Farmer John's trails
*update coming soon
Words and photos: Matt Talbot
The trails are part of Farmer Johns MTB park in Marple near Manchester. There are 2 sets of jumps there, a big six pack KOD type set that Jamie Johnson's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlCpUXiMdzM) been building up recently and then our trails, which are tucked away down the valley. The rest of the farm features loads of downhill and freeride tracks and different features dotted about like wallrides and north shore stuff. It's a great setup and there are various races and events up there throughout the year, like the infamous race weekend which always seems to go off! The trails are chained though which sometimes conflicts with the farms pay to ride policy, but it’s just to protect the countless hours that have gone into making them, and to stop people altering the jumps or spannering themselves when we aren't around to laugh/call an ambulance etc.
History of the trials:
They were originally started by two salty dudes called Liam and Eddy around 2007 i think. The farm was just starting out and was kind of a local secret. They asked John if they could build some dirt jumps and ended up with a patch of land and an encouraging pat on the back! The lines started off with what is now the mainline, gradually building up down the hill. I'd heard about the place through a mutual friend and popped up out of a bush one day around 07/08, followed shortly by local yoof Alex. Slowly more lines started getting added and rebuilt up to where we are now, with the last two years seeing a lot of changes. Liam and Alex have both since moved to New Zealand so it's Eddy, me and an assortment of other good folk flying the flag these days. It's pretty hard planning proper trails jams around the Manchester weather so we haven't had much luck there. A couple of low key things have been fun though, as have all the good times just chilling with anyone who come down. No magazine coverage yet. It did get berm of the week on the Dirt website a while back which was cool though!
Describe your trails:
We've got three 'proper' lines, but almost everything connects to each other in some way so its hard to tell the main lines apart anymore. It’s quite a compact space we have to work with so we have tried to be as creative as possible in making things link and make it fun to ride with lots of options and transfers. I think there's about twenty odd jumps in total, some small, some big and some quite tech.
Well since Liam and Yoof buggered off Eddy and me are the main diggers really, but notable shouts and thanks to Alex and Scott who have helped out quite a lot over winter too. Other people pitch in as and when too but that’s it in terms of the main diggers.
Updates/changes for 2012:
We have done loads over winter: we got some night digging on the go through a set of lights and the parting gift of a generator from the yoof before he left, which has made it easier to get up after work and not just weekends. It’s pretty weird seeing the jumps at night. This year we basically dug up and rebuilt the bottom of the mainline and added all the new stuff on the left side that was old overgrown lines from a few years ago.
Long term trails/digging goals:
Make the final step-up bigger. After that we can’t really build much more, so the main plan is just to get everything we've got dialled in and looking nice! There are a few crazy looking lines going down the steep hills to the side of the jumps though....
I would like to ride your trails. Are they open to the public or private/invite only? Is there a local I can contact to ask to ride? And does it matter whether I ride a BMX or a MTB?
Anyone is welcome to ride the trails really, but if you just want to turn up unannounced you have to be a member of the farm or get a day pass. If you want to help out digging or dig at another set of trails and want to come and ride then give us a shout on Facebook by searching for the "FJ Trails" group, or through the blog www.digmcr.com.
The trails are chained up so you'll need to find out when they'll be open, but anyones welcome. No wheel size beef but probably a little bumpy if you’er on a BMX.
A few places here and there but there isn't a massive trails scene locally. We just tend to ride ours whenever we can anyway!
Any jams or contests going on at your trails this year?
Yeah, the farm is hosting Round three of this years KOD (www.kingofdirt.co.uk | www.facebook.com/KingOfDirtUK) series. Not sure on the exact plans yet but it's over two days and I think there's gonna be a traditional KOD on Jamie's big set in the field, then a trails jam at ours with best line and style etc. Bit of pressure to get the trails ready and hopefully the weather will be good and we'll get some new riders coming down... Cant wait! We will probably do something at the race weekend in September too.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just some thanks to John for letting us dig up his fields, thanks if you've lifted a spade with us, and also thanks to anyone who has let us ride their trails on roadtrips, particularly Dan at Moos, Jimmy Pratt and the Wisley guys. Thank you for featuring the trails too!