Week 12 at Rostrevor and some sections are nearing completion. The pictures below show Section 3, which will be the first descending section on the big cross country loop after the long climb from Killbroney. 

This section of trail crosses a steep slope through big trees with lots of step downs, rollable sections of stone pitching and grade reversals. The idea with this section was to have as little impact on the big trees as possible and to use the existing terrain and features to create a fun descent.

The above picture shows a bit towards the bottom of Section 3 - I think it looks great and after a bit of needle fall, will look and feel pretty natural.

You can't really tell from this picture, but this actually descends at about 10% and there are loads of funky grade reversals and step downs - I'm pretty pleased with how this section fits into the landscape here.

The same bit again, check out how the trail uses the trees to demarcate the turns.

Again, it's quite difficult to see form the picture, but this one shows some of the grade reversals that characterise this section.


The way that the trails look in Rostrevor and how they sit in the landscape is no happy accident - rather, this is a result of a very lengthy planning and design process which took into account a lot of different issues and concerns raised by all kinds of stakeholders. The trail planning needed to take into account minimising the impact of trails on forest services' ability to carry out commercial forestry operations, whilst also making sure that the trails themselves were sustainable in the widest possible sense. 

Consultation with local residents, recreational users groups and crucially, the local mountain biking community helped develop a clear frame of reference that has guided and informed the planning and design of these trails from the start.

Lots of people love Rostrevor Forest, and it's an important local recreation and tourism asset, where people come to run, walk, ride a horse, ride a mountain bike or just have a picnic. It was very important that the development of mountain bike trails did nothing to devalue the place or undermine its importance to the local community. 

With all of this in mind the planning and design of the trails system has centered on minimising the visual and physical impacts of the trails and giving them a naturalistic feel in the hope that this will connect mountain bikers to this beautiful and very special landscape for years to come.

The time spent establishing definitive trail lines and developing very detailed prescriptive plans has enabled Euroservices to fairly and accurately price the trail construction work and for us to monitor and measure the work in a robust way. 

Dafydd Davis
24th July 2012

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