amazing area to sample the delights of West Yorkshire riding.

Being so close to the Peak District, and seeing the work that Ride Sheffield have done to improve and promote the positive impact of mountain biking, and with the development of Ride Calderdale, it seemed logical to set up a similar group in Kirklees.

At the time of setting up Ride Kirklees, discussions with Oakwell Hall had begun to look at the potential of developing the very first official purpose built trail in the area – Ride Kirklees now had its first project to get involved in! We’re now involved in deciding on the layout, direction and features of the trail, and probably also some of the construction, so keep an eye out for dig days on the Events page