Mountain bike advocacy group, Ride Kirklees, recently opened a new mountain bike trail on the northern boundary of Kirklees.
Located in the grounds of the historic Oakwell Hall at Birstall (near Leeds) the new trail has been built by Bike Track (who built the trails at Leeds Urban Bike Park and Lady Cannings Cooking on Gas).
At Oakwell Hall, the new blue graded trail (yet to be named) is just under a mile in length and full of flowing berms. The two climbs have been well thought out, with nothing too arduous before you get to enjoy the fantastic swoopy, bermy downhills.
Having ridden the trail a few times before the official grand opening (a shout out on social media), I can safely say that it is lots and lots of fun!
You might wonder how I got to enjoy razzing round a new trail prior to its official opening and with only 5 other riders on the trail. More so when you consider that social media posts during the first week of opening have indicated just how popular and busy the trail already is.
Here’s where Ride Holme and myself get a little payback for our mountain bike advocacy work. You may have seen that during 2018 we were both invited to become ambassadors for the mountain bike advocacy group Ride Sheffield. We tend to ride in the area covered by Ride Sheffield so, despite living in Kirklees, it made sense for us to give our support to Ride Sheffield’s work.
However, Ride Holme grew up in the Kirklees area and also offers mountain bike guiding in the Holme Valley (located on the southern boundary of Kirklees). This means he has a close affinity with Ride Kirklees’ work and so has shown his support by attending a few of their developmental meetings.
This led to Ride Kirklees inviting him to help clear the new trail prior to opening and he was keen to get involved. As his partner in crime, I got to go along and thus found myself brash clearing and litter picking one warm, sunny, January morning
I’ve helped out at a couple of Ride Sheffield events since becoming an ambassador, but this was the first time that I had been involved in a trail day and honestly, it was really good fun. Sure, I was giving up a sunny morning to pick up somebody else’s rubbish, but it was a good laugh working with the other volunteers. Besides, it also meant that we got to walk the new trail before riding!
If you have a local mountain bike advocacy group in your area, check out their meetings/dig days and go along to support them. Not only will it give you a feel good factor, but you will also get to be part of the local mountain biking scene and give the group some much needed voluntary support. Who knows, your reward might just be getting to ride a new trail before everyone else!
As far as Oakwell Hall’s new trail goes, if you’re in the north Kirklees area and fancy a couple of hours on a fun, bermy, swoopy blue trail, go check it out. If you’re after something a bit more demanding, it’s worth weaving a visit there as part of longer ride or, alternatively, combining it with a trip to Leeds Urban Bike Park just down the road.
Final image courtesy of Andy Bampton
Mountain bike advocacy groups in West/South Yorkshire and Peak District:
- Ride Sheffield trail days
- Ride Kirklees maintenance days
- Peak District MTB dig days
- Ride Calderdale
- District MTB (Wakefield, Barnsley, Doncaster)
Find your local mountain bike advocacy group:
- Open MTB
- Check with your local council or trail centre