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Ride the Peak is a group of mountain bikers, from a variety of riding types and backgrounds, who are interested in maintaining and enhancing mountain biking in the Peak District.
Irwin, Shane and myself (Jeff) are part of Ride the Peak’s track maintenance group, which has previously undertaken small maintenance jobs on bridleways, mainly involving improving drainage (eg Aston Bridleway, Derwent Edge & Hollins Cross to Greenlands). More recently the group took on a larger job, doing maintenance on the bridleway which runs from the lay-by on the north side of Mam Tor to a junction with the bridleway from Hollins Cross at Greenlands and the track from Greenlands to Edale. [Track Page | Map]
The main aims of the job were:
Starting in late June the group spent about 8 evenings over 3 months working on the track through wind, rain, darkness and midges (what is it with Edale midges?!). We adopted the top-down management approach; starting below the second gate, near the top of the track, filing in narrow ruts and making drainage channels into the ditch at the side. We then moved onto the straight with the high wall, this was a case of bringing most of the higher line down to fill in the gullied bottom line. Where drainage rollers were put in, small sections of the high line were left to aid drainage, it was later noticed they look remarkably like mini ‘bus stops’. 😯
In the next section we added some flowing, slightly bermed, curves while filling in the gullies. Lower down is a sort of left dip down a small rock step followed by a right shwosh up, pump, avoid a few rocks and out …well it makes more sense when you ride it. Another interesting feature is where we put in a 45Â° sloped wooden boarding to help hold back the earth for a slope down into some flowing curves before the wide gulley by the hawthorn tree. We used the two parallel straight lines that had developed to make one line with curves and we widened the narrow exit of the gulley and cut back overhanging gorse bushes.
For this section we had some aggregate surface material to use, which is better draining and longer lasting than normal soil, the only problem was that the aggregate was up the top of the hill by the second gate. We had two wheel barrows and a motorised wheel barrow to move it with, you might think pushing empty barrows up hill and full ones down hill would easy – WRONG! It was a constant battle to stop the barrow running away from you down the hill or gaining too much speed and spilling the precious load. Shane loved driving the petrol driven motorised barrow, which was cross between a wheel barrow and a military tank (I’m sure I heard him whispering to it at one point).
It was decided that no work was needed lower down, so we didn’t do anything to the track below the wide gulley next to the hawthorn tree. The Peak Park also did work around the same time on the bridleway that runs from the top of track, around Mam Tor, towards Hollins Cross. Martyn Sharp, who is the Pennine Way ranger for the Peak Park and, as a MTBer, is a member of Ride the Peak, organised and oversaw the work of the Ride the Peak maintenance group, as well as making our digging legitimate (not just anyone can dig up bridleways).
At the end of January, Martyn, Irwin and I went back to see how the track had faired over the 4 months since we finished working on it. It was generally working well, with only a few area that might need looking at in the near future. The ground was frozen solid, so apart from axing out a few tyre ruts there wasn’t much work we could do, other than move a few stones to the side where part of the wall had come down. Fortunately we had brought out bikes and there was time for a short ride down the track, up to Hollins Cross then back up the ridge to the lay-by. Irwin had borrowed a nice HD helmet camera and there was still some snow and plenty of ice about, so there’s footage of Martyn coming off once and me twice.
Below is a video and pictures of Shane & Jeff riding the Mam Tor to Greenlands bridleway, in October 09, a few weeks after the work was completed (Shane only had a rear brake):
09-10-10 MamTor-Greenlands ST+JK, 8 Pictures by Jeff & Shane
Helmet Camera run during the snow, gives a good idea of the track lengh and features.