Kids these days get a fairly harsh reputation, as with everything there are always a few bad apples but even then – too much time is spent complaining and not enough time finding a solution. The majority of the time there is just nothing to do; I got word on the grapevine of a little project running in Much Wenlock in coordination with the Police that was looking to solve the problem and get more people riding their bikes.
Introducing PC Stuart Lippitt – the local officer in Much Wenlock, he saw the potential for development in the local woods and with the support of the National Trust after working with them on other maintenance projects, he started a scheme to build a downhill track on their land. After recruiting a motley crew of locals and with the help of locals Jess Stone and Matt Simmonds in planning out the track and digging they set about putting down a track.
I joined in on one of their dig days to see what the score is and how they’re getting on. The track itself is pretty impressive, whilst it’s not national standard; the design has a couple of good jumps, a mix of berms and flat corners and plenty of scope for further development. Once completed it will be a great introduction to riding for the lads who will end up having a downhill track slap bang on their doorstep, who could ask for more?
Stuart is clearly passionate about making a difference in the community and it’s great to see not only the Police but also the National Trust work together, which can only be good for the rest of the country. The track itself is nearing completion with a few more build days it will be ready from top to bottom and the team are hoping to have a launch day with uplifts and more.
At the moment the emphasis is to keep the project local and therefore we won’t be giving away any locations just yet, with a bit more development it’ll be ready to go and be officially open. Once things have been finalised we can share a little more information but until then my lips are firmly sealed. This purpose of this article isn’t to show the location of a new track, but rather to show what can be acheived with a little effort and someone being prepared to give up their time to help.
Big thanks to Stuart Lippitt and the Wenlock Bikers for having me along – big mentions must go out to Jess Stone (www.jessstone.com) and Matt Simmonds (www.mattsimmonds.co.uk) for putting their time and effort into the project completely free of charge, it makes a big difference to have two Elite riders go along and help the lads put the track together.
Let this be a benchmark for future projects, there are a lot of landowners in the UK looking for additional uses and forms of income for their land these days, and with the National Trust looking for new projects for existing property it only takes one person to motivate and lead the team and something like the Wenlock Bikers can be achieved. Making a difference not only to the local community but creating another great riding spot for us riders!
We also got word of a new bike shop opening in Church Stretton at the foot of the Long Mynd and very near to the legendary Minton Batch descent. Not open yet but check out the Plush Hill Cycles website and we’ll get Allen to give us a shout when they’re open!