Following on from our last blog, the new sections of trail at the Ballyhouras are now OPEN!

The maps at the trail centre are yet to be updated, but pop in to have a word with Declan and the guys at Trailriders and they'll be able to point you in the right direction. Please remember - the trails will be closed to the general public on the 14th and 15th June 2014, as they are hosting the European Marathon Championships.
Another piece of good news for fans of the trails is that the long boardwalk section on the brown trail is being replaced by Ecoplastic boardwalk plus a section of trail, and the boardwalk section near the Ballinaboola crossroads on the white loop has also been replaced by trail. This is due for completion in the very near future.

Some photos of the boardwalk so far.....





Ballyhoura Forest Park in Counties Limerick and Cork, Ireland has gained a fair bit of recognition following the planning, design and development of a mountain bike trail system back in 2006. The forest is owned by Coillte, the trails were planned and designed by Trails by Dafydd Davis and the funding was put together by the community group Ballyhoura Development

The initial trails were designed to be accessible in order to grow the mountain bike market in Ireland, which at the time was relatively small, and to have low management impacts for Coillte, who needed to continue harvesting timber commercially at the site. 

With an extensive trail system of over 50km at the Ballyhouras, along with another 4 sites which were developed on Coillte land in conjunction (Ballinastoe, Derroura, Curragh Chase and Portumna - see link to map below) and other developments in Ireland, the market has since shown considerable growth.

Coillte Outdoors Map of Sites

So now it's time to step it up a bit in terms of the type of trails at the Ballyhouras. 

Phase 2 includes the construction of a new inward and outward route, a skills area near the trailhead and three new sections of more challenging trails. In addition, detailed designs are being put together for up to 13km of additional trail, to be constructed during a further phase of works.

The construction of the 3 new sections and skills area  is currently underway by Euroservices Contracts - these are to be complete in time for the European Marathon Championships 2014 to be held at the Ballyhouras on the 14th and 15th June 2014.

Happy biking :-) 


Well, there's only 2 months left until completion of the above project - there's a growing sense of anticipation in the surrounding areas, especially among the local riders and businesses. Here are a few photos of recent developments.....



Trails Video

Check out this cool video of the trails Dafydd designed in the Czech Republic :-)

Singletrek pod Smrken

Barnett's Demesne

Here are some pictures of parts of the new Category 3 (Blue Grade) mountain bike trails at Barnett's Demesne, Belfast - this is a seriously sensitive site which is used by thousands of people every day for taking the dog for a walk, going for a run or just to get a bit of peace and quiet. But it's also very heavily used by mountain bikers who have established a network of single track trails throughout the park over a many years. 

However these trails are a cause of great concern to the park management and they are keen to try and manage mountain biking in the park by providing mountain bikers with sustainable alternatives. We are trying to get these trails into this park in as low impact a way as possible and in a way which is sensitive to the way in which people value this place. So that means the creation of super low impact mellow singletrack trails for the most part (which are shown in the pictures) but the development also includes a number of Category 4 (Red Grade) trails and a dirt jump area. The challenge at this site is to make sure we meet the needs and expectations of the many mountain bikers whilst also having as little impact as possible. Hopefully we are well on the way to achieving this.

As you can probably tell from these pictures the new trails are already being heavily used by riders - it's really important that people stay off these trails as they must be given time to dry out, consolidate and compact. Riding them just makes more work for the contractor and prolongs the trails construction process.

Trails Poem

Trails are not dust and pebbles on a hill,
Nor even grass and wild buds by a lake;
Trails are adventure and a hand to still
The restless pulse of life when men would break
Their minds with weight of thinking. Trails are peace,
The call to dreams, the challenge to ascent;
Trails are the brisk unfolding of release
From bitterness and from discouragement.
Trails are the random writing on the wall
That tells how every man, grown tired at heart
Of things correct and ordered, comes to scrawl
His happy hour down - then goes to start
Life over with new eagerness and zest.
Who builds a trail finds labor that is rest!

HELEN FRAZEE-BOWER, 1896-2000, Trails


Well, there's plenty of activity going on over in Northern Ireland at the moment, not least the Mournes MTB project - here are a few more pictures of the progress being made here :-)