Relish Trail, Birse
This project was to create a community-driven natural trail focused on less experienced riders. We wanted to create a trail with a low entry barrier but also a trail experienced riders could shred.
With abundant trails and bike parks, Perth is a mountain biking hotspot for local visitors and tourists alike.
To the east of the city, riders have found a remarkable space for mountain biking in the majestic surroundings of Kinnoull Hill. Boasting spectacular views over the River Tay and dense, mature woodland to explore, the site became a popular location for setting up DIY trails.
Unfortunately, most of these trails were constructed by people who don’t know how they may affect other users and the environment. Therefore, Forestry and Land Scotland sought the services of CRC to construct a new ‘free-ride’ style trail on the hill so that mountain bikers can enjoy the area while being sensitive to the environment and other trail users.
Deploying our specialist plant and experienced staff, we constructed several large berms, normal and split-level tabletop jumps and drop-offs. The resulting new trail comprises a challenging Orange-graded route which allows for safe rider progression and distracts them from using some of the more dangerous DIY features.
During the project, we cleared a minimal amount of trees, and the site was closed to the public during construction to ensure everyone’s safety. All trail formation material was won from borrow pits, and the trail was capped with Type 1 and dust from a nearby limestone quarry.
Since launch, the trail has endured heavy use and normal wear & tear. To ensure the trail remains safe and enjoyable for all users, we revisited the site in late 2018 and 2021 to give the jump lips/landings and berms a fresh layer of compacted dust - a small maintenance task to be expected when trails are being used so frequently.
With an elevation of over 700ft, Kinnoull Hill is quite steep, presenting challenges for crew and equipment access. However, using a tracked dumper, we could take on rough terrain and gain more traction on the steep slopes, ensuring we could carry out the build safely and efficiently.
The hill's steepness also needed to be considered when creating the trails. MTB trails need to have some level of gradient so that riders can keep momentum and enjoy their ride safely. However, if the trail is too steep, this can become hazardous and lead to the track eroding earlier than expected. Using our extensive mountain bike trail design and construction expertise (as well as testing the route throughout construction), we delivered a trail which is as safe to use as it is enjoyable to ride.
Because the trail is located in mature woodland, we also needed to be mindful of nesting birds in the surrounding area. Taking advice from the client's third-party environmental consultant, we worked around the bird nesting season, avoiding disturbance to the natural environment.
Every couple of years, we will return to Kinnoull Hill to sharpen the trail's edges, check the drainage and lay some new surfacing. These types of maintenance jobs keep the trail in tip-top condition, ensuring it can endure heavy use in all weather.
The constructed trail has been positively received by mountain bikers from all over the world and has become a firm favourite in the Perthshire mountain biking scene.
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We work in sensitive environments to protect communities and habitats, allowing people to access nature in a sympathetic way.
Our skilled team has the expertise to complete a range of civil works for different sectors and purposes, while reducing environmental impact.
From concept to reality, we design and construct mountain biking trails and footpaths that are unique to their location and complement the natural landscape.