February club meeting minutes 2020

Meeting Chaired by 

Janet Clarke (JC)


Steve White (SW), William Danter (WD), Dave MG (DMG)


Paul Baxter (PB) of Painswick Conservation Group (PCG), Tim Knibbs (TK), James Payne (JP), Dan Edwards (DE)


Adam Wass (AW), Chris Smart (CS)

Minutes taken by 

William Danter

Date & Venue

Wednesday 5 February  2020 at the Royal William


  1. Painswick access
  2. Check previous minutes are correct
  3. January action jobs
  4. New club kit
  5. New website
  6. Membership renewals
  7. Rides & events
  8. Treasurer report
  9. A.O.B

1: Painwick access

One of our members recently received a lot of abuse from a local woman regarding access to the Walkers trails in Painswick.  AW arranged with TK for PB from the PCG to attend our monthly meeting to discuss their work protecting the Beacon landscape, access rights and what we can do to improve relations. For more details on PCB, like and follow their FB page

PB explained why the Painswick Beacon area is so important, particularly the grasslands, which have never been ploughed or improved, so having rare plants, animals, fungi and are a triple SI site (scientific interest).  The local grasslands represent about 2% of the Cotswold grasslands that used to exist 80 years ago, this represents 50% of what is nationally available. The area is being used by an ever increasing number of walkers, dog walkers, horse riders and cyclists which is increasing erosion and putting the whole site under more pressure.

SW asked about the grassland ownership/access rights, PB informed us that this is quite complex with local trusts, nature reserves and land owners. The Beacon is privately owned by the Blow family. Known as a common, so some people think common land, so we can all use it when actually there are many ancient laws and rights.

PB informed us of the crow land common rights of way access. This is legislation that was put in during the 1980s regarding access to mainly upland areas by foot, not horse riding, cycling or motorised vehicles.  So with Painswick Beacon being a triple SI site and crow land, technically the only part we can ride on is the statutory bridal way to the site. The land owner is sort of against biking and not very proactive about doing anything up there.  However, there are trails that everyone knows people ride and there is no way to police it. Natural England are getting more involved in the site as it is seen as being of nationality importance.  

SW asked PB when he refers to Painswick Beacon, what area exactly is he referring to, does it include the woods behind ect.  PB replied if we look at the OS map, the purple border line shows the crow access land in a triangular shape. This is mainly bordered with woodland which hardly existed when PB was growing up. With the collapse of grazing after the last war, the scrub started encroaching on the grass land. The PCG started about 25 years ago to start cutting back the scrub to restore the grassland because it’s so rare.

Painswick Beacon OS map

PB described how he used to ride a big XC loop back in the day and that the sessioning of small areas creates more erosion damage.  He commented that he doubts it is our age group, but they do get problems with people cycling over the greens. SW described our usual route when riding up to the Beacon and then over to the woods.  PB then spoke about riding in Popes wood and how Richard Titan has banned riding in his woods. SW & TK spoke on how there had been a dialogue between BigFootMBC, Cheltenham Cycle Club and the Titans with some permissive cycle routes put in place. This was around ten years ago we think, with Mike Purnell and Jason Ayers liaising for the club.  PB spoke on how Richard Titan had been very upset with cyclist riding over the ancient burial shrine and leaving litter. Once a popular trail, this has not been ridden for a long time now. PB also spoke about the building off massive earthworks off the race track, SW informed him that we do not build any trails and PB replied this sort of building needs to be discouraged. 

SW informed PB that our regular Tuesday evening club ride follows a rotor, starting from the Royal William one week, Cleeve Hill the next ect, so this helps to minimise our impact on the trails.  JC went further, explaining that when we ride one trail, we will not normally be back for another 5 weeks.

SW mentioned we have helped Natural England with clearing ect in the past and would like to look at doing this again as we appreciate our stunning countryside and heritage.  PB said this would be much appreciated and they have work parties every other week. This would help build better relations as well helping preserve our countryside.

PB said they work with Natural England who have been trying to get the lease on the Beacon for a few years and this may come off in the summer. PCG bought the cows recently to graze the beacon which helps restore the grasslands and encourage the flowers and they are looking to reintroduce blue butterflies back.

PB said long term he would like to see recognised trails that were signed and maybe maps for the biking community. This however is his view and the landowner may take another. 

TK said it would be great to have  a continuing dialogue and relationship so we can all live and play in better harmony.  Any problems can be addressed and sensitive areas better protected, so minimising and offsetting our impact.

PB said it would help our cause if we did not ride up to the trig point.  The hill fort is Neolithic and was built around 2000 BC. The stone steps and plastic matting were put in about 15 years ago to stop erosion and stabilise the ground.  People are riding down these and causing more damage. SW replied we could actually do something about that, usually, we ride up to the Beacon, regroup, then ride down again.  It would be easy just to go around and not spoil our fun. PB said if we just walked our bikes down the steps it would be appreciated. Another issue is cyclist riding down the ramparts which cuts unto them so causing damage and undoing the conversation work.

PB asked if we could inform our members of sensitive areas to build awareness. This was agreed and WD said we could maybe help inform the wider cycling community through our connections and placing posters in bike shops.  SW said posters could be put in the Royal William as it is a hub for local riders. PB said this would be very helpful. WD asked if the PCG had an FB page, PG said yes, but it’s not his realm. 

SW and all present thanked PB for his time and we look forward to working together for the benefit of all.

Action, WD to find the FB page and encourage our members to like and follow it.

Action, organise a BigfootMBC work party to help out on some scrub clearing with the PCG.

Action, get PCG email address for the club to keep in contact for an ongoing dialogue

Action, inform members of sensitive areas to minimise our impact 

To summarize

 We have agreed NOT to do:

    • RIDE OFF THE BEACON DOWN THE STEPS (WITH THE PLASTIC GAUSE) This slope at the end of run off the beacon was repaired a few years back, and it is not in good shape. We will need to either walk down, or find an alternative route.
    • DO NOT, AT ANY TIME RIDE ON THE GRASSLANDS. We will need to keep to the paths when we make our way over to Walkers.
    • DO NOT RIDE ON THE FORT RIDGE AT ANY TIME. This ancient fort is thought to date back to neolithic times, and it is being eroded by walkers and bikers.
    • DO NOT RIDE ON THE GOLF COURSE. For obvious reasons

2: Check January minutes

  • All present agreed these were correct

3: January action jobs

Went through action jobs.

    • Action, AW to organise a February social evening
      Not done
    • Action, SW to forward their passwords to JC & DMG
    • Action, JC to hand trophy to WD
      Still to do…
    • Action, SW to contact Kalas regarding 2020 product prices and club web page
    • Action, WD to post a FOD Thursday ride
    • Action, CS to pay for new web hosting
    • Action, SW & JC to hand stickers out
    • Action, SW to make a new club poster
      In progress
    • Action, TK to arrange for the local Painswick conservation group to attend our next meeting for a chat regarding our rights and working together to look after our countryside for all to enjoy in a safe manner.
    • Action, update our tools/assets list
    • Action, SW to archive voting channel
    • Action, WD to add calendar posts

4: New Club Kit order

    • SW has the price list off Kalas, good news! Kalas are keeping the extra discount in place for us that we received last year when our order exceeded a certain figure.
    • Kalas have a new web facility so members can order what they want. This will go to a BigFootMBC check out with the bill being settled in one go.
    • Agreed to offer same kit options as 2019
    • SW still waiting on LL sponsorship confirmation
    • Action, SW to work with Kalas and set the web order page up. Prices will be an estimate until we work out club and sponsor contributions.
    • Action, SW to start kit order asap

5: New Website

    • New website is going to take a few months to build
    • With no comments on the new calendar, we need the Slack voting app on more channels to track who is attending rides and aways days ect.

6: Membership renewals

    • DMG informed us we have 4 new members
    • DMG happy and has access to everything he needs but would like help with comms to inform members about renewals
    • DMG pointed out a typo that needs changing on our renewal form
    • Action, SW to update renewal form
    • DMG has updated and shared the membership spreadsheet with the committee
    • SW said you can now migrate sheets into Slack, a feature we may use in the future
    • Action, SW to order new membership cards
    • We agreed to run the incentive for for early renewals again
    • Action, WD to check our incentives from last year
    • Action, SW to do make renewal graphics

7: Rides & Events

    • WD has posted a FOD Thursday Curry ride for the last week of February 
    • Few members entered the Mini Enduro on March 8
    • WD posted Sat 7 March practice ride for racers and those just interested in riding the stages
    • WD informed us that the next Cheltenham Festival of cycling will be held in  September and we agreed we the club would like to get involved to promote local mountain biking.

8:  Treasurer’s Report

  • CS could not attend so no report.

8: AOB

    • WD said Steven Davies is interested in attending a future meeting to inform us of DTV (Dean trail volunteers) work in the FOD and potential dig days ect. Agreed to look into this later in the year.
    • No progress on a February maintenance evening, something to look at later in the year now.
    • JC asked about future away days. Looking at Gawton away day on April 4-5
    • Action, WD to post Gawton ride
    • Action, JC to order more stickers around April
    • LL demo day tickets going live Feb 14

Next meeting date set for

  • Wednesday  4 March 8-9pm  at the Royal William and posted on calendar
Posted in Bigfoot, News.