Illegally constructed mountain bike jumps and other trail features known as The Foel, or The Masts, near Pontrhydyfen, are demolished.
There is no doubt that the Forestry Commission have done some amazing things for off-roading biking in the UK, so it is a shame when we hear news like this. ‘Illegally built trails’, or whatever you want to call them, have been constructed and ridden all over the UK for many years now, in some areas they are the lifeblood of the local scene. Sometimes the Forestry turn a blind eye, but, as in this case, they have taken drastic action. Usually when there are obvious jumps, bridges or any other kind of construction is when the trouble starts. But from reading the Press Release below it does seem that the Forestry were open to dialogue about the future of the jumps/trails.
Any of you know this place? Maybe you have ridden there or even built there. Let us know your thoughts.
Forestry Commission Wales removes illegal bike jumps
Forestry Commission Wales has begun to remove a number of illegally constructed mountain bike jumps and other trail features in the Foel Fynyddau area, near Pontrhydyfen.
Forestry Commission Wales Mountain Bike Ranger Howard Sims said, “A notice was posted in the area giving the people who constructed the illegal technical trail features 20 days to contact us. No one has done so and now we have no choice but to demolish them.”
Woodlands offer exciting opportunities for recreation and the Afan Valley area is well known for having excellent mountain bike trails. Forestry Commission Wales is committed to delivering a high standard of trail features for everyone to use.
Howard said, “Official mountain bike trails in the area are carefully designed and maintained. We also inspect them regularly and make improvements wherever we can.
“Removing the illegally technical trail features is a time-consuming and costly task. The time and money spent dealing with this issue detracts from the management of the official trails in the Afan Valley.”
The area, known locally as The Foel, or The Masts, is also home to well established wildlife habitats and scheduled ancient monuments, one of which has been damaged as a result of the illegal construction.
Howard said, “Forestry Commission Wales is not restricting riding in the area. We welcome mountain bike riders using the forest trails and natural landscape. We are only restricting the illegal construction of technical trail features, such as ramps and jumps.”
Another issue raised is that some of the trails have been built on leasehold land for which users do not have a right of access.
James Roseblade, Local Area Manager for Forestry Commission Wales, said, “We are concerned about the risk of injury to people using the area.
“Some parts of these illegally constructed features are in areas which are scheduled forest operations sites. The larger operational vehicles, including the timber haulage wagons, have limited visibility and there is a clear safety issue here.
“Unauthorised and illegal trail features are not included in our records of the area. Forestry Commission Wales is working hard to ensure that the area is safe for removing trees.
“If we can’t see mountain bike users, we can’t ensure their safety.”