Thursday the 15th was the very 1st official Ride Kirklees meeting to discuss the aims of the group and have a chat about where we are at the moment with the development of trails and access. Although the meeting only saw 3 members able to attend, a lot was discussed – mainly an update on the blue trail at Oakwell Hall, and the meetings I’ve had with One of the Kirklees PROW officers.
Oakwell Hall blue trail.
The contract for the construction of the trail has gone out to tender. 6 companies have been invited to bid, and an expression of interest has been made by a 7th. The companies invited are:
The expression of interest has come from:
The construction companies have 4 weeks to submit their thoughts and plans, and then a panel will select most suitable design. Oakwell hall have asked if there could be some representatives from Ride Kirklees to sit on the panel -so if anyone is interested, please let me know. The panel will be meeting on Monday the 19th of March (more details will follow when I know them.)
With over 700 miles of public rights of way (only 8% bridleways I’ve been told) across Kirklees, it is a big issue for Ride Kirklees. We as mountain bikers use the trail, and inevitably cause damage. One of the ideas for the group is to put something back, and help carry out some needed maintenance on the trails we use. I called a meeting with one of the Kirklees Public Rights of Way officers to discuss how Ride Kirklees could assist with improving access. The upshot of it is that if we, as a group can get some insurance, we would be able to become a volunteer workforce, and carry out some much needed tlc on some trails.
I will be looking into how we can be insured without having to pay! The thinking is that if we go through Natural Kirklees, we may be able to get insurance, or by volunteering through the councils schemes. The trail that came up during the discussion were the bridleways around Ladywood in Mirfield (which are rotor deep in mud and sludge) and the Easter gate packhorse trail in Marsden, which is a National Trust trail.
The pack horse trail is going to have some work done on it in the near future, which some people may argue is not needed – they are planning on using stone flags along the majority of the trail to combat erosion of the moors. Although I personally love the trail as it is, I completely understand why they are wanting to do this – to improve access for all, and to conserve and protect the landscape. I have mentioned to the Trust and the ROW officer that there may be some volunteers from the group willing to lend a hand.
Other matters that have arisen relating to ROW is some of the confusing signage. Some of you may have seen my post on Facebook about the bridleway up to Deerhill, and the Yorkshire Water sign saying no access for horse riders (it doesn’t mention bikes!)
Looking on an OS map the bridleway heads up to a gate and stops. It then becomes a footpath and leads onto the Natinal Trusts moors. What is the point of the bridleway if it doesn’t actually go anywhere? In the same general area, there is a permissive bridleway past the pumping station at Meltham Mills, which is marked as a footpath on OS maps. There is a PROW forum happening soon, so I will endeavor to bring these issues up along with anymore that people know off (please let me know)
West Yorkshire Rough Riders.
Oliver Kelly has suggested posting dates and times for the WYRR social ride outs on the Facebook group. I understand they head out every Wednesday night and Saturday and ride at different venues across West Yorkshire. Find them on Facebook, or keep an eye out for posts from Oliver.
In order to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to attend any group meetings, we will look to hold the next one over towards North Kirklees. It was suggested The Flowerpot in Mirfield as they are a bike friendly pub. There’s no date for the next meeting yet, but it will be advertised on the Facebook group in due course.
Thanks to Oliver Kelly and Mal Gibb for joining me for a few beers at Magic rock. Apologies came from Nigel Addy and James Laing.