Pollard’s Complete Trail Building Guide

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————-6. Additional Stuff————–

6.1 Soil types, pros and cons

(sourced from IMBA: Trail Solutions)

Sandy Soil:

Dry: Loose, feels rough, you can see individual grains of sand.
Wet: Squeeze a handful of it. Sand will form a ball that crumbles apart easily and does not stain your fingers.

Silty Soil:

Dry: It feels smooth and powdery, like flour.
Wet: It feels smooth, but not sticky, and crumbles apart.

Clay Soil:

Dry: Clods are almost impossible to break with your fingers.
Wet: It is sticky, easily forms a ball, and leaves stain on your fingers.

Loamy Soil (BEST):
Mix of various types.

Dry: Clods are moderately difficult to break and somewhat gritty to touch.
Wet: It niether gritty nor sticky; it forms a firm ball when squeezed.


Water-holding capacity:

Sand – Low
Silt – Medium-to-high
Clay – High
Loamy – Medium

Drainage Rate:

Sand – High
Silt – Slow-to-medium
Clay – Very slow
Loamy – High


Sand – Low
Silt – Medium
Clay – High
Loamy – High

Susceptibility to water erosion:

Sand – Low
Silt – High
Clay – Low (if compressed) High (if not)
Loamy – Low

6.2 Tool Storage

I’m going to give you tips on how to store tools around the trail, so that you don’t have to lug them around with you. One way is lock them to a tree, this works when you have something in the tool to put the lock through. When doing this, still hide the tools, just make sure you lock it to tree deep in the forest, but still near-ish to your trail., and remember to bring the key with you! I have forgot a few times and it serious annoys you, lol. If you can’t lock the tool to a tree you have to hide it or bury it, don’t bury something so you can’t find it, I once spend over an hour finding a rake, lol (I found it in the end). Your other tool storage option is to find a storeroom of some kind near to trail to store them in.

6.3 Dealing with social defects (chavs, etc..)

Basically, if you build to near any places chavs (or whatever you call them) chances are they’ll come over and ruin your fun and your jumps, you build as far away from them as possible. If your building and they come over giving you trouble, simply wave your spade at them and hope they go away, if they start trying to nick you bike, beat them to death with the spade (I take no responsibility), or even better, a mattock would definetly stop them screwing with ya.


Thanks for reading (part of) my guide, please post or email you tips or corrections, and providing they sensible I’ll include it in v.2. Also, if there are any sections I may have missed, just tell me.
Please visit and sign up to my forum http://www.southernfreerider.co.uk and discuss this and other trail building techniques there.



About BikeFAT 135 Articles
Mountain Biker, Trail Builder and Bike Tech


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