On 23rd February 2008 the unofficial mountain bike trails at Longleat woods were closed down by the Longleat estate. This was a massive blow to local MTB community, many of whom had been involved from its creation back in the late 90′s.
Rather than mope about, people rallied together; a club was formed, a committee elected and negotiations with the land owner entered into. Through the hard work of the committee, and many others, the club secured a licence to the land ensuring its future as a local mountain bike facility.
Here are some words from the club founder and Chairman, Andrew Denham, that explain a little more about how things first came about:
Since the late 90′s I, and many others, have collectively spent hundreds of man hours dreaming, planning, raking, digging, cutting, and building trails at that magical spot in Longleat woods. To what affect? Well, aside from blunt axes, broken spades and bad backs we had created a place to ride. We loved the place; every course, every section, every feature they all had memories associated with either building or riding them.
On Saturday Feb 23rd ‘08 the Longleat estate sent some forest wardens down to the trails to wait for any riders that might turn up. Sure enough Ian Crook and I arrived to spend a day repairing the existing trails and building some new sections, as we approached we were told of its immediate closure and politely asked to leave. We were all devastated.
We contacted the Longleat estate to ask if we could negotiate; to our surprise the answer was yes! Paul Grugeon, Dept Land Agent for the estate, agreed to meet me and discuss the future of the spot. His terms were simple; we must set up a club which must indemnify the land owner, pay a licensing fee, and provide an adequate site management plan. So that’s what we did!
As of Thursday 15th May 2008 the area that we’ve loved for almost a decade (now called The Allotment) has been under the control of the Black Canon Collective. This has only been possible due to the sheer enthusiasm and hard work of the many people involved since that sad day in Feb.
Although born from the remains of some wild DH trails, the Black Canon Collective is a mountain bike club in it’s broadest sense, actively supporting and providing for all mountain bike disciplines.