Gisburn Forest 

Riding - Lee and Cragg Quarries

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Key Information: Lee Quarry is not your usual trail centre, think of it as more of a massive oversize playground for mountain bikes. An ideal place to challenge your existing skills and improve them.

The quarry is packed with drops, berms and other technical features you can spend all day sessioning. Lee Quarry can also be combined with Cragg Quarry to provide more of an XC route of around 17km. Other routes including the Mary Towneley Loop and the network of bridleways across Rossendale can also be easily accessed from the quarry.

How to Get Here:
Futures Park
For Sat Nav:

Futures Park OL13 0BB

From the South / West:

Come up the M66 from Manchester staying on it when it becomes the A56. Head for Rawtenstall. At the huge roundabout with the fire station in the middle head for the 4th exit onto Bocholt Way (Tesco will be on your right). Take the 2nd exit at the next mini roundabout and continue on Bacup Road (A681) until you get to Waterfoot. Go straight across the mini roundabout in Waterfoot staying on the A681 which becomes Newchurch Road. Straight across at the next min roundabout through Stacksteads. Pass JJO's factory on your right and Futures Park is 200m on your right.

From the North:

Come in on the M65 to junction 8. Take the A56 south. At the first major roundabout take the 2nd exit staying on the A56. Take the exit slip to Rawtenstall, Tesco on your right. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit to theA681 Haslingden Road. At the huge roundabout with the fire station in the middle head for the 3rd exit onto Bocholt Way (a second Tesco will be on your right). Take the 2nd exit at the next mini roundabout and continue on Bacup Road (A681) until you get to Waterfoot. Go straight across the mini roundabout in Waterfoot staying on the A681 which becomes Newchurch Road. Straight across at the next min roundabout through Stacksteads. Pass JJO's factory on your right and Futures Park is 200m on your right.

From the East:

From Todmorden take the A6033 south until you see the railway bridge on your right. Take the turning under it onto the A681 Bacup Road. Follow this road over the hill and down into Bacup. At the roundabout go straight across staying on the A681 which has now become Market Street. You'll see Futures Park on your left after approximately a mile.

Black line Lee Quarry

Downloads:

Trail Map
.gpx File

Trail Status:

10-09-13 - All trails are currently open.

Please be aware that the quarries are quite exposed and conditions can change quickly. Take particular care if it is windy. As Lee Quarry is north facing snow and ice can linger for longer than in other parts of the valley.

Lee Quarry also regularly hosts various events which can mean some of the trails may be temporarily closed, please co-operate with event organisers if this is the case.

Emergency / Mobile Reception:

Mobile reception is patchy and generally not good in the quarry. Generally the higher up in the quarry you are the better the reception, i.e. up by the information sail at the top of the three descent lines.

Main grid reference for the quarry is SD 864210, in the event of emergency ring 999.

Parking:

Park in the car park behind Futures Park Offices. Parking is free. Please park responsibly ensuring you don't block access for other users. Please also be aware of residents who live locally, especially if you're riding in the evening.

Facilities:

There are currently no facilities at Futures Park (although ambitious plans are being hatched).

Food:

Immediately opposite the entrance to Futures Park is Poppies Deli Cafe which is mountain biker friendly.

Bike Shop:

Ride On in Rawtenstall is the closest and best bike shop locally. Turn left out of Futures park and head back into Rawtenstall.

Accomodation:

Rossendale Pennine Adventure based in Waterfoot can provide accommodation and food for overnight visits.

Marmalades B & B on Newchurch Road in Stacksteads, less than a mile from Futures Park and run by mountain biking hosts.

Bike Hire:

Ride On in Rawtenstall or Rossendale Pennine Adventure can both provide bike hire locally.

Key Contact:

Tony Lund, Environmental Projects Officer.
Tony.Lund@lancashire.gov.uk

07.01.13 - When's a Trail Centre not a Trail Centre?

About eighteen months ago an idea started to form off the back of comments being made on forums about riders who only ever visit trail centres, who miss out on the joys of natural trail riding. We've nothing against trail centres, they're great and we'd love to see more, but there is another side to riding a lot of people don't see. It started us wondering why some people only ride trail centres, is it not having to navigate from a map, is it having facilities at the start and end of a ride, is it wanting to know the route is rideable, is it lack of local knowledge. Well it's more than likely a combination of all these things plus a little bit of fear of the unknown.

Singletrack Magazine Trail Guide Map

At the same time more and more people were asking where else they could ride when they come and visit Lee Quarry. This struck us as odd if you know how much riding there is locally to quarries and further afield, much of it fully legal as well as cheeky. The penny dropped, what we needed to do was plan out some routes using the existing bridleway network, produce some maps, get some way markers on the ground and ideally start them from Futures Park. Trail centre riding away from the trail centre. Hopefully we can get people who wouldn't otherwise venture out to give natural riding a bit of a go without having to spend hours peering at the OS maps.

Rolling Boar RoutesSo we put 8 routes together, varying from 15 to 35 miles in length taking in Rossendale, Calderdale, Burnley and Rochdale. Tony Lund picked up the baton and he and Bill Brady rode the proposed routes to check their viability and legality (nice work if you can get it). The verdict was good although the trails themselves were a little worse for wear in a few places, there's natural riding and then there's a slog fest. Tony than had another good idea. Seeing as we were proposing a number of 'new' routes we should be able to get some funding, and not just for the maps and waymarkers but for trail upgrades. Normally it's all but impossible to secure funding to maintain and repair the existing bridleway network but as these were new routes it was an ideal opportunity to try.

Sometime later and some of the required funding has been secured and work has started on a number of repairs and improvements. The first chunk of work has been completed repairing a washed out ascent up to the Halo panoptican via Duckworth Clough. What was a pretty washed out trail has been made rideable both up and down, and judging from the stream crossing pictures below hasn't ended up fully sanitised. Work is soon to start up on Deerplay Moor for the next set of improvements


Repairs to Duckworth Clough

We're hoping to have all the work done, maps produced and signage in place in time for the opening of the new trail hub in Futures Park (probably early 2014). In the meantime PMBA members can access .gpx files and .pdf maps of the routes below (not a member, sign up online).

List of routes in .pdf format. The .pdf maps are fairly large files and may take a while to download on a slow connection.

To download the .gpx files right click them and select Save Target As... otherwise your browser will open them as a text file.

 

Route Name Link to .gpx File Link to .pdf Map
1 Rossendale North East Loop .gpx file .pdf map
2 Rossendale North West Loop .gpx file .pdf map
3 Rossendale North East Loop 2 .gpx file .pdf map
4 Rossendale North Loop .gpx file .pdf map
5 Rossendale North Loop 2 .gpx file .pdf map
6 MTL North West .gpx file  .pdf map
7 Rossendale South East Loop .gpx file .pdf map
8 MTL South .gpx file  .pdf map
 

Other News

06.11.12 - Lee Quarry Trail Head Hub
23.07.12 - New Wind Farm Proposed above Lee Quarry
26.06.12 - Mountain Bike Orienteering at Lee Quarry this Weekend
23.02.12 - London 2012 hopeful to host Mountain Bike Masterclass at Lee Quarry
19.02.12 - New Lee Quarry Trailhead
20.12.11 - Lee Quarry Dirt School - Available to Book NOW
12.12.11 -
British XC Olympic Team Train At Lee Quarry
07.12.11 - Haglofs Open 5 at Lee Quarry Event Report
18.11.11 - Dirt School Comes to Lee Quarry
11.11.11 - Open5 Series Comes to Lee Quarry
26.08.11 - Lee Quarry Update
01.08.11 - Lee Quarry Plans Visitor Centre (online survey)
06.07.11 - New Map for Lee and Cragg Quarries
31.05.11 - Lee Quarry Complex Expansion Plans
19.04.11 -
Lee Quarry Update
07.04.11 - Lee Quarry Repair Dig Day
26.03.11 - Riders needed at Lee Quarry to be on the Telly
21.03.11 -
Lee & Cragg Update
18.02.11 - Construction Underway in Lee & Cragg Quarries
05.02.11 - British Cycling at Lee Quarry

The Trails

The quarry has one main loop with a black option and a number of skills areas and pump tracks.

The outer red loop is approximately 6km including the climb up from the car park and can be done in around 20 to 30 minutes. Most people will make several trips around the loop, sessioning sections and detouring off to play on the descent lines, black options or pump tracks.

Click on the map below to download maps of Lee & Cragg quarries in .pdf format.

Lee Quarry Map

The question everybody asks 'will I look silly padding up for Lee Quarry' and the answer is it's rocky, it's unforgiving and apart from the odd sheep there's not a lot of soft landings in the quarry.

Lee Quarry MTB Trails from Whitenosugar Productions on Vimeo.

 

History of the Trails

Trail building at Lee QuarryThe first of the trails were developed in 2008 starting with the basic 4.5km red loop with a 1km black loop coming off the red half way around. The trails were designed by Dafydd Davis with the addition of the first skills area and some trials areas built with the help of Ali Clarkson. Short and sweet and very rocky probably summed up this initial phase of building which generated some great review in MTB press.

In 2009 Rowen Sorrel got involved and added some of his signature flowing single track and berms giving us the rollercoaster section. 2009 was also the start of the Brownbacks race series and the first year the Singletrack Weekender was held in the quarry. Early 2010 saw further work on the trails adding new sections including the three descent lines in the middle of the quarry and the first of the pump tracks. 2010 also saw the openning of the trails in Cragg Quarry.

2011 finally gave us the link between the two quarries, the second pump track and even more drops and skills areas.

There's more planned for 2012, work has been underway to bring a further quarry, Facit, into the mix and plans are afoot for a proper trailhead and facilities at Futures Park. There's also plans to waymark a number of natural routes all starting from Futures Park getting riders out of the trail centre and into the surrounding hills.

The Trails

Access track to Lee QuarryStarting from Futures Park you climb up the track to gate into the quarry. From the gate there is yet more steep climbing up the section known as the Tramway, bear with it is worth the climb. At the top you switch back left on a track to the left which although technically double track will still test your choice of line. At the point this track starts to pass through the spoil tips there is a section of singletrack leading off to your left. This is a really good point to stop, put your lungs back in and turn around and admire the view across Rossendale.

Trail MarkersThe trails are way marked but in places this can be rather subtle. Look out for the red and black marker roundels, most are mounted on rocks at the side of the trail.

Once you're breathing normally again head up the singletrack, cross the double track and get back on to the singletrack again. The trail curves around to you right skirting the spoil tips and brings you to the rock ascent. This might be the first section you decide to session, attempting to clear the climb without dabbing. At the top the trail hairpins back on itself to the right and becomes a ribbon of singletrack running along the top of the spoil tip you've just ridden around. The trail bears to the left and brings you to the first black option. Here you have a choice of stay right and follow the red graded trail or go left and drop down the steep and rocky descent before shooting up the other side to rejoin the red trail.

Lee Quarry first black option Lee Quarry Black drop

The trail the twist and turns through the old working bringing you out onto a smooth level section that used to be a tramway for hauling the stone when the quarry was working. Follow this past the information point and look out for the trail disappearing off to your left. This is the start of the Rollercoaster section. Almost immediately you'll hit a right handed berm, followed by a left and then right again. This is quickly followed up with another black / red choice. Go left for the black and tackle the three drop offs or go right down a steep and loose descent.

Lee Quarry - The Rollercoaster

At the bottom turn sharp left back up the steep and loose track, this one may have you pushing, seeing as your head is already down look out for the section of fossilised river bed! The top of the climb brings you more rideable singletrack bench cut into the side of the spoil heaps. Several berms later and a couple of table tops will bring you out at the original skills area. Have a play on the rocks and skinnies and admire the view of Rossendale (assuming the cloud is down around you).

Info sail on the descent linesOnce you've finished playing head up the track to the back of the quarry, at the top you'll see the route up to the three descent lines that start at the information sail. There's two red graded lines to the right and a black graded line to the left, all short but excellent for honing your berms skills and generally mucking about. The three lines bring you back out at the skills area but there's a route back up to the top snaking off to your left.

These three lines are definitely worth the time repeating.

Once you've finished drop back to the track and head to the back of the quarry and climb up the steep incline to the terrace over looking the quarry. On the terrace you'll find the start of the link to Cragg Quarry. It's on your left and about the only point you can leave the terrace. There's nearly always a stream flowing across the rail at this point, the start of the link is very natural but you'll quickly pick up the new section of bridleway that'll take you up to Rooley Moor Road and across to Cragg Quarry.

The black line qualifierAt the end of the terrace you'll come to the Qualifier for the main black option. What looks like a jumble of boulders is in fact the start of the black section.

This is a true black graded section, it requires good balance and bike handling skills as it traverses the side of the spoil tips along a series of boulders laid end to end. Get it wrong here and it's a 50ft drop to the quarry floor. The end of this tech fest is a choice of steep and testing drops taking you down to the floor of the quarry. The black route winds through the lagoons and remains of the working on a series of narrow boulder paths before climbing steeply back up a section of double track to rejoin the red route.

 

The red route in the meantime stays high clinging to the sides of the spoil tips and although not as techy as the black option the line is still very exposed with an even greater drop off the edge with nothing but the odd sheep to break your fall to the track below.

Rider on the Ginnel, Lee QuarryThe black rejoins the red at Windy Gap and continues to contour the slag heaps high above the fields below. The trail starts to drop at the Ginnel, a sharp stone flagged left hand berm which shoots you into a rock garden descent.

The trail continues after the Ginnel continuing the dual themes of rocky and narrow clinging to the side of the spoil tips. You eventually come out at a special humped cattle grid which gives you access ot the lower slopes of Lee Quarry.

This last section has a very different feel to the rest of the quarry as there is far less rock and even some trees. More like a traditional trail centre this section is fast and flowing. It starts off contouring across the slopes below the paddock before a sharp left hander takes you a steep descent peppered with table tops and other features. A right handed berms shoots you back right to cross the double track and into the trees. More tight singletrack and sharp corners take you on a fast descent back to the gate at the beginning of the Tramway. From here's it's either back up right to do it again or right back to the car.

Lee Quarry Final Descent

The Pump Tracks

On your tour of the slag heaps you may have glimpsed the two pump tracks nestling in the centre of the quarry. There are a number of ways to get to them, after climbing the tramway at the start instead of turning left follow the track straight on into the quarry. From the red route you can get to the pump tracks from the skills area after the rollercoaster (face north looking into the valley and take the track leading to the left) or from where the red and black rejoin at Windy Gap, retrace your steps back down the track the black comes up.

Lee Quarry - Original Pump track

The picture above shows the original pump track with the drop off lines up behind it, the newer pump track is nestled away below the cliffs off to the left of this photograph.

  Feedback

We all think Lee Quarry is pretty unique but we're always happy to hear your feedback, good, bad and ugly. If you've got something to share with us about the quarry let us know (and we'll put the comments on the site for others to see as well).

Submitted Comments


Hi, I live at the bottom of the quarry and have watched it grow into a very popular biking play ground! I have biked on the quarry from the first trails being installed, it's been a fantastic development and needs to be more and more developed. Think this so far has been a big success and I can see it gets more popular every year, thank you for giving us this play ground in our back garden !!!! - Samantha Hunter

After doing the Mary Towneley last year we heard we past by Lee Quarry so this year we finally headed out from Sheffield. We finally arrived and quickly jumped on the bikes to find ourselves on a lovely climb right in to the heart of a massive play area. The day just got better and better when we found Cragg Quarry with lots of flowing singletrack and if you want technical you can easily find it within a stones throw. Can't wait for my next visit to see what improvements have been added. - John Sylvester

Put simply lee and cragg quarry are mountain biking heaven. - Grant Halliwell

Links

British Cycling

Lancashire County Council

Valley of Stone

Mid Pennine Arts

Rossendale Borough Council

Brownbacks Racing

Adrenaline Gateway

 

Mary Towneley Loop    

Healey Nab

Billinge Woods
Lee & Cragg Quarries
Pennine Bridleway
Rossendale
West Pennine Moors
Hurstwood