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Spring Digging 2012: Forest of Dean

The altruistic Dean Trail Volunteers have been keeping the trails running at the Forest of Dean for some time now. Jake the Dog helps out too!

Local rider and DTV member Ali Todd (and ex-Dirt teaboy) sent over some photos and words about a recent dig day at the FOD.

There are few better feelings in the world than putting down a pinned run of your local trails (fast, loose and sideways) in the middle of summer. One of the things more satisfying than that, though, is knowing that the twenty-foot hip you just whipped like Danny Hart (in your mind), or the massive berm you just railed, was built by you – and no, this isn’t an advert for going out and illegally building jumps in your local Forestry Commission woods.

I see so many people around the Forest of Dean who love riding the trails, but will ask me “why isn’t there a berm there?”, or maybe moan about how rutted the trails are, and complain that no-one’s sorting it out. This is one of those things that really annoys me. Do they really think that magic trail fairies just turn up and dig the features? Or maybe they think that we have so much money that we just hire contractors to build them new jumps and berms to hit. So here’s the truth – there aren’t and we don’t.

What actually happens is as follows: Sunday mornings, from 9am until 1pm, a load of middle-aged men and over-energetic teenagers gather at the car park armed with all manner of scary tools, and then we go up and work until we’re happy (or until we pass out). No, we don’t get paid money, but I can assure you that there’s no more satisfying feeling than riding the track you’ve just built for the very first time.

And so, after a long ramble, we come to the point of this article – spring digging. There’s been plenty of it this year – we’re extending the red XC loop, and we’ve been bringing the raced (read “rutted”) trails back to life. The main thing, though, is a brand new black trail for the downhillers who get bored of the two-dot runs everywhere else. It’s been a long time coming, but this promises to be something special. The hill here is hardly Ben Nevis, so we have to pack the features in, but features there will be.

The pictures here are from the digging last Sunday (the 25th of March), and it’s come along even since then. We’re currently working on what will be a drop-to-steep-slope-to-berm, (a good ten-foot drop, and one massive berm) – and it’s looking amazing. The Forest has needed something like this for a long time, and it opens up a world of opportunities. So along with the pictures of the bottom half of the trail being built and the top half looking like manicured pedally jump-fest, I’d like to throw in a plea for help.

We really need as many people as can help us to dig, and maybe even companies or shops to sponsor sections of track. If you’re around here and you can help (even two hours), it’d be great to see you one Sunday morning.

Have a look at www.deantrailvolunteers.co.uk or look us up on the DTV FaceBook page and I hope to see you around soon.

Signing out,

Ali Todd

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