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'Extreme' cyclists on Cardinham Woods trails scaring walkers away, reports say...

Mountain bikers tearing up the trails are terrorising local walkers, according to reports from Bodmin’s Cardinham Woods.

Walkers are said to be boycotting the area after clashing with ‘extreme’ riders on trails created by the Forestry Commission.

They have also complained about litter being left behind.

One walker says the routes are now dangerous, and has written to her local MP, Scott Mann.

Lindsey Tomlinson told the Cornish Guardian: " A lot of local people are no longer going to the woods because the mountain bikers are ruining their enjoyment. They tear around at excessive speed, and it is no longer safe for people to walk there, as more and more areas of the wood have been made into cycle trails.

"It's not ordinary local cyclists who are causing the problems, but dedicated trail cyclists who come to Cardinham from various parts of the country, attracted by the Forestry Commission advertising the trails.

"They spook horses, litter the woods with their energy drink cans and generally have no regard for others. It is simply no longer a pleasant place to go for a great many people.”

John Ebsary, Forestry Commission area forester for Cornwall said: "Cardinham Woods is a busy recreation site and with lots of people using the forest for different reasons, there can at times be some conflict and its disappointing to hear that these visitors have had issues.

"We work hard to communicate with all our visitors and encourage everyone to be considerate of other users. We recently made some changes to our Lady Vale trail to alleviate clashes between walkers and cyclists which has made a positive difference.

"We also have a seasonal ranger starting soon who will be on site during our busiest times and part of his role will be to be there to help visitors and also make sure the everyone is being considerate of other visitors.

"If any of our visitors have concerns or would like to speak to me in more detail about any of these issues they are welcome to contact me at john.ebsary [at] forestry.gsi.gov.uk,'' he said.

The Forestry Commission advertises the Cardinham Woods trails on its website, saying:

The 12km Bodmin Beast blue (moderate) grade cycle trail aims to set the benchmark for singletrack trails in Cornwall. Suitable for cyclists with a moderate level of off-road experience and keen mountain bikers, this exciting trail explores the wooded slopes of the Cardinham Valley. You will encounter a number of technical climbs and descents, snaking single track trail and features such as tight bermed corners, small step downs, rollers and table tops. All features can be rolled over at a moderate speed. The trail is exposed to steep unfenced side slopes in places.

There are also two sections of difficult red grade trail, which loop off of the main Bodmin Beast. These options will add up to 30 mins to your ride, and are only suitable for proficient mountain bikers. ‘Dialled-In Dave’ is natural, flowing and fast; an ideal introduction to Red grade single track and a great place to develop your trail riding skills. ‘Hell’s Teeth’ presents a tough initial climb, with some very steep sections, but you’ll be rewarded at the top with some narrow, flowing trail featuring numerous technical features and then a very steep bermed final descent.

Back in 2014 we reported how Bodmin became Cornwall’s ‘cycling town’ with its new network of cycling and walking routes - just weeks after the council admitted that it didn’t think the town would be able to shift significantly to walking, cycling and public transport.

The plans were at the heart of a £1 billion seven year plan for investment in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The Strategic Economic Plan was produced by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and included Bodmin’s Transport Plan, which promised that from 2016, there will be “a wider Bodmin transport package of measures which includes junction upgrades, walking and cycling infrastructure, public transport provision and new highway infrastructure.”

Cornwall Council proposed to create a series of cycle routes through the town which will link the Camel Trail to the bike trails created at Cardinham Woods and the National Trust's estate at Lanhydrock.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.