Our first guest blog is from our friend and fellow rider Phil Allen. We’re assisting Phil in his vision for official MTB trails in Tameside. Read about his plans and work so far in this guest blog…
It’s impressive when you think what Greater Manchester has to offer when it comes to mountain biking. There’s the trail centre at Clayton Vale, trails at Philips park, downhill runs at Farmer Johns Bike Park and who can forget, Dirt Factory Bike Park (when it opens, soon, please), we seem to have everything covered apart from one thing, natural cross country (XC) trails.
The problem with this type of riding is knowing where to go. With the laws in the UK stopping people from riding on footpaths it makes it hard to pick a destination, jump on your bike and have a memorable ride (unless it’s for the wrong reasons).
To get the most enjoyment from XC riding you need to invest time and possibly money. Plotting routes on OS maps and trying to find GPS routes online will all help, but this won’t tell you the best place for a pre-ride bacon butty. Alternatively you could book yourself on a guided ride or buy a guide book.
So, you’ve got to ask the question – could Manchester add cross country trails to the list? More importantly is there a council that would support it? You would need an area that can offer bridleways and byways, a landscape with deep valleys and rolling hills, with stunning views, heritage and wildlife and most importantly pubs for a well-earned pint to go with the tales from that day’s ride.
It just so happens there are proposals in the pipeline for this very trail, destined for Tameside wedged between the Pennines and the East Manchester Gateway. A ride that explores and loops Stalybridge and Mossley. The proposals use existing routes which reduce a lot of planning obligations, will stop the need to mess about with maps and take away the worry of ‘is this path legal to ride or not’.
So on May the 19th 2016 I emailed Tameside council and told them that I have an idea for a mapped and waymarked mountain bike route in Stalybridge and Mossley.
‘The route I have uses bridleways, byways and country lanes around the Tame Valley and is 27km in length and has an elevation of 600m which includes some tough climbs and descents along a mixture of terrain. The route provides stunning views of Cheshire, Manchester and the South Pennines and takes you along the outskirts of the Peak District. Only 8 miles from Manchester city centre’.
That was 6 months ago and with the support of the PMBA (Pennine Mountain Bike Association), IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association), Dirt Factory and Tameside council, we’re getting closer to answering the question…
When will Manchester add cross country trails to the list?
Phil Allen (Guest Blogger)
ps. keep an eye on the trail Facebook page for news and events, thanks.