It’s been a while…

What a summer it has been, so apologies for not updating the site, but I’ve been out on my bike!! Now that Autumn is here and winter is on it’s way, I thought it best to write an update on what’s been happening..

The first thing (and possibly the most important at the moment) is The Oakwell Hall trail. The trail is really the whole reason that Ride Kirklees was set up – to show that there is a huge mtb community that doesn’t have any purpose built facility. Well that is soon to change!! The construction of the trail is due to begin in the near future. Bike track have completed their macro design for the trail, (Oakwell Hall Macro Design – 27 7 18[2260] )and are getting ready to get onto the site and begin shifting dirt. The complete build should take around 12 weeks, but there will need to be some ground work done before they can get the machines in.

The initial ground work is going to be done by the ranger team at Oakwell, and also a gang of volunteers (as many Ride Kirklees members as possible). This will be felling trees, and clearing the way for the machines to get in. Bike track have also said that to make the trail what we want, they want to meet with the riders to make sure it’s fit for purpose – what better way than to work alongside them!!!

There are no dates set yet, but in order for us to carry out any trail work we need to be insured….

Which leads me onto the next bit of business:

The Constitution!!

In order to get insurance through Natural Kirklees, we need to be a constituted group with a chair, secretary and treasurer. An AGM has been set for the 5th of October 2018 where amongst other things we will finalize the document and appoint members to the required roles (any willing volunteers?). The venue for the meeting has yet to be confirmed, but Magic Rock seems to be the 1st choice at the moment.

Meetings, meetings, meetings…

On the point of meetings, I have recently had a brief, but interesting meeting with a representative from Kirklees Council Rights of Way. Initiated by a member of PDMTB with concerns over the Ramsden Roadramsden rd and the condition of the trail. Some repairs have been carried out to the top section to get rid of a number of “lakes” caused by 4×4’s. The plan now is to put a gate in to stop them, but allow access for riders, walkers and horses.

From this meeting, I was able to also find out about the ‘unofficial’ trails in Bluebell wood, Mirfield. I had heard rumors that the council had gone in and destroyed some trails that had been built there, but that appears to be nothing more than just rumors. In fact after someone destroyed the trails, the council tried to get local riders involved to rebuild the trails (in a suitable way). Unfortunately this never happened, but the offer is still there!! Another trail built in Kirklees by Ride Kirklees??? Lets hope so…..

Bluebells galore….


One of these wooded areas is known as Bluebell wood, and can be accessed by briddleways that crisscross around the area. There have been downhill lines built there, and when we get constituted, there is a great chance that a small trail can be resurrected by us with a bit of hard graft. I still need to get more details, and visit the area, so if there is anyone local to Mirfield who knows the woods, let me know….


And finally, remember to “be nice, say Hi”

The “be nice, say Hi’ campaign has been taken up by Cycling UK and the British Horse Society. An idea that started in the States, was then taken up by Ride Sheffield and PDMTB and then by us and other MTB groups has gone National (even featured in this months MBR) Signs have started appearing on trails across the UK – the Pennine Bridleway already has a number of signs out on the trail!! It would be great to see some of the signs appear on the trails around Kirklees, and maybe sometime soon, we can get some cash together to get signs, stickers and tee shirts printed, but for now just remember to

Be nice and say hi…..




Tubes Don’t Grow on Trees

Spring has sprung and summer is well on its way, and that means big days out on the bike, races, sportives and challenges and unfortunately a shed load of trail side litter!!!

I completed the Colne Valley Mountain Bike Challenge on a roasting hot Sunday in May. The weather was perfect and what a challenge it was, with over 200 riders completing either a 20 or 30 mile tour of the Colne Valley.

Although this is not a race, people are always charged up and ready to overtake the person in front, beat their riding buddies, or complete in under a certain time. I for one wanted sub 4 hrs (which I got!!) So it was on, with everyone jostling for space and trying to get a head of the pack.

As the pack started spreading out and the energy levels started to slide, the litter began to build as gel wrappers were tossed and jelly babies packets finished. This is when I started to get pissed off….

Not because I was hot, sweaty and blowing out my a@*e, but because I was riding in an organized event across stunning countryside with another 200+ riders and there was litter being dropped all over the place. It was as if some people thought that the organizers would be doing a litter pick after the ride, or that a wee man in a road sweeper would be bringing up the rear!!

There is a lot of animosity towards cyclists, especially from ramblers and walkers, and the mindless throwing of energy wrappers is only going to add fuel to the fire. Anyone out walking on that day would have seen all the riders and their litter and quite rightly would have formed a general opinion about mountain bikers.

Enough was enough for me…Strava times could go to hell, I began litter picking (after all it wasn’t a race) The seconds it took me to pick up some wrappers, stuff them in my pocket and set of again was negligible, and I only had to carry it to the feed station. I don’t know how many I picked up, but my pockets were full at each feed station.32235739_10160393320635252_572309189670469632_o

As an advocacy group, we need to promote good riding etiquette, from “being nice and saying Hi” to “leaving no trace”. The message is clear to me….if we want people to see us as a good user group, we need to help protect and preserve our trails, and this means keeping our wild spaces clean. There is a great campaign/group on facebook and Instagram: who are pushing hard to #binitdontflingit #pickitupyaprick

So next time your out on a ride and see some #trailsidelitter, pick it up, put it in your pocket and take it home.

Protecting rights of way

The year 2026 is a long way off, but it is a date that should be firmly fixed in the minds of mountain bikers and horse riders alike. It is the cut of date set in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (section 53) that could see a number of historic routes extinguished if they are not formally recorded as a bridleway or restricted byway (British Horse Society)

These unrecorded routes actually exist in law but have been temporarily lost to the public and are in danger of having their rights extinguished. The British Horse Society is running a campaign to safeguard them for public use so that we will continue to have safe off-road routes to ride  on. 

I recently met with the Kirklees Bridleways group (KBWG), who are championing this project in Kirklees to discuss how our group can help protect existing trails and potentially open up new routes that we ride, but are not formally recognized. The gist of the meeting was that  if mountain bikers can fill out a straightforward form and annotate a map showing the route, the KBWG will collect all the evidence and check it against the definitive map and submit the case to the powers that be.


So how can we help….

We need to check our rides against the definitive map to see if they are recorded as a PROW. To get access to the map, you would need to go to the local library, check with the council or search online. It can be a pain, but luckily in Kirklees the KBWG have a copy of the map, and will check for us!!

Below is a list of routes that the KBWG has highlighted, but there is bound to be loads more that we ride on a regular basis that are not ‘official’

Please help by downloading the forms below to assist with KBWG’s ongoing work.

Back Lane

Bagden WCA 8 claim form

Back Lane WCA 8 claim form

Bluebell Wood WCA 8 claim form

Dark Lane WCA 8 claim form

Deer Hill WCA 8 plan

Deer Hill WCA 8 claim form

Dungeon Wood Armitage Bridge

A3 Map.pdf Dungeon Wood

Holmfirth Cricket Ground WCA 8 claim form

Kirkburton 195 WCA 8 claim form

Mean Lane plan

Mean Lane Claim Form

Mirfield 83 WCA 8 claim form

Moor lane WCA 8 claim form

Moorvale WCA 8 claim form

Netherton Moor Road WCA 8 claim form

Nether Moor Farm Track wca 8 claim form

Nettleton Hill WCA 8 claim form

Pole Moor WCA 8 claim form


Royds Edge WCA 8 plan

Royds Edge WCA 8 claim form

Thong Moor, Wilshaw WCA 8 Claim Form

Thewlis Lane WCA 8 claim form

Washpit Holmfirth

Wilshaw WCA 8 Claim Form

wca8 (1).pdfWooldale Cliffe Road


A step closer to a new trail.

The Oakwell hall trail has taken another step forward, and construction of the trail is due to begin in the next few weeks (all being well) Two companies returned proposals in reply to the tender that was put out, and a meeting was held with council staff and Ride Kirklees members on the 19th of March to go through the proposals and work out which company will provide the best trail for the money available.

It was quite a hard process, as both companies put together some very strong proposals, which meant it came down to “nit-picking” over the small details. The scores that were awarded to the companies for the quality of the build will now be weighted against the cost of the construction and the contract will be awarded to whoever comes out on top.

However….Both companies submitted their bids with only a top end price, which is fine, as long as we are successful in getting extra money from Sport England. If we don’t get that funding, we won’t be able to afford either of the companies at their top end price. We have gone back to them to see if they would be able to build the trail in a 2 phase way, allowing more time to raise any extra funds. Hopefully it won’t come to that as we are pretty confident that Sport England will come through.

The construction is set to begin over the next couple of months (all being well) I’ll post any developments as soon as I find them out. In the meantime fingers crossed!!!!!

A chat over a couple of pints…


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.image

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.

Other stuff

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.

A ride out in the Colne valley

The 4th of February 2018 was a cold winters morning with snow covering the moors and hills surrounding the Colne valley – a great day for a ride out, showing the local trails to other riders from out of the area.

A 9 am start at a bakery that didn’t open till 9:30, maybe wasn’t the best plan, but it did mean we weren’t delayed in setting off. Starting with a nice warm up blast along the canal towards Marsden, was a great way to blow away the cobwebs and have a chat before the hill climbs and descents of the proper riding began. Taking the canal all the way to the Standedge visitor center, we were able to set a good pace -not slow, but not too fast and continued along the road towards the Easter gate bridge. Refusing the temptation to go off road, we continued Tarmac munching onto Manchester road, skirting around the bottom of Pule hill.

After a some slogging up the road, we finally reached Burn clough reservoir and we’re ready to head off road on a fun, snow covered descent, with drainage channels to hop over and magnificent views of Redbrook reservoir and Pule hill.


The next section to ride, was a great bit of  singletrack that Ionly discovered a few weeks earlier. Aptly named “roller coaster” on strava, this little ribbon flows of the back of Pule hill, skirting around old quarries and through muddy puddles, it’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face -even when your front end slips out and your lying in one of the afore mentioned muddy puddles!! It’s not the longest bit of singletrack, but worth it..

The route then took us over to the Wessenden valley, which is a pretty long climb up an access track, and then onto a bit of singletrack that takes you all the way to Wessenden head reservoir. If you’ve never ridden this trail, it’s a must -a lung busting, leg burning up hill, and a great fast downhill (keep an eye out for new routes coming soon that will include an amazing way to access the downhill!!)

A bit more Tarmac downhill got us to the start of the Nether lane descent. This descent starts with a heavily rutted flagged section that is great fun (as long as you pick your line well) then turns on a hairpin bend (with a big hole on the inside line).image

It’s then a fast and fun blast down the track, hopping drainage ditches and dodging loose rocks all the way to Acre lane. Back onto the Tarmac and over to the Harden hill descent towards Meltham. Another fast and fun sprint that has some technical sections towards the bottom

Some more of the black stuff took us through the village and over towards Meltham mills for more single track and a couple of small river crossings. By now the up hills were beginning to hurt, but after a pushing on it’s all downhill back to Slaithwaite and the warmth of the Shoulder of Mutton for a couple of pints then home in time for the rugby!!

A top ride with some cracking winter views, this route rides well anytime of year and in either direction. It has a mix of up’s and down’s, with a fair bit of the black stuff in between. For a more detailed description of the route we followed visit the Colne valley route 1 page.(I’ll get a map on as and when I can)

The Journey Begins

Ride Kirklees is a mountain biking advocacy group that aims to promote mountain biking in the area and improve access to the network of trails that can be found in this corner of West Yorkshire.

The group was initially set up in order to create a place for the mountain biking community to share ideas, routes and generally come together to talk about all things bike related. It started out as a Facebook group, and very quickly saw people joining and to share thoughts and find out what’s going on in the area.

In a fairly short period of time, the group has already begun to help develop trails in the area. Working alongside the ranger team at Oakwell Hall Country Park and members of the Cliffe House Outdoor Education team, some funding has been secured to begin the construction of a blue graded trail through some of the woodland on site. The trail is hopefully set to be started in the next few months, however some more funding is still to be secured to ensure that the trail is built to last and suitable for all members of the local community. Bids have been submitted to try and get the extra cash needed, so fingers crossed!!!

February is now shaping up to be a good month for Ride Kirklees, with it’s first group ride being organised for Sunday the 4thof February. The ride will start from Slaithwaite in the Colne valley and head out into the moors and hills around Meltham and Marsden, before heading to the pub for a pint. The group are also having it’s first meeting to discuss the direction the group is heading and so that members can get a chance to meet each other of a pint or 3. It’s looking like the date for the meeting will be on Thursday 15th of February at the Magic Rock Taphouse in Huddersfield.

Meetings are also being arranged with landowners and the councils Public Rights of Way officer to discuss how Ride Kirklees can help improve access for riders. The hope is that ‘dig days’ can be organised so riders can help to repair the trails to make them better for riding. There is a lot to do, but for now, at least we have made a start..