Just as I thought 2020 couldn’t throw any more curved balls, I get the news that Aston Hill Bike Park won’t be re-opening after the second Lockdown and that it will have to close for 6-8 months so that the large number of ash trees with ‘chalara ash dieback’ can be felled by Forestry England.
Aston Hill Bike Park has been the home of my Firecrest Mountain Biking business in various forms for 23 years, so in many ways I see Aston Hill Bike Park as a ‘member of my family’. I have spent thousands of hours on ‘the Hill’ riding, racing, promoting Races, trail building and skills coaching. It has generated so many good memories, friends and standout moments which means this news has been a devastating blow, especially coming on the back of such a challenging year with the Covid-19 Pandemic.
For 22 years I have run Mountain Bike Skills Courses at Aston Hill Bike Park, returning to run them full time again from 2015. Firecrest Mountain Biking is my sole source of income so my first thoughts on hearing the news of the closure was to source a local alternative. Fortunately the staff at Rushmere Country Park on the outskirts of Leighton Buzzard, 15 miles from Aston Hill, have welcomed me with open arms. It’s a fantastic venue for my Mountain Bike Skills Training. What it lacks in the elevation we enjoy on Aston Hill it makes up for with a series of short feature filled ‘gravity trails’ and a winding 6 kilometre cross-country trail that has some excellent sections for training.
The best news is that I can continue to offer my full programme of Skills Courses and Training for riders of all ages and abilities across the mountain bike disciplines of Downhill, Enduro and Cross-Country. The even better news for those that found the ground conditions, particularly in the wet, challenging on Aston Hill you’ll be pleased to hear that Rushmere Country Park sits on the Greensands Ridge and has very similar ground conditions to Woburn/Aspley/Chicksands with the sandy loam surface offering up lots of year round grip.
If you have a Course booked I’ll be in touch with all the details you need on your booking and the new venue.If you haven’t got round to booking your Course find out more on our website www.firecrestmtb.com . I look forward to seeing you for some training in the future at Rushmere.
Firecrest is not leaving Aston Hill for good. The silver lining to this cloud is that this is a chance for Aston Hill Bike Park to get a much needed make over, refresh the ageing trails and new trail sections to be added. With heavy machinery coming in to carry out the felling works there will be some sections of trail that will be unrecognisable once the the trees are gone. Over 300 plus trees of concern are peppered across the Hill and other trees are being thinned to improve the woodland ecology. Aston Hill will look a little different when we return which should offer up some great options when it comes to refurbishing the trails.
I’ll be working with Bike Park Chilterns CIC (Community Interest Company) to ensure Aston Hill Bike Park can come back better than ever and we can get back to riding the trails that we’ve all come to know and love and with an added new twist. Keep an eye on my social media feeds for updates, the latest on the work being carried out on Aston Hill, and the Skills Courses I’m running at Rushmere Country Park.
See you on the trails!