The NCA Black Dog MTB trail, owned by Bury Council, is located in Philips Park, Whitefield.
In 2009, NCA submitted a proposal to the council for the trail and trail centre. As a result, construction began in 2012, thanks to generous funding from the Forestry Commission. Led by Karl Bartlett of 7Staines fame, IMBA UK designed and built the trail, ensuring its quality and functionality.
Spanning 3.5 kilometres, the trail features a unique figure-of-eight layout. It was among the first flow trails in the UK, providing a thrilling experience for more advanced riders and allowing others to navigate it at a slower pace. With various berms, jumps, and tabletop sections, the trail caters to riders of different skill levels.
Regrettably, no provision was made for future maintenance costs, requiring NCA’s assistance in cutting shrubbery, clearing leaves, and maintaining drainage sections. However, financial restrictions limit what they can achieve without additional funding.
Consequently, the popular local trail deteriorated, becoming hazardous to ride.
Trail Revamp and Maintenance Efforts
In 2020, during lockdown, NCA secured funding to revamp the most worn section of the south trail, specifically the jump section. NCA commissioned Dirt Factory for the bike trail repairs.
Working in partnership with Dan Makin from Dirt Factory and John Thorp from Farmer Johns MTB Park in Marple, NCA closed the trail for repairs and maintenance. The two-month project involved completely rebuilding the jump section and adding new features to enhance the ride. Additionally, undergrowth was cleared, overhanging trees were felled, and drainage points were cleared of mulch throughout the site. The jump section underwent a redesign, incorporating new surface materials to meet the required standards.
Volunteers have been a much-valued asset during the maintenance of the trail, without them helping on the trail much of the work would not have be completed. What a great team! We hope to start a regular volunteer trail crew to assist with the future repairs, to ensure the sites longevity.
NCA have submitted a funding bid to enable the volunteer crew to buy tools to assist with the job, fingers crossed!
During this time, the trail remained officially closed as new fencing and signs were installed. These measures aimed to prevent conflicts and miscommunications between cyclists and walkers, addressing past issues. Clear signage indicated the trail and footpaths, promoting safety and reducing the risk of accidents.
Trail Opening Event
On September 5th, we officially opened the trail. Dirt Factory was present with their airbag, allowing riders to use it at their own risk.
Local cycle clubs, cycle retailers, and community groups already based in the park were invited to attend.
Following the trail’s opening, NCA began offering bike courses and training. These opportunities enable individuals to improve their skills, become instructors, or volunteer for future maintenance efforts.
We extend our gratitude for your continued support of the trails at Philips Park. By working together, we can ensure everyone enjoys the park’s offerings in the future.
Jools – NCA Director, the Team, and volunteers at NCA