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Trail building courses (DIRTT)

We are creating a range of courses, starting with a Volunteer Trail Planning, Building and Maintaining Course, to support the sustainable development of trails across Scotland.

Trails associations scotland header Credit Trev Worsey

What is the DIRTT Project?

About DIRTT (Developing Inter-Regional Trailbuilding Training) Project

Mountain biking is growing across Europe and a good proportion of this growth can be attributed to an increasing number of trails that have been purpose-built to meet the needs of mountain bikers. To help ensure this anticipated growth is sustainable, delivers quality user experiences, ensures public resources are effectively deployed and help mitigate against any environmental impact from the location and construction of the trails there is a demand for guidelines and a suite of training courses on trail construction based on a quality assured body of knowledge.

DMBinS is a key partner in this EU Erasmus+ programme that is developing the content, resources, recruiting and training tutors and developing a pilot course aimed at volunteers, largely involved with trails associations.

Volunteer Trail Planning, Building and Maintaining Course

We are currently recruiting and training tutors to deliver our pilot DIRTT course - we expect courses to be online by February 2022.


Volunteer Trail Planning, Building and Maintaining Course

Why do we need the course?

  • There are a growing number of mountain bike Trails Associations which are working as local groups to encourage mountain bikers to be stewards of their local trail networks.
  • Trails Associations have an important role to liaise with landowners/managers and mountain bikers. As such, it is important that they have an understanding of the wider needs of land management as well as the changing needs of mountain bikers.
  • Trails, and trail networks, would benefit from competent and skillful volunteers helping to plan, build and maintain them.
  • Trails Associations, and other local groups, are looking to grow and increase their impact by bringing in more people to help build and maintain trails. TA’s leaders need to be competent and confident to lead sessions which are safe, fun and improve the trails.

What tasks will those who complete the course be able to undertake more competently?

  • Plan a hand-built trail, including its technical trail features, with a GPS of its location
  • Liaise with a landowner and secure permission to maintain an existing or build a new trail using hand tools – likely to require risk assessments, insurance, methods statements and plans, maps
  • Inspect an existing trail and develop a series of maintenance tasks to upgrade the trail
  • Organise a work party (size can vary between location) to maintain or build a new trail using hand tools
  • Remove unnecessary dangerous elements on a trail – brashing branches, fall zones, sight lines (especially on trail exits and crossing points)
  • Build or improve the maintenance of a trail using techniques such as bench cuts and grade reversals
  • Build or improve the drainage of a trail to improve the sustainability of the trail
  • Where appropriate, be able to build commonly used technical trail features, such as berms, table tops, rock gardens, rock armour, stone pitching holes, and eroded areas
Support volunteers to access these courses - donate to Scottish Trail Fund
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