by Ben Haworth
March 31, 2009
The North West England Forestry Commission news dude says…
Plans have been announced for a new purpose-built mountain bike trail in Lancashire following a £60,000 funding boost secured by the Forestry Commission.
The Forestry Commission estate at Gisburn Forest, near Clitheroe, will be transformed into one of the county’s premier mountain biking facilities, thanks to this latest investment from Sport England.
The first phase of the new waymarked trails are expected to be completed by summer 2009, as part of the Ribble Valley Sports and Physical Activity Alliance (SPAA). There will be an easy eight kilometre ‘blue’ route for families and beginners and a 22 kilometre ‘red’ course for experienced and expert cyclists.
Outdoors enthusiasts, families and groups can look forward to exciting new singletrack, including tricky boardwalk and downhill features. Parts of the trail offer fine views over Stocks Reservoir and the surrounding Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Singletrack are sections that are only wide enough for one person or mountain biker at a time. Trails that include singletrack are particularly popular with mountain bikers.
Martin Colledge, from the Forestry Commission at Gisburn, said:
“The generous support from Sport England means that we can now progress with our plans to develop the new mountain bike facilities at Gisburn. Set in beautiful surroundings, the new trail will encourage everyone from families and beginners to enthusiasts and experts to get more physically active.
“The new developments will therefore be a great opportunity for mountain bikers to develop their skills or simply go out and have fun.”
David Gent, Sport England Regional Director, says:
“Sport England is delighted to be investing in this trail, which will be making fantastic use of the spectacular natural assets of the area to encourage more people to get active.
“The demand for this kind of facility is huge and I applaud the Forestry Commission, Ribble Valley Sport and Physical Activity Alliance and all the other funders and partners involved for seeing what a priority this is, both for the sport and the region.”
The overall project value for the phase one construction of the new Gisburn Forest bike trail is £180,000. £60,000 has been contributed by the project partners (Gisburn Forest volunteers, the Forest of Bowland AONB, Ribble Valley Borough Council, Ribble Valley Strategic Partnership, United Utilities and the Forestry Commission); £60,000 Lottery funding has come from Sport England.
In addition, £60,000 worth ‘in kind’ donations have been provided, including timber and stone from the Forestry Commission; drainage pipes and geotextiles; and a minimum target of £15,000 worth of volunteer trail building time.
Nigel Pilling from United Utilities, says:
“This scheme will be a fantastic way of attracting even more visitors to the Forest of Bowland, boosting recreation facilities and promoting healthy lifestyles. We are very pleased to support the project.”
Gisburn Forest currently attracts around 30,000 visitors a year, of which 50 per cent of these are cyclists and mountain bikers. It is expected that the number of day visitors will increase to around 70,000 in two years because of the new bike trail development.
The Forestry Commission are working towards providing opportunities for year round visits, as well as developing bridleway and quiet road links that will encourage alternative starting points by cyclists.
As well as mountain biking, Gisburn Forest also offers opportunities for walking, horse riding, wildlife spotting and picnics.
More information about Gisburn Forest can be found at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-6NZE5XNW