Swinley Forest re-opens after wild fire

Swinley Forest’s trails are popular with mountain bikers

Swinley Forest and Crowthorne Wood have re-opened for riding after the devastating wild fires that burnt through the area earlier this month.

Approximately 200 firefighters from seven country forces fought the fire, which covered about 300 hectares of the Berkshire woodland.

And while Swinley’s trails escaped undamaged, Crowthorne’s riding was hit by the blaze.

“Some of the trails nearest the A3095 have been affected and the forestry have created new firebreaks so don’t expect to ride all your old favourites,” said Paul Howard from Gorrick, who operate the site in partnership with the Crown Estate.

“If you do spot any suspicious activity or fires, however small, please inform the relevant authorities as fast as possible.”

The mature woodland in the area could take up to 20 years to recover, while many areas of heather, grasses and bracken were also stripped bare.

“The purple moor grass and bracken, the heather and gorse are all sprouting in areas where the fire burned across the top of the ground but left the roots intact,” said Natural England conservation officer Des Sussex.

“Where the fire burned down into the ground and destroyed the roots it will take longer, as seeds will have to germinate before the plants return.”


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