Using the Viking Trail in wet conditions

Viking Trail users:
Despite several subtle hints being posted about using The Viking Trail during wet weather conditions there does seem to be several riders who have either missed or ignored them so we thought it best to inform folks of the reasons why we discourage its use in these circumstances.
Being a “natural surfaced trail” it will not withstand excessive use when wet as it is easily damaged due to the make- up of the ground. The more it is ridden when wet, the more it gets cut-up and as a consequence it takes much longer to dry out again for re-use and thus more maintenance is required to get it back to standard.
It has come to the stage where those who repair the trail have become so disillusioned that they are considering whether it is worthwhile continuing with what seems like a futile effort to keep the trail maintained to an acceptable standard when some riders treat it with such little respect. Entries on Strava along the lines of this one from Sunday “Morning Ride, a muddy Viking Trail. Love it!” have been the final straw especially as you had to drive through flooded roads to get to the forest following an overnight downpour. You can get updates on the trail conditions from our Twitter feed or from the forum link and there is also the facility to add notes as to any particular problem areas you have found. This information is only as good as the last update so please “ride and report” if you can and also consider the weather conditions since the last update was posted as it could be either wetter or drier.
With so many other places to ride either in the forest or elsewhere along the coast it’s still possible to get your weekly fix on the MTB without using the VT. The marked trails at Thetford are much more weather resistant due to their construction materials so this maybe somewhere else to consider as a riding location.
We are not trying to be “kill-joys” and none of us mind a bit of mud but riders have to consider all elements of mountain biking: The following is taken from the IMBA riding guidelines:
“Respect the landscape
Respect your local trail builders and be a good steward of the physical environment. Keep singletrack single by staying on the trail. Practice Leave No Trace principles. Do not ride muddy trails because it causes rutting, widening and maintenance headaches. Ride through standing water, not around it. Ride (or walk) technical features, not around them.”
This is an annual problem which we cannot solve on our own as it needs the cooperation and understanding of the trail users to improve the situation given the current popularity of the trail and the influx of riders from other disciplines at this time of the year.
If you would like to see how much effort goes into trail maintenance you are welcome to join us on a Wednesday (most weeks) or a Sunday session (for larger projects). A trail make-over takes about 1 man hour for every 2 metres of distance. Please message for Wednesday details and check Facebook or the forum for Sunday sessions.
No doubt we will get some flak from this message but we are open to replies as to people’s views on this issue and perhaps some suggestions of how to improve the situation so we can keep the trail open and enjoyable throughout the year.
Thank you for taking the time to read the above……….

Steve Saunders (chairman)
John English (trail building coordinator)

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