Words: Andrew Bilsborrow

Photos: Andrew Bilsborrow, Alex Gunn, Tom Hewins, Dave Camus and getabmx


The trails are in Gods own country, Yorkshire. If you want a more exact location, do some detective work and I’m sure you’ll be able to find out.

History of the trails:

According to many of the friendly locals I get chatting to as they walk past the trails, the spot we build on has been used for many years as a bit of a playground for kids on bikes. The whole woodland is full of bombholes, little hills and natural jumps so you can see why. To the best of my knowledge that’s how the ’Monkey Bumps’ name came about although we have no idea when or who came up with it. The trails were properly started by Sheffield BMX legend and all round nice guy Ed. It was that long ago that I can’t remember exactly when, but around ten years ago. They started out as just one double, where the idea was to leave that in place, see if it got destroyed and if it wasn’t then build more. Luckily that jump lived and so the trails started to expand. At that time it was mainly Ed and John Vardy who did the spadework, along with me when I could be bothered. The trails were just getting to a semi decent size with numerous jumps and three different lines when the council decided to plough them. At the time we had no warning, no idea why and were all pretty devastated. Again I’m shaky with dates but I think this must have been around 2005.

We later heard that a jogger had been running through the woods and had tripped and fallen down the roll-in. So for the sake of liability they came in and ploughed the lot. The thing that got me was that the roll-in was completely natural. It was there before we started digging, it was still there after the trails got ploughed and it’s still there now! What they hoped to achieve, I have no idea.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I got involved again when some of the current builders started digging there again. Since then they’ve been going from strength to strength and whilst we don’t have official permission I have heard from a source that the powers know about them and are happy that the woods are being used for something constructive. Fingers crossed they’ll be around for a while to come yet!

The trails are pretty low key on a national scale, as we haven’t ever really had any proper jams or coverage in the magazines but with each year our digging skills improve and we build better stuff to ride so who knows what 2012 holds!

Describe your trails:

Currently we have two lines one six jumps long, the other five. These include left and right hips, step ups, a trick jump and some fun berms and rollers as a return line. The jumps vary from about three feet high to just over seven foot with various sized gaps.

There is a mini line as well to try and entice the next generation of builders. It consists of a little table, a roller and a couple of spines and is actually quite a lot of fun.

Main diggers/locals:

Bob Coulthard, Dean Dobson, Milan Recknagel, Tom Hewins, Geof Hibberd, Sam Marples, Luke Oldfield and rumour has it that Ol ’Danger’ Green once lifted a spade some years ago though nobody can be sure. (Ed note: Steve Artus also does the odd bit of spade graft).

Updates/changes for 2012:

The ’middle line’ as we know it (we’re not great at creative names) got built up a bit with bigger jumps, and a few minor changes to the layout to try and improve the flow. Also a lot of work went into reinforcing landings and take offs to try to reduce the amount of maintenance required later in the year when everything dries out.

The right or ’Bob’s Hat’ line is completely new. It has a slightly different feel to the middle line with a wider variety of jumps finishing in a trick step up. It’s not been fully ridden yet but early indications are promising.

Long term trails/digging goals:

Same as any trail builders really, build more, bigger, radder jumps.

I would like to ride your trails. Are they open to the public or private/invite only? Is there a local I can contact to ask to ride? And does it matter whether I ride a BMX or a MTB?

Sorry VIP access only. You must fall into one of the following categories to ride:

A. You’re a big time pro with at least two part sponsors and a major frame sponsor.

B. You’re a die hard trail builder and have proof of a minimum of 100 hours digging this winter.

  1. C.Your girlfriend/sister/mother is hot, and you bring her with you.

Only kidding, anyone is welcome BMX, MTB, penny farthing. Just come and say hello to us and DON’T LEAVE YOUR LITTER! We have a new rule this year, anyone caught leaving litter will be given an empty plastic bag and made to fill it with litter, so don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Facebook group here

Nearby spots:

There aren’t any other spots that are really local but we do try and get over and see the guys from GYPO in Cleethorpes whenever possible and I’ve also had the privilege of riding Villij a couple of times over the past few years.

Any jams or contests going on at your trails this year?

There’s nothing planned as we speak but you never know what the future holds.

Anything else you’d like to add?

If you do come and visit, please bring a bottle of water for the jumps. They dry out so much in the height of summer and the nearest water supply is not as near as we’d like.

Ed note: Make sure you pack your pump, I don’t mean the type to inflate your tyres... They’re naturally pump heavy as they are sit on flat ground, but they flow well with lots of hips, and since some big digging sessions over the past couple of weeks the trails will be more boost friendly and a little easier as the first two jumps in mainline have grown. The edition of the new right hand line that sprung up over winter with a trick step up jump at the end should see some crazy tricks going down (or at least being attempted). Friendly locals on all wheel sizes.

Jam write up from March 2012 (jumps have changed slightly since)

Photos and videos below:

Monkey Bumps