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Find out how you could help save our woodlands

Natural Resources Wales are calling out to Mountain bikers, to clean down our bikes and kit before making our way to another woodland. This story took me by surprise when I first heard about it, ‘Why the ‘eck do they care if we clean ourselves down or not!?’ But after delving further in, I found out how we unassumingly could be transporting the diseases, just by leaving a little bit of mud on our bikes.

When you think about it, it is really only mountain bikers that will be transporting these diseases too! We travel on a regular basis between different woodlands, and allow our bikes to get caked in mud, twigs and leaves and then travel to our next mountain bike destination. Let’s face it I’m not alone when I say, ‘I don’t always clean my bike after every ride.’

What Natural Resources have asked is, for us mountain bikers to clean down our bikes before heading into another woodland, to reduce the risk of transporting any diseases between woodlands. They also advise us to make sure our riding kit isn’t transporting any diseases either, but let’s face it, if our riding kit is dirty we usually wash it before taking it out again.

Let’s do our bit to keep our woodlands alive.

Here’s a statement from National Resources Wales.

Video urges mountain bikers to ‘leave the forest in the forest’ Natural Resources Wales has produced a video urging mountain bikers to help stop the spread of tree diseases by cleaning off any debris before they leave.

The short video, called “Leave the Forest in the Forest”, calls on bikers to brush off twigs, leaves and any other forest debris from their bikes, clothes and cars when they visit any woodland managed by Natural Resources Wales.

Woodlands remain open but visitors are being asked to observe some simple biosecurity measures to help stop the spread of diseases such as P ramorum, which attacks larch trees, and Chalara dieback of ash.

There are around 500 kilometres of mountain bike trails in woodlands managed by Natural Resources Wales, which are ridden about 250,000 times every year. The video was made by film maker Liam Murphy and shows rider Matthew Ford tackling The Wall, a popular trail in Afan Forest Park near Port Talbot, which itself is ridden about 18,000 times a year.

It can be viewed on YouTube and shows Matthew using the bike wash outside the visitor centre to clean his Commencal Meta bike and reduce the risk of taking any infected material away with him. Dave Liddy of Natural Resources Wales said, “Cleaning your bike is good for the bike, but it’s also good for the forest, too. “Our mountain bike trails are immensely popular and we want to encourage people to keep coming to our woodlands. Our message is a simple one: ‘Enjoy yourselves, but please leave the forest in the forest’.”

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