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New MTB trails at Beecraigs Country Park

Ian Warby's picture
Beecraigs is a small country park with big potential. Mountain bikers have been using the park for many years, so it was inevitable that a time would come when some upgrades and maintenance to the existing network of trails would be required - so they called in CTC's Ian Warby.
Beecraigs Volunteers
Beecraigs Volunteers

Located in Scotland’s central belt between Edinburgh and Glasgow,  Beecraigs is a small country park with big potential. The park has recently been awarded some funding from the Criminal Justice Service, this money will help improve the facilities and offer an enhanced experience for all park visitors.

The funding will allow the park to buy materials and tools, however the small budget would only go so far on its own, by partnering with CTC we will help them maximise the trail metres and get the most out of the landscape. 

After a site visit and consultation with the head ranger Tracey Smith, CTC MTB's Clive Forth concluded the project should be split into two main phases:

  • Phase one will focus on upgrading the existing trails to fall in grade, the main loop here will be a figure 8 comprising of an East and West loop. It will be graded with Red with Black option lines.
  • Phase two will see the creation of additional Green and Blue loops.

We have invited local riders to get involved, this is after all there home turf and we wouldn’t want to upset or displace the core riders by building something that was either beyond there capabilities or uninviting and boring to ride.

After a successful public consultation, our first volunteer day saw over 20 people, all keen to get dirty cutting trails. 

In the classroom

Clive Forth is passionate about the environment he works in and there is a strong emphasis on education at CTC, so volunteers spent their first evening in the classroom dissecting the intricacies of being a trail designer and builder, going through the motions of what it takes to plan and build a robust enjoyable trail that is within a desired grade and sits within the landscape. 

Clive and the team are trying to achieve more than just a great trail here, they want to educate the local riders to work in partnership with the Local Authority and be part of the ongoing works of designing, building, maintaining and inspecting trails in the park.

This opportunity has given CTC a great chance to test some of the material Ian Warby has been working on with Forestry Commission (FC) and Developing Mountain Biking Scotland (DMinS).

Planning an amazing trail

With the classroom work done our next session was all about choosing suitable areas to build and getting into the detailed work of planning a route, following the initial flagging of a line.

Volunteers have been busy clearing the corridors for the local riders to then get in and start cutting a chassis for the trail. Wet areas have been drained and armoured with stone, trees have been de-spurred and vegetation cleared to open up sight lines and improve safety in key areas.

The enthusiastic staff at Beecraigs have been busy clearing windblown trees and the Western loop is taking shape. Next up we will be installing sections of boardwalk to pass over the wettest sections and it won’t be long before the signage starts and they can get on there bikes and enjoy the fruits of there labour. 

As work continues its Clive's job to keep tabs on progress and offer advice where needed, planning work has started on the Eastern loop and the Green and Blue trails will be started in the coming months.

I’m looking forward to my next visit to Beecraigs where there is always a warm welcome from both the staff and eager locals. Keep up the good work folks, see you soon.

Clive Forth
MTB Skills

If you would like to get involved in trail building at Beecraigs you can sign up to the friends of Beecraigs on Facebook, here you will find dates and details on meetings. Alternatively drop me a line at clive@mtbskills.co.uk

CTC is also engaged in other volunteer based projects, you can find out more information by emailing ian.warby@ctc.org.uk

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