Tag Archives: east side

Trail build report: 30 people, 20 tonnes (start, exit, mway1, east side)

Volunteers at a trail build day.
Many hands make light work.

See the complete Croft trail build diary.

After low key build days in December (triangle surfacing) and January (triangle woodwork) we had a big day planned. Twenty tonnes of build materials had been delivered on Thursday morning: half a tonne of gabion (rocks) and 19.5 tonnes of type 1 limestone. Our target was to shift all of this in the day and it was looking promising; twenty people had clicked “yes” on the Facebook event.

We’d found our stash of large rubble bags on one of the previous build days. This includes two 3 x 3m bags that can hold around 7 tonnes each. We had Pete Ratcliffe and Daisy the Land Rover booked for the day. Tom Scott was bringing his barbeque and Kat Ratcliffe had cake and hot drinks ready to go. Well, the drinks weren’t actually heated until needed but the plans were there.

20 tonnes of gravel
20 tonnes

The weather since Christmas had been long periods of heavy rain interspersed with drizzle. When that stopped then it precipitated. When that stopped then it started to rain again. One day there was a period of literally minutes between the rain stopping and then starting again. On top of that it rained quite a bit as well.

More recently there had been a week of high winds that had felled trees at the major trail centres and Somerset was flooded. After all of this it was heartening to find that the majority of the trail was still intact. Some pot holes had formed but in other areas there was pristine rocky trail even if it was surrounded by water. 

Trail build volunteersThe first target was moving material down to a stockpile in the triangle area using the Land Rover. At the same time material was moved to the rock spine area using wheel barrows. Once the triangle stockpile was complete then a second was built at the end of motorway1.  On the way a large mud pit at the bottom of Pete’s steps was fixed.

Paul and Debbie walked the trail removing branches and other debris. Debbie received kudos for raking moss off the woodwork. Kristian dug out puddles using his African monster mattock.

With so many people present we were able to start more jobs. Jerome filled potholes round the first section of the trail and on the north side of the pitch. A large group got started on the trail exit area which had turned into a quagmire. This was dug out and filled with rock. 

When that was done the the group moved onto motorway1 and filled more pot holes. Meanwhile Phil and myself (Tom) inspected the trail on the east side of the pitch and found several large puddles. These were drained.

New trail

By 2:30pm most of the gravel had gone and it looked we were going to beat our previous record of shifting 20 tonnes by 3pm. With little else to do in the car park the main group moved to the east side of the pitch and dug even deeper drainage channels. The last two loads of gravel were used to fill potholes and puddles. Finally we entertained ourselves for an hour or so working on our drainage canal. This had been built two years ago after some newly built trail had been completely submerged. Cutting through roots that were under dank water gave us a few laughs.

BBQ at the Croft Trail

That was an amazing day and proved that with a decent number of people then a lot of work can be done and it’s more fun. I remember the early days in 2009 when it was often just Phil Mayger and myself at the trail. We are winning the war on pot holes. If the trail can survive the last two months and remain in good shape then it can survive anything. Thank you everyone who came along and made this a success.

MTB Trail drainage work.
Our self built canal.

Those present

  • 1 – Sean Carolin
  • 2 – Mike Ponzo
  • 3 – Andy Smith
  • 4 – Jason Rodger
  • 5 – Tom Scott
  • 6 – Hazel Ross
  • 7 – Ania Zielnik
  • 8 – Debbie Davies
  • 9 – Paul Allum
  • 10 – Graham Burgess
  • 11 – Gary (new Gary)
  • 12 – Sean Morrisey (RAC man)
  • 13 – Kat Ratcliffe
  • 14 – Pete Ratcliffe (Daisy operator)
  • 15 – Kristian Price
  • 16 – Tom Stickland
  • 17 – Phil Mayger
  • 18 – John Crocker
  • 19 – Jon Proudman
  • 20 – Richard Barnett
  • 21 – Gary Palmer
  • 22 – An Wheeler (previously known as Anne and then Ann)
  • 23 – Jerome Crametz
  • 24 – Gary Lee
  • 25 – Mike Jeffries
  • 26 – Steffan James
  • 27 – Christopher Banjo Vincent
  • 28 – Phil Allum
  • 29 – Paul Kidd
  • 30 – Malcolm Toop Rose

Trail maintenance

Gravel shifting league table

 Our new gravel shifting record:

MTB trail drainage work.
Drainage work.

History corner

Canal dredging.

Complete trail build diary.

Trail Build  Progress 2014 02 22

Trail build day (20 tonnes shifted & start, North, East sides fixed).

Pile of gravel at trail build day.We had to shoehorn this build day into our busy calendar of events. Originally we only had 3 people down to attend! Ignoring the claims that mothering Sunday was the problem then a campaign was started to see if we could improve the numbers.

The plan for the day was simple: shift 20 tonnes of material from the car park using the Land Rover and at the same time handball material into nearby potholes. As usual, we had 2 tonnes of gabion and 18 tonnes of type1 limestone.

Phil Mayger and Simon Oxlade had both walked the trail and produced maps of the problem areas. We stashed about 12 tonnes of material in the large storage sacks on site and used about 6 tonnes on pot hole filling.

Volunteer trail builders in Wiltshire.

Land Rover shifting gravel.From our Twitter and Facebook updates:

  • 6am: “6am eternal. Lets get ready to trail build. Better drive to Swindon first I suppose.”.
  • 9:30 “We have begun. Jez, Paul Kidd, Phil and myself.”
  • 9:45 ” Tony Holmes, Stuart, Shaun, Nick too.”
  • 10: “Andy, Tristan, Rafe Rover. Amazing progress already. We’ve run out of wheel barrows though.”
  • 11:06 “Props to Aarron. He’s here putting the effort in.”
  • 11:44 “Jamie here and Dion on the way with spare barrow.”
  • 11:48 “Courtney”
  • 11:53 “Dion has delivered barrow. Jason Roger is in the area.”
  • 13:27 “Neil and Donny here plus Anthony de Hevington from Bristol trails group.”
  • 13:55 “Kristian is here.”
  • 14:45 “Gravel pile almost exhausted. And us.”

Things went so well that all 20 tonnes were moved in 5 hours (3pm). 

2013_03_10 Trail Build 21

Sunken mountain bike trail. Puddles.Potholes from the start of the trail round to the top of the first descent were fixed. Potholes on the north side and east side of the pitch were fixed plus two sections were built up using gabion as a base (end of roller coaster and following straight). These had already received some attention in September 2012  and December 2012.

We had enough time to resurface a load of trail down the pond that had sunk under water in the winter floods. See our previous drainage work for more details. We also fixed some of this up in March 2011 and it was first surfaced properly in December 2011.

Another amazing turnout! This matches our previous best from 8th September 2012. With this level of support we will be able to finish the pot hole fixing on our two days in April (see the calendar for upcoming build days).

Moving limestone at a trail build day.

Dec 2011:

Newly surfaced trail at the Croft Trail in Swindon.

Dec 2012:

Water logged trail.

Jan 2013:


After being rebuilt: 

Fixed section of trail.

Present on the day:

  1. Phil
  2. Tom
  3. Jez
  4. Paul Kidd
  5. Tony Holmes
  6. Sarah Bailey
  7. Simon Oxlade
  8. Stuart
  9. Shaun Carolin
  10. Jonathan Proudman
  11. Nick
  12. Andy
  13. Tristan
  14. Rafe
  15. Aarron
  16. Jamie
  17. Courtney
  18. Jason Roger
  19. Neil
  20. Donny
  21. Anthony de Hevington (visiting from Bristol)
  22. Kristian
  23. Elliot
  24. Kat Beeston (cakes)

Croft Trail progress March 2013.


See the complete build diary. Future events are on the events calendar.

Trail build report: Sat 5th Jan 2013 – east side drainage & triangle tweek

Digging a drainage ditch at a mountain bike trail.This was a follow on from our initial drainage work and the nocturnal digging session the previous evening.

At 1:30pm we had Phil Mayger, Jerome Crametz and myself (Tom) ready to dig a canal. We found Chris Hopkinson wandering around the trail and he joined us. We linked the ditch that I’d dug the previous evening with the original drainage channel and made that deeper whilst we were at it. Chris went and Jez turned up in his place. We cut a channel all the way through the nearby ditch on the edge of the sports field. Matthew Kerry called round to take a look towards the end.

With that done we called into the triangle and filled a few potholes on the exit straight. This had been dug out in May 2010, Aug 2010, May 2011 and surfaced in Oct 2011 with the final bit in Jan 2012.

Then we went home.

Dec 2011:

Newly surfaced trail at the Croft Trail in Swindon.

Dec 2012:

Water logged trail.

 After being drained:


See the complete build diary. Future events are on the events calendar.

Trail build report: Fri 4th Jan 2013 – east side drainage

Drainage ditch being dug in the dark.We’d made a start on draining a large puddle on the OCD (obsessive compulsive drainage) session a week earlier.

This was a 2 hour digging session on my own where I drained the remaining water out of the last remaining puddle. I started at 4pm and it was dark by 5pm so I used my Exposure mountain bike light to illuminate the digging area.

I also scraped the mud off the trail surface. The limestone layer was still rock hard underneath so we expect this area to fully recover.

This area only flooded after several weeks of rain so we don’t expect this to be a serious problem.

Progress the next day.

Dec 2011:

Newly surfaced trail at the Croft Trail in Swindon.

Dec 2012:

Water logged trail.


See the complete build diary. Future events are on the events calendar.

Trail build report: Sat 29th Dec 2012 – OCD work (start, mway, east side,triangle)

Wheel barrow through puddle.This was a bonus build session on the Saturday after Christmas.

When I arrived at the special festive late start time of 11am then I found Phil Mayger, Phil Allum, Jez, Gary Palmer and Shaun Carolin standing in the rain raring to go.

After the heavy rain then we found plenty of OCD  (obsessive compulsive drainage) work. This consisted of digging channels to drain puddles.

One group planted rocks on the second corner of the trail to stop corner cutting. Whilst we were  at it we decided to dig out the old start and fill that back in with mud (the new start was built in June 2009, resurfaced in Feb 2010 and the old entrance was closed off in Dec 2012). We’d resurfaced the follow on section in Feb 2012. (We’d done similar rock placement in Sept 2010).

Another group dug out the berm at the bottom of the steps on mway1 and planted a drainage pipe. We’d already done this job in March 2011!  The steps were build in July 2010.

Drainage work at MTB trail

We were joined by Sarah Bailey, Jemma Oakes, Andy Matthews and Chris Hopkinson.

Another puddle area was fixed at the bottom of the descent on mway1. Whilst we were there we cleared some mud from the section. This had been built in July 2010 plus we’d done some other work in March 2012.

With that all in the bag then we moved onto the big pond. A whole section of trail had disappeared under several inches of water along with the surrounding land. This area had first been dug out in 2008 and finally surfaced in Dec 2011.  A drainage ditch was to start the process of draining the area. Hopes weren’t high because the whole area was flooded (we dug a bigger ditch in Jan 2013).

Dec 2011:

Newly surfaced trail at the Croft Trail in Swindon.

Dec 2012:

Water logged trail.

Finally the triangle exit area was drained and a bit of trail near the end of the triangle was cleared of gunk. The triangle exit was dug out in May 2010,  Aug 2010 and May 2011 and surfaced in Feb 2012 and a bit more added in Sept 2012.

Big thanks to all those who came out in the rain and helped keep the trail up together.

See the complete build diary. Future events are on the events calendar.

Trail build report: Sat 10th Dec, East side of pitch

On the previous build day we’d surfaced about half of the trail section on the East side of the pitch (build report).

Our plans for the day were to surface the remaining 120m. We’d had 20 tonnes of type 1 limestone chippings delivered on Friday morning.

Things began at 9am when I arrived and Brandon hire delivered the Muck Truck and compacter. I was on my own for a short while so I carted two loads of chippings down to a boggy area near the end of the trail on the South West corner of the pitch.

At 10am then Tony Holmes and his wife Margaret arrived, having travelled down from Worcester. A short while later Rafe arrived with his Land Rover and we made a start on moving material. A short while later and Chris arrived, followed shortly by Gary Lee, Tony La Porte, Robin and then Gary Yeates and Kristian.

Phil turned up from work at 1pm and in a world first declared himself happy with the work that had been done so far.

With a decent number of people like this then work progressed well and the whole section was surfaced and dusted before it turned dark. We can never stop until it is dark though, so we found a few bonus jobs to do.

Jez had time to build up a berm in the following section with rubble, mud and then chippings.

Finally, we filled in a very short section of mud in the alley way. This was the true channel tunnel moment in terms of surfacing the trail. Every part of the open trail had now received some sort of stone based surfacing product.

A great day’s work and a significant moment for the club and trail.

Thanks to everyone who again worked so hard for the project.

The east side was first cut out in October 2008. Some minor surfacing was done in February 2009 plus some reshaping in April 2009 (no photos yet).

Shifting limestone chippings at the Croft Trail in Swindon.
Surfacing a berm at the Croft Trails in Swindon.
Raking and compacting chippings at the Croft Trail in Swindon.
Newly surfaced trail at the Croft Trail in Swindon.
Repaired berm by night at the Croft Trail in Swindon. Compacting chippings by dark at the Croft Trail in Swindon.
Map of Croft Trail showing surfacing progress in Dec 2010.
Above December 2010
Below December 2011
Croft Trail progress map from December 2011.

Build report: Sat 16th April 2011

This was a Saturday afternoon meet. A group consisting of Pete, Tom, Simon, Mike and Anne moved bricks and rubble from the car park to locations near the East side of the pitch. These are going to be used in the future to surfrace the only remaining stretch of unsurfaced trail. This project will take place towards the end of the year before winter sets in.

The last remnants of gravel were cleared from the car park pile and moved up to Piper’s hill.

This was the last session with Daisy (Land Rover reg MOO) for a while.

Meanwhile Phil and Kat walked round the trail and cut back any branches that were growing too close to the trail.

We did four hours work and then went to the Check Inn for two hours.

Thanks to everyone who turned up; the support really makes a difference.

Unloading bricks from a Land Rover.
Stockpile of bricks.
Trail build progress at Croft Trails in Swindon on 10th April 2011.
Progress 10th April.