Aston Hill Bike Park | Temporary closure FAQs
Is the bike park closing for good?
No. Our plans are to complete the felling works and then re-open the bike park with new investment.
Why is the site going to be closed for so long?
To safely fell the affected ash and to thin out the other tree species on site, to improve the woodland ecology and maintain tree health, we will need to bring in specialist contractors with skills and experience in steep ground working. We are currently looking into contractor availability and undertaking works planning with the hope of starting work sometime in the first quarter of 2021, but we won’t know the exact timings until suitable contractors have been appointed. If we can complete the works sooner, we will, but we think that 6 to 8 months is a realistic timeline to complete the works safely, repair the trails and re-invest in the park before re-opening.
Are you going to remove all the trees on site?
No. We will be focusing on the worst affected ash and will also complete planned thinning operations to space out the other tree species on site which will help improve the woodland ecology and maintain tree health. There are a number of other tree species across the site including beech and Norway spruce which will be retained.
Why can’t you use tree surgeons to undertake the works sooner?
Our tree safety management process normally involves an annual survey followed by remedial works undertaken by our own trained chainsaw operators or tree surgeons. Unfortunately, infected ash poses a risk to chainsaw operators on the ground as the stems are brittle and dead branches in the crown can fall, and consequently our risk assessment points to mechanical felling (e.g. harvesters) as the preferred option where ever possible. The large numbers involved and the difficult terrain means that we need to engage specialist contractors with the right equipment to cost effectively fell the trees.
Will harvesting damage the trails?
Tree felling and removal on steep ground will be a challenging operation and whilst we will ask our contractors to avoid damaging the key trails as much as possible, some damage is inevitable. In rebuilding the trails for the future we will work with user group representatives to ensure that the trail network is designed to better allow for future tree harvesting operations.
Is Wendover Woods going to close?
No. Dead and dying trees are a natural component of the forest and in the right place are a welcome part of the forest ecosystem. We undertake tree safety surveys along high public access areas (eg facilities, trails, public roads) to assess the risk and identify remedial works. We are aware of diseased ash at Wendover and other sites and will be monitoring and carrying out remedial actions to keep our visitors safe. Unlike Aston Hill, the trails and facilities at Wendover can be accessed by tree surgeons using elevated platforms which makes management easier.
Where else can I ride whilst the bike park is closed?
Suggested sites include:
- Rushmere Country Park - Riders Ridge Bike Park and 6km XC Trail - 15 miles from Aston Hill (AH)
- Woburn Woods - Woburn Bike Park and the Longslade XC Trail - 23 miles from AH
- Hicksands Bike Park - 33 miles from AH
- Swinley Forest - 50 miles from AH
- Surrey Hills - 60 miles from AH
- Rogate B1kePark - 80 miles from AH.
What’s happening to Firecrest Mountain Biking and the Skills Courses they run at Aston Hill Bike Park?
Firecrest Mountain Biking are continuing to run Mountain Bike Courses and have moved their course programme to Rushmere Country Park. Whilst Rushmere Country Park doesn’t offer the elevation of Aston Hill Bike Park there are some fantastic trails for skills coaching both in the Riders Ridge Bike Park and on the 6km Cross Country loop. Firecrest MTB will be returning to run their programme of courses on Aston Hill as soon as the park re-opens. To find out more about the courses they offer, visit their website.
Will there be any races and events in 2021
No. As much as we wanted racing and events to return to Aston Hill Bike Park in 2021, due the closure this won’t be possible. As soon as the bike park re-opens, mtb downhill, enduro racing and events will return.
I'm a member - what's happening about my Membership?
We have emailed all our members for Aston Hill Bike Park to explain how this affects your Membership. If this has not reached you, then please check your junk folder. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help you.