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Cyclists clear trash from trails

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

A group of community spirited cyclists braved the weather this Hallowe’en weekend and got together to tackle countryside litter.

Photo: Scott Patient

The volunteers, from advocacy group Ride Calderdale, social enterprise Cargodale and not-for-profit Trash Free Trails used electric cargo bikes to collect litter at hotspots around the Calder Valley and transported it to be safely recycled.

Collectively the group cleaned up around 60 kilometres of tracks, trails and roadside verges and recycled around 80 kilos of waste. Items recovered and recycled included hundreds of plastic and glass bottles, cans and takeaway containers as well as more unusual finds including a computer, a vacuum cleaner, mattresses and even a piano.

Photo: Rosie Holdsworth

The activity took place as part of Trash Free Trails’ Autumn Litter Watch project which has seen individuals, groups and mountain bike race teams across the UK take action in their local area to clean up the countryside.

Trash Free Trails volunteer Rosie Holdsworth said, “We’ve marked Hallowe’en a bit differently this year with a litter pick. If left to break down in the wild a single plastic bottle can haunt our trails and wild places for thousands of years; some of the litter we collected was older than me. This litter isn’t only unsightly; it presents a real risk to wildlife and livestock as well as human health, which is pretty scary! We all love our local wild places and this feels like a good way to give back to the places which give us so much joy.”

Cargodale Project Manager Antony De Heveningham said, “At Cargodale a lot of our riders are mountain bikers and fell runners too, so we're super excited to help a great initiative like Trash Free Trails. Fly tipping has always been a problem in the countryside, but it's grown hugely during lockdown. Often the rubbish that's left is too bulky to remove easily, but the e-cargo bikes can carry serious loads, they can get up rough tracks and narrow roads, and they're much easier to clean than your typical car's upholstery.”

Trash Free Trails, Cargodale and Ride Calderdale are collaborating on the Autumn Litter Watch project. The project calls on volunteers to collect, document, report and recycle trail-side litter during Autumn 2020. The data collected will contribute to a 5 year Bangor University research project which will, for the first time, capture the extent of the trail-side litter problem in the UK.

Photo: Antony De Heveningham

Trash Free Trails is a not-for-profit company working with volunteers and partners across the UK with the aim of reducing trailside litter by 75% by 2025 and reconnecting people with wild places. They’re a group of mountain bikers, runners, kayakers and outdoor enthusiasts dedicated to reducing litter, taking care of their local wilderness and encouraging others to get involved. Website: www.trashfreetrails.org/

Cargodale is the Calder Valley's low impact delivery service for small businesses. Our fleet of electric cargo bikes can carry up to 80kg each, and deliver shopping, takeaway food and more to Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Halifax and the surrounding areas. For more information, head to www.cargodale.co.uk Website: www.cargodale.co.uk/

Ride Calderdale is an advocacy group aimed at using the collective might of Calderdale’s mountain bike community to improve, preserve and promote access interests for Calderdale’s mountain bikers.