Building of new single track creates jobs

The Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy MTB Trails is sporting a brand new 2.35km single track on the north-eastern slopes of the Bottelary Hills.


Game fencing on two of the BHRC member farms, Bonfoi and Kastanjeberg dissected the existing trail network, which required a new connecting trail.   The two-phased project spearheaded by Adrian Winsor of Trail Blazers was completed in three weeks within budget and created a total of 106 man-days work.  A team of seven local farm workers (all aged between 17 and 25) were employed for the project.


According to Adrian there is more to trail building than meets the eye.  “Designing single track in the BH is quite challenging as most areas are covered under vines.  What remain are the hilly areas that are quite steep in places.  This requires careful planning that ensures a nice flowy ride while preventing water and soil erosion.  A feature you ride over in half a second could have taken a half day to complete,” explains Adrian.

The first phase of the project involved a new 850m trail across the top of Wolfkloof through challenging rocky and steep terrain covered by Renosterbos. The trail links the red route from Lizard to Ribbok, flows well downhill and has a few climbing turns to help ascend the other side.  A return route along the fence-line enables riders to return to Stellenbosch without riding 17km around the red route.


Phase two of the reroute crossed a disused terraced vineyard.  This fun 1500m trail has an exceptional 23 bends to help climb up the hill making the gain in ascent (almost) effortless. Once at the top, your reward is magnificent 360 degree views for 40kms in any direction. Heading across and down the other side takes you over some challenging hairpin bends criss-crossing a small forest before the route traverses an open wheat field to link up with the existing green and red routes.


Riders can still enjoy to the popular Ribbok until the game fence on Kastanjeberg has been completed.  Riders using Skaapsteker can still access Skilpad via the pink route along the new fence line.   The new Grysbok singletrack runs from Lizard towards Ribbok as an alternative to using Ystervark and makes the steep gradient easier to ride.


According to BHRC manager, Christel Liebenberg, trail maintenance provides an ideal platform for job creation and skills development. “Keeping our 92km trail network in good shape is an ongoing endeavour.  Revenue generated through permit sales is allocated to trail maintenance and alien clearing, while dedicated community programmes and projects such address the socio-economic challenges of the people living and working on the farms within the BHRC.  No funds go back to the landowners that so generously give us access for the trails,” explains Christel.


According to her the BHRC is hoping to launch a youth employment project involving local youths to ride and maintain the trails as soon as sponsors have been secured.  “We would like to offer potential sponsors the opportunity to fund the annual maintenance of a specific section of the BHRC trail.  In return the sponsor would get on-route branding as well as media exposure,” she concludes.