If you visited over the Easter weekend and rode the red trail you will have noticed, that some parts of it have had a complete rebuild, whilst a number of other trail sections have undergone extensive maintenance. This was achieved with the support and help of Essex and Suffolk Water whose staff came to assist us, armed not only with spades and shovels but a mini digger and dumper truck too! Plus a wacker plate as the icing on the cake.
Over two days (12th and 13th April) fifteen Essex and Suffolk Water staff came along to help undertake the work. Firstly the section known as Deane’s Drop was tackled. This required it being swept from top to bottom on both sides. Then the loose stone had to be removed and there was a lot of it. Given the steep slope, the guys operating the plant did an amazing job (see the photo below), leaving behind a clean and flowing riding surface.
After Deane’s Drop it was on to the nearby climb section, the bottom half of which was very heavily worn. Because of this it was necessary to remove the entire worn trail to the base and rebuild it completely. Once again the mini digger and dumper were a blessing, as they saved a huge amount of time and lots of wheelbarrow pushing.
With the old trail surface gone (it will be mixed with new surfacing material for reuse at a later date), approximately 8 to 10 tons of new surfacing material was brought up the hill by dumper and tipped. This was then spread by hand, to an even depth across the width of the trail, then compacted with the aid of the wacker plate to leave a smooth and durable trail surface behind. All this now needs is a few days of light rain to dampen it and help create a hard surface. And this was just day one.
Day two dawned bright and sunny, and we had even more of the Essex and Suffolk Water staff in to help. Work was to be trail maintenance on a number of sections. We started on the descent known as Swoopy Swoops. The whole downhill section needed to be swept and all loose stone removed from it. Pictures below show the before and after views.
Once Swoopy Swoops was completed, it was on to the Leap of Faith, (a very steep rock slab descent into a tight corner). Again this needed to be swept and the stone removed to create a clean flowing riding line through it. The last job of the day was to resurface Gabion Climb. This needed the surfacing to have stones no larger than 25mm in it. To achieve this the guys went low-tech and picked out any that were too big by hand. Ten wheelbarrow fulls later, Gabion climb was resurfaced, and was then compacted.
That was it for the day. We would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff of Essex and Suffolk Water who came along and helped on either day, and to Essex and Suffolk Water for providing the mini digger and dumper truck, which made it possible to get so much work done.
Below is a map showing the sections worked on if you wish to see them for yourself.