Despite NRW working with the Caerphilly MTB trail community to agree riding in select parts of the area, what followed was a significant ramping up of trail sabotage by those in the community clearly hostile to any mountain bike riding in the area. This sabotage was dangerous and in September we wrote about it again. What followed was the MTB community reacting by a mass ride to a) clear the trail sabotage to make them safe so avoiding a terrible accident and b) show unity and their strength as an established responsible trail community.
What happens next beggars belief and we couldn't do it journalistic justice if we tried. The national press from the BBC, The Times, The Telgraph and ITV amongst many others, last week went balistic with news and video footage of former MP Ron Davies moving logs and rocks. Mr Davies has denied attempting to block bike trails on Caerphilly Mountain. The Caerphilly Woodlands Trust has though come out and stated they are both “shocked and appalled” by the supposed sabotage of trails.
It is worth a quick butchers of these articles if you haven't aready as they will unfortunately go down significantly in UK MTB history one way or another.
At the end of the day though this highlights a serious issue for the future of mountain biking in Wales (as well as England but that's another article). Natural Resources Wales needs to use this as an opportunity to create a new national plan for mountain biking. This plan currently doesn't really exist, but we feel NRW have the right seeds, passionate experienced indiividuals and structures in their organisation to make it happen. A plan that thinks local community (not tourist community) at it's heart. A plan that engages the untapped growing unofficial local volunteer MTB community at a time of stretched resources and reduced funding. A plan that sees local communities under the guidance of NRW working together to create more official trails on the doorstep of local communities. A plan that leads to the creation of sanctioned local trails in Caerphilly as a must now, and more so uses this is an opportunity to create a template that takes this model further across Wales. Seize the opportunity folks.
If you want to show your support then please sign this petition calling on Natural Resources Wales for recognised mountain bike trails in Caerphilly. https://www.change.org/p/natural-resources-wales-recognised-mountain-bike-trails-in-caerphilly