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Published: 20/08/17


final call

After eight years of graft and good times a work of art in a quiet woodland in the Midlands was wiped off the map. I spoke to Matthew Wardle, who started the spot, to gain some insight into what happened.

'I started building about eight years ago on my own then Martin (Wardle) and Chris (Hornbrook) joined about three years later when Martin moved to Leicester and Chris's other spot got ruined. It was just the first woods I found near my house that had enough room to build trails and had a stream.'


How did you get into building and riding trails?

'When we were young me and Martin lived in the middle of nowhere so if you wanted to ride you had to build something to ride. I didn't ride a skatepark till I was nearly 18.

'Why do I build trails? I just enjoy the peacefulness of the woods and having a space where I can create my own ideas is enough to motivate me. I hadn't ridden many spots before we started Woodwardle apart from Halesowen, but most of the lines came about by accident really. Most of the time something will just pop into my head and then you think about it and look at what the land will allow. We learned a lot about building jumps from trial and error and from visiting other spots.'


So what happened in the end? 

'We went up one day and the land owner had put 'private land no trespassing' signs up around the trails. It was the first time he had been into these woods in ten years and was worried about being sued. He wasn't willing to spend the time getting insurance and just wanted it gone.'


What advice do you have for anyone facing a similar situation and what next?

'There isn't much you can do apart from talk to the land owner and hope he's willing to let you get insurance. We have another spot in mind, a better one, so we'll build there if we're allowed or help out at Villij if we can't find another spot.'



Below are a few photos and a video from the final session at Woodwardle the day before the digger came. For more media check out @martinwoodwardle @mattwoodwardle and @chrishornbrookerr

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