The Chickshore has been reprieved, but not all the constructions can stay
The Beds Fat Trax site at Rowney Warren (aka Chicksands) is an enormously popular spot, largely because there’s a bit of eveything in a fairly small space – an XC loop, duel course, jumps and of course the “Chickshore” wooden constructions. Chickshore is one of very few fully legit, fully insured, Shore-style areas in the UK, and exists thanks to the formal agreement between Beds Fat Trax and the Forestry Commission. FC let Fat Trax develop and maintain bike stuff as long as it provides public liability cover. So far so good.
But earlier this month the 2006 insurance renewal from British Cycling dropped on to the Beds Fat Trax doormat, containing a new clause – wooden constructions were specifically excluded from the cover. Other insurance options were investigated and found to be crazy money. Which left the club with a big problem. If it just renewed the insurance it’d be in breach of contract with FC and directly liable for any claims. It couldn’t afford any other insurance, which appeared to leave only one option – pull down all the constructions.
Clearly Fat Trax didn’t want to do that, so discussions with local FC bod Steve Knight and landowner Southill Estates quickly ensued. Both were very supportive of the club’s efforts, and thankfully a deal has been struck. FC have taken on the liability for Chickshore, so the club isn’t dependent on its BC insurance. This means that all the constructions will have to meet FC standards, so it’s likely that some of the older ones will have to come down and others may need rebuilding in the future, but essentially Chickshore has been saved.
The deal will last for six months (it’s inextricably linked to further discussions about the lease on the woods going on between FC and Southill), during which time a long-term management plan will be worked out. Meanwhile Club President Helen Mortimer is trying to resolve the insurance issue with British Cycling. So they’re not out of the woods yet (so to speak) but it’s looking a lot more hopeful than it did.
Beds Fat Trax chairman Ian Redgwell is clearly relieved: “A very big thanks to The Forestry Commission (especially Steve Knight) for stepping in and helping us out on this one,” he says.
Find out more at www.bedsfattrax.org.