over tHe top? Cyclists who fancy blazing a trail ahead of some of the world’s best riders can try out Honister Pass the day before their heroes. This year’s Jennings Rivers Ride, Sunday 15 September, will take on some of the same roads that the Tour of Britain will follow on Monday 16 September. People of all ages and abilities can choose between four different cycle challenges from a 10 mile treasure hunt for families, a 38 or 55 mile adventure or a massive 75 miles over three Lake District passes. Gavin McDonald, Director of Rather Be Cycling which organises all the cycling aspects of the Jennings Rivers Ride, said: “It’s fantastic to have an entire stage of this year’s Tour of Britain in Cumbria to look forward to and brilliant to see some echoes of the past as well - as the race has visited Keswick before.” Gavin has an encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling history, he continued: “The 1958 Tour of Britain, the race’s original name before it became The MIlk Race had a split stage centred on Keswick on its lap of Britain. Stage 5 of the ’58 race was a time trial from Carlisle to Keswick and Stage 6, the same afternoon, was a road stage. Departing from Keswick, the race took in the climbs of Newlands and Honister passes before it headed south to finish in Morecambe. By all accounts there were a few incidents on Honister - so let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself in that respect. The stage was won by the Belgian rider Norbert
Coreelman who finished alone and well ahead of the chasing peloton.” Entry is via the Cumbria Community Foundation website www.cumbriafoundation.org/riversride - choose between: The Jennings Rivers Ride is a series of four stunning cycle sportives with routes to suit all abilities. The rides start and finish in Keswick and reveal some of the UK’s finest scenery from the heart of the Lake District all the way out to the Irish Sea.
tHe oak aNd tHe asH England’s Ancient Trees under threat. This is the time of year to spot diseases such as ash dieback, but there are plenty of other threats to our ancient trees... The Woodland Trust is concerned that almost 84,000 ancient, veteran or notable trees are in danger from a multitude of pests and diseases. Amongst these are 7,000 treasured ash trees which could be at risk from ash dieback. More than 115,000 trees, some of which have survived for more than 1,000 years, are registered on the charity’s Ancient Tree Hunt website and the majority of these could face direct threats from pests and diseases. Ancient trees are the natural equivalent of listed buildings; they’ve stood for hundreds of years and witnessed historic events while watching silently in the background. Many, like the 11 metre girthed Big Belly Oak in
the Savernake Forest, have played a major role in our history and folklore, and can never be replaced through replanting. There are at least 15 known diseases and pests that pose an immediate threat. These include acute oak decline and the oak processionary moth, phytopthora kernoviae which affects oak and beech, and dothistroma needle blight which affects Scots pine. Austin Brady, head of conservation at the Woodland Trust, said: “Losing some trees to diseases and pests is all part of life and death in the forest, but to lose our precious ancient trees would be absolutely terrible. We need the public to help by getting into the great outdoors, looking at trees and checking them for signs of disease, so we have as accurate a picture of the situation as possible.”
With spring finally here, the next tree to come into leaf will be our iconic ash which is threatened by ash dieback or chalara fraxinea. At this time of year one of the easiest ways to see if a tree is suffering from ash dieback is to look at a young branch and scratch a little of the bark off, if it is green underneath the tree is healthy, if it is brown it is not. Watch out for wilting on the leaves, which may, during summer, become more blackened but still stay on the branch, diamond-shape lesions on the trunk or a balding crown. To find out more about spotting ash dieback and other tree diseases already present in the UK, or to record possible disease in an ancient tree near you download the Tree Alert app or visit www.forestry.gov.uk. To find out more and help save our trees, visit: www.treedisease.co.uk
8 Cycling World | www.cyclingworldmag.com