An amazing turnout

Over 400 mountain bikers flocked to Lee Quarry last weekend in a show of solidarity against council cuts.

Lee Quarry has had a troubled few months after it was announced that the service responsible for its maintenance was due to be cut by Lancashire County Council. Sam Hopley, a local mountain biker, organised the Big Day Out last weekend raise awareness that the Quarry was an asset worth saving.

He said: “I was hoping to gain a group of 60 or 70 riders I was amazed when the Facebook page saw over 100 within the first weekend, from there it grew and grew. Around 300 riders joined in for the group photo but I estimate there to be well over 400 who turned up to enjoy the trails on the day.”


Image Credit: Robyn Smith

Lee Quarry opened in 2008 as a 4.5km red loop, since then it has grown to include the neighbouring Cragg Quarry (making a 17km xc loop) and a number of pump tracks and skills areas.

The riders spent the day sampling the trails around the quarry and sessoning the jumps and pump tracks that have been built on the quarry floor.

Hopley isn’t planning on this being a one-off event either. He said: “Moving forward I want to set up a good strong volunteer group to help support the council with dig days and other maintenance. We have already had a litter picking day to clean up the quarry which was a huge success.”

Image Credit: Robyn Smith

Image Credit: Robyn Smith

Marcus Johnstone, County Council cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, has previously said: “We’re hopeful that a solution may be found at no cost to the County Council.” If this solution can be a community of local riders then it looks like Lee Quarry could be saved, let’s just hope the momentum from Big Day Out continues.

We visited Lee Quarry for our April issue (on-sale March 9) – here’s what our man Dan Trent has to say: “If Lee and Cragg Quarries are to have a future, then it is up to us as riders to respect them, to shout about why they matter to us and to get involved with those groups forging partnerships with the authorities who own, and ultimately control, the land.

“When it comes to choosing whether to spend what little money remains on schools and nursing homes, or ‘luxuries’ like mountain bike trail centres, it’s clear where those funds will go. For venues like this to thrive, and indeed survive, it takes more effort than just spinning the cranks. That initial burst has shown the earth can literally be moved on our behalf. Now it’s up to us to keep the momentum going.”

If you want to get involved, visit Lee/Cragg Maintenance Team and also the Lee/Cragg Quarry MTB page.