Trail Advocacy: Dec 2018 - Maintenance Complete! - Pedal Progression


14 December 2018

Trail Advocacy: Dec 2018 – Maintenance Complete!

What an intense, crazy and amazing couple of weeks it’s been! A mixture of terrible weather, amazingly robust volunteers, an incredibly generous public, 140 tonnes of stone and a mega feature! Let me tell you the story. If you don’t like reading, we had a UWE masters student document the whole thing with film. His short video of what went down is at the bottom of this page.

Monday 26th November

Matt heads up to Ashton Court, to meet Architrail to talk through plans for the first piece of trail we’ll be working on – Beggar Bush Lane. The digger & dumper arrives and Duncan (Architrail) gets to work scratching the trail, ready for stone to be barrowed in. Note: The photo below was taken in July… it wasn’t sunny this time around!

Tuesday 27th November

Neil Donoghue and Blake Samson from GMBN come over to help barrow and shoot some video for the YouTube channel. They are going to create a short case study on the model we’re using to maintain the trails. A hand full of volunteers come in to help out as extras in the video. We get a good few turns built, giving us a head start on Wednesday’s work. The weather is mostly awful with a mixture of intense downpours and vicious cold air. The first 40 tonnes of stone is delivered.

Wednesday 28th November

The first day of work for our volunteers! Around 10 people join us between 10am and 5pm and then as we’re on such a roll, we continue by floodlight until 7pm with a bunch of new volunteers turning up at 5pm. 80% of the type 1 stone is laid by the end of the shift and ready to dust.

Thursday 29th November

The first section of trail, parallel to Beggar Bush Lane gets finished off, dusted and whacked and is now complete. It’ll be left alone to settle for a week with the trail still closed off. Just after lunch time, another 40 tonne dump of type 1 stone arrives at the miniature railway. It’s then barrowed onto the trail, to start to build the basic shape of the features.

Friday 30th November

The busiest day of the project for volunteers with 16 on site for the majority of the day. We use the man power to barrow more stone on to the trail, building features and starting the edging process on the various rollers and berms (as Jonathan is doing in the picture above).

Monday 3rd December

Duncan (Architrail) begins working on his ‘mega feature’ with spoil, given to us by the park rangers. The finished product is this brilliant ‘triple’ which can be ridden, jumped, manualled or a combination of all those options! Both the whacker plates break in the afternoon which is frustrating but by 5pm we have one running, ready for the morning. We are out of type 1 stone again and decide to order another 40 tonnes to really bolster the berms and features in this section.

Tuesday 4th December

An early start sees the first half of the miniature railway section dusted and once the volunteers arrive, we concentrate on building the second half, which is packed with features, using the new delivery of stone! The whacker runs out of petrol towards the end of the day leaving a frustratingly small section of trail not dusted.

The last stretch of trail, by the gatehouse is also given an overhaul. The ranger living in the gatehouse has found the growing numbers of riders skidding as they slow through that last section, frustrating and asked us to try and do something about it. That skidding had also led to a huge loss in material and regular puddling, so we added more stone and created a chicane using large rocks to slow riders earlier, encouraging people to brake before they get to the gatehouse.

Wednesday 5th December

We got in early to finish dusting the miniature railway section so that we could focus our efforts on a bonus section – the four drop offs. This section gets battered through tyres being skidded at the bottom of the drops. The run in has always been a muddy mess too, due to the fact the trail material was actually about three metres to the right of where people were riding! Architrail got to work with the digger and made amendments to move the trail in line to where riders were putting their tyres. The braking bumps were filled and smoothed and the three berms after the drops were built up and bolstered. We had no dust left, so the trail was left with just type 1 stone on it and work stopped at 2pm because the rain got too much!

Thursday 6th December

With the dig finished, we started smashing out the pub quiz questions ready for the evenings shenanigans! We hired out Alterego (a bar on Whiteladies Road) and packed it out with riders. Neil & Blake came to run the quiz and the tombola was stacked with prizes from local brands, magazines and suppliers. We raised £450 for the trails and had a great time in the process.

Finances & Thanks

Architrail had originally quoted us £4892.83 for their part in the work. The final bill came to £3965.76, almost £1000 under budget! A fair bit of this was down to the digger and dumper using less fuel than estimated, largely because of the number of volunteers we had pushing wheelbarrows! The estimated cost of the work done without volunteers and stone donations was £13,000.

Well done everyone who pushed a barrow, shovelled stone, raked features and built up edging. What an amazing job! Also massive thanks to Duncan and Jack from Architrail who were humble, helpful and encouraging throughout the two weeks, happily working alongside volunteers, some of which had never built trail before. Last of all, thank you to Chris Leeks who arranged all the volunteers for this job – over 80 of them! He nailed what was a huge undertaking.

As I write this, we now have £1800 in the pot. We will need at least £5000 before the next section of trail can be worked. If you’d like to give financially to the next round of trail maintenance, please click here.

Please share this around. It’s amazing what we can do when people rally together with finance, skills and time.

Ashton Court Trail Advocacy Film – Short version from Nick Evans on Vimeo.

We hope you enjoy the trails over the Christmas break and hope to catch you at some point in the new year.


Matt, Sam & Ollie

Pedal Progression



Written by: