Things will never be the same again.

Today was too good a day to stay indoors. The sun was shining sporadically early in the morning and by 11 am we had clear blue skies. The rain we’ve had over the winter was hardly likely to have dried up overnight but my main intention for today’s ride was to do some hill climbing and take a look at Healey Nab. I’ve seen some pictures on Facebook of the tree cutting and wanted to see how it had affected the man made trails. An easy plan was to ride up Great Hill and return via the Nab.

I took an early off road choice and immediately found a grassy area to be very soft. I was struggling to keep going in several places and rejoined the road to White Coppice. I then followed a straightened river to Brinscall Woods and took the steep way to the top for better training. I could feel the wind behind me along the way so was unsurprised when I later found that I’d set 10 segment times which were the first, second or third fastest times I’ve ever achieved. Most of the segments were road but some were off road, my natural environment.


My Boardman FS Pro at the top of Edge Gate Lane. From here it’s gravel and rock to the summit.

The wind was blowing strongly from the west on my climb of Great Hill, as it has been on my last few rides here. At first it was blowing across but later, as the trail turns to the east, it was right behind me. It makes a usually tough climb rather easy but with soaking wet ground it was always going to be a fairly slow ride up and down. My target for this year is to beat last years time of 22 minutes and 19 seconds so today’s 29 minutes 22 seconds was a long way away. If we ever get dry weather I hope things will improve. The very wet winter is apparently not being blamed on “climate change” but simply on the strong jet stream which has constantly brought wet conditions from the Atlantic. That is, not by those who know. Television news and the popular press want non of the truth. Why ruin a good story with truth? This is also why we’ve had very little snow this winter. For that we need winds from the north or east.

I took a trail into Brinscall Woods which is showing so much promise. Today, though, it was still a stream, as it was on my last ride down. It’s difficult to pick up any speed and trust the grip when you can’t actually see the ground! After the first long section I joined the route by which I’d climbed but turned off to the right into a wooded area which I’ve hardly ever ridden. There are plenty of undiscovered trails here which I’ll enjoy getting to know in dry conditions. I then rode back to White Coppice and carried on to the back of Healey Nab. This is such a familiar ride, to me, and the climb up the back of the hill was the same as ever. When I reached the woodland, though, I couldn’t believe what lay in front of me. Utter devastation. Every larch tree was gone, replaced by multiple piles of logs about 8 feet long. The surface was then hidden by masses of broken twigs and was unrideable. I struggled to find my way towards the trail head.


Now. With an enormous tree cutting machine in the background.


Then. A paradise lost.


I think an oak tree has been ripped from the ground, here. The trail head sign is visible at the top, middle of the picture.

I tried to follow the trail down the other side of the hill but it was impossible to see. Deep tracks have also been gouged across the ground. By chance I met Scott, one of the main trail builder, with a couple of others I recognised. They’d ridden up for a look. Scott thinks that it won’t be worth trying to save the previous trails which means 12 years of work and development will be lost. I suppose the chance to start from scratch with trail building is exciting in a way but it’s going to take a long time to get back to where we were just a few weeks ago. The jump section and bottom section run through spruce and other types of tree so haven’t been touched but this is only a fraction of the whole trail. None of this will stop me riding, of course but things will never be the same again.


  1. I liked the post, but don’t like seeing those trails destroyed.


    1. kirkmtb says:

      It’s devastating. The plan is to allow nature to take over. Brambles are likely to dominate though some birch trees will also quickly spring up. We’ll just have to see what it looks like when the timber is cleared. They’ll hopefully take the twigs as well.


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