Work Completed on Forest of Dean MTB Trails

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Following some bad weather and delays, the work has now been completed on the trails in the Forest of Dean. The trails will open at 9 AM on 21 August. The trails included in the refurbishment were Countdown, Launchpad as well as sections of the blue on Verderers. Here’s what’s been happening with the improvements.

James Addison, Chairperson of Dean Trail Volunteers

The press release reads.

Rerfurbished Trails in the Forest of Dean

Forestry England is pleased to announce that major work on some of its most popular trails in the Forest of Dean has now been completed.

A maintenance programme worth £77,000 has seen the complete refurbishment of downhill trails Countdown and Launchpad, as well as sections of the much-loved blue graded Verderers Trail. Forestry England has invested around £68,000, demonstrating their continued commitment to mountain biking in the Forest of Dean. Nearly £9,000 was kindly donated by riders in a fundraiser hosted by the Dean Trail Volunteers (DTV) during the pandemic.

First developed as a collaboration between DTV and Rough Riderz, Launchpad was opened in 2014. It is the only trail of its kind in the UK specifically designed for four-wheeled gravity bikes. Countdown was later added by DTV as a top section to Launchpad, both are popular with riders of all abilities. The refurbishment has been carried out in partnership with DTV and will future-proof the trails so they can continue to be enjoyed for years to come, by riders on both two and four wheels.

Earlier this week, Martyn Ashton, professional rider and presenter with the Global Mountain Bike Network (GMBN), was the first person to ride the newly surfaced trails.

The first ride of Launchpad was like jumping on a roller coaster! It has so much flow to it, I was whooping and hollering all the way down. The accessibility is really important of course, but that has been built in without watering down the experience and making it feel lacking in any way. I’m looking forward to coming back and doing more laps that is for sure.

Martyn Ashton.
Martyn Ashton riding Launchpad.

The Verderers Trail, recently voted the best blue trail in England by readers of Mountain Biking UK, has also received some attention with resurfacing work on the first major climb and descent section. Back on Track Mountain Bike Solutions were brought in to carry out the maintenance work across all the trails.

50,000 Riders a Month

The number of people visiting the Forest of Dean to ride on our cycle trails is growing year on year. During the busiest times we can see over 50,000 riders in a month. Whilst this is fantastic, it does take its toll on the trails.

We’re proud that over the last 12 months, Forestry England has invested around £180,000 into Cannop Cycle Centre and the cycle trail network. We work with DTV to make the trails better, safer and more enjoyable to ride. Income we generate from car parking and membership makes it possible for us to make these kinds of investments and we are grateful for everyone’s support, as well as those who donated to the fundraiser. We are very pleased to reopen the trails and we can’t wait to give them a go ourselves!

Kate Thoday, Cycling Manager for Forestry England in the Forest of Dean
Kate Thoday, Cycling Manager for Forestry England riding Countdown.

Dean Trail Volunteers

DTV are delighted that the overwhelming generosity of the public via the crowdfunding campaign in 2020. With the substantial contribution by Forestry England it has allowed DTV, Forestry England and Back on Track to complete a thorough re-development of Launchpad and Countdown.

When the track was first built for 4 wheelers, we couldn’t have imagined how much of a firm favourite it would become. The new trail is a huge improvement. It still retains the essence of everything that has made Launchpad and Countdown the hits they are. We look forward to seeing riders back on the trails for years to come.

James Addison, Chairperson of the Dean Trail Volunteers.

Care should be taken when riding the new sections for the first time. The trails have been completely re-shaped and so will be unfamiliar even to regular visitors. If you are planning on visiting the trails, please ride within your limits and always wear a helmet.

For more on the trails, head to the Forestry England website.


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  • This topic has 4 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by anne.
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  • Work Completed on Forest of Dean MTB Trails
  • Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    Had a look at some of the new bits when we were down there, the berms look absolutely gorgeous, like sculpture.

    Premier Icon granny_ring
    Full Member

    Well done to all involved. Hope to get up there one day.

    Premier Icon alanclarke
    Full Member

    Hope to get up there today, if the rain stops!

    Premier Icon anne
    Full Member

    Brilliant news, trails are a firm favourite and great the detours will no longer be in place.

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