ATA Trail Diversion / Tree Planting / Saving the Planet
Through a sustained period of liaison between our Aberdeenshire Regional Development Co-Ordinator, Aberdeenshire Trail Association, Glen Tanar Estate and Ranger Service a plan was formulated to divert a potentially dangerous section of trail replacing it with a longer, safer section of trail. This process, influenced by the National Access Forum ‘Unauthorised Trail Guidance’ document took a period of months and remains ongoing but the benefits of all parties working collaboratively and understanding each other’s needs is clearly evident.
After initial reviews of the trail and the potential risk presented by the lower section of the trail known as ‘Mastermind’ an alternative ending was agreed with the estate owners recognising the need to avoid environmentally sensitive areas as well as the identified dangerous exit onto a road created by the original unauthorised trail building. As part of the IMBA Europe take Care of Your Trails programme the ATA co-ordinated a group of volunteers to complete the equivalent of 80 hours physical work converting existing extraction tracks into a suitable mountain bike trail. The resulting singletrack is longer than the section it replaced and looks set not only to be a recreational asset to local riders but also a feature stage in an upcoming enduro event.
Recognising the effect that trail creation and mountain bike riding can have on the peat soils in this section of forest, when peat is exposed it releases carbon into the atmosphere, the ATA worked collaboratively with the Glen Tanar Ranger Service to plant 20 Native willow trees to enhance the sustainability of the project. Increasing the sustainability of the outstanding local natural trail network is a key goal of the ATA and in this example it was great to have an agreed plan with the estate.
In addition to the ATA’s work creating the new trail diversion we, throughhave agreed to support the estate in making this trail in its entirety safer by providing assistance to remove hanging trees affecting the upper section of the trail and supporting the installation of a new rider accessible gate at the end of the trail.
The result of all these parties working together is a safer, more sustainable trail which better meets the needs of both the estate and the user group.