Woodland Trust is nice to mountain bikers…

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The first ever interactive, searchable online database of over 24,000 publicly accessible woods across the UK is to be created by the Woodland Trust.

The web-site called VisitWoods, will feature clear symbols to indicate to cyclists which woods are suitable for bike users, as well as have car-parks, toilets and free public access.

The project has taken a giant leap forward after securing grant funding of £1.2 million awarded by Natural England through ‘Access to Nature’ – funded by £25m from the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme.

This funding has enabled the Trust to recruit a specialist team which has been tasked with creating the ground-breaking website by autumn this year.

However, the Trust is still seeking sponsorship from companies in the cycling industry, which would be able to promote their support for the information service, which will benefit communities throughout the UK.

Dave Bloor, from the Woodland Trust’s corporate partnerships team, said: “There is a great natural fit between VisitWoods and companies which cater for the cycling industry, because this service will help cycling enthusiasts find new, exciting and appropriate places to ride their bikes.

“They will no longer have to scour an out of date map of the local area, but simply type into their computer where they live and let the VisitWoods website find all of the woods near to them.

“The Trust’s aim is for VisitWoods to become a vital public service brought to life by an inspirational communications campaign promoting woodland to millions of people. Any companies which would like to support the project should contact the Woodland Trust on 01476 581 112.”

VisitWoods will work with at least 20 partner organisations representing young people, older people and people with disabilities to bring woods to new audiences, including working particularly with Action for Children and Walking the Way to Health Initiative.

More info?

The Woodland Trust: The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity.  It has 300,000 members and supporters.  The Trust has four key aims: i) No further loss of ancient woodland; ii) Restoring and improving the biodiversity of woods; iii) Increasing new native woodland; iv) Increasing people’s understanding and enjoyment of woodland.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres).  Access to its sites is free.  Further news can be found

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Chipps Chippendale

Singletrackworld's Editor At Large

With 22 years as Editor of Singletrack World Magazine, Chipps is the longest-running mountain bike magazine editor in the world. He started in the bike trade in 1990 and became a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the last 30 years as a bike writer and photographer, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish, strengthen and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

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Comments (19)

    Excelent! I’ve been a member for a while because they’ve always had a pretty relaxed policy when it comes to access.

    anything but relaxed ime, banned from local woods, attempt to downgrade paths etc.

    maybe it comes down to the regions?

    that is brilliant. The woodland trusts are planting lots of new woods too so bodes well for future generations. It’s good to see some joined up thinking – encouraging mtbers who generally have spare disposable income will help their cause.

    Any idea when the website is going to be available?

    As stated, the website is being designed to show the woods that are usable by cyclists. The article didn’t say Woodland Trust say all their woods are open for mountain biking/cycling.

    But making it clear which are available can only be a positive step. It also demonstrates their awareness of a specific user group, so may be integrated in future decisions.

    Funnilly enough, they’re one of my customers… They say that they’ll close off endangered or at risk woodland, which is fair enough, but that as a rule they want as many people in the woods as they can sustain. Seem like a good organisation in general, a bit hippy perhaps but that’s OK.

    £1.2million for a website!?

    I’m with mrmo. Always found the Woodland Trust very unwelcoming and have experienced the bridleway downgrade thing. Have never supported them for that reason.

    Will be interesting to see how some of the other groups that ‘enjoy’ Woodland Trust managed woods react to the news. IMO good news but as said, not all woods will be suitable for cycling use. They manage 2 areas of our woodland and cycling is prohibited on one of them.

    I have a foot in both camps on this one. Regularly walk the dogs in various WT woods and so am a member, but have been made to feel unwelcome when using the mtb with path erosion cited as the reason.

    I’m sceptical but I’ll use this as a spur for our local cyclists to attempt to get the huge potential of our local WT woods exploited. There’s no FC woods in our ares but the WT has some lovely prpoerty.

    As the man said, “£1.2m for a website?” – consultants-ville. I’ll do it for £100k.

    Cheers, al.

    One of the best bits of my local singletrack is on WT land. They are not happy about people riding there. To be fair, we are talking footpaths though, and erosion is an issue. But on the other hand, its a turn of te century stone mine site near a major town, not exactly an ancient woodland.

    I got some anti-bike stuff taken out of our local management plan. It was just boilerplate text pasted in multiple places, after a minor issue with some kids digging jumps. The jumps are long gone and the land’s nicely recovered – you’d never know riding past em now 🙂

    I think they were pleased someone had read the thing actually. They were quite receptive.

    This new plan and website will of course have a very long list of woods unsuitable for cycling…

    I recently did some voulentary tree planting for the woodland trust,As a keen mountainbiker its great to put something back into the countryside, and I would urge others to do the same.

    Doesn’t their website already map all of their woods and describe access rights for each one?

    Here’s one close to me

    Not sure where this 1.2 million is going. I’d love to know more.

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