BikePark Wales have announced that construction of their first-of-a-kind facility is due to begin next month. The park will be based at Gethin Woods, near Merthyr Tydfil, and aims to be the UK’s premier mountain bike destination with trails to suit all abilities and styles of riding. It will also be the UK’s first large commercial bike park.
Using specially adapted vehicles and a new access road, BikePark Wales is set to offer the largest uplift service in the UK, with a capacity for 75 riders. Other plans include a visitor centre with a cafe, bike shop, rental area, Mojo suspension service centre and pump track. A full time trail crew have been selected to maintain and continually develop the trails, something other trail centres in the UK have often struggled with.
Due to be completed in the autumn, BikePark Wales is a project that dates back to 2008. The team realised that the UK, and South Wales in particular, was desperately in need of a facility of this kind to take the sport to the next level.
Plans have outlined that within five years the area will feature 14 different trails to suit all abilities. BikePark Wales are keen to note that not all of these trails will be built before the park opens, but they envisage that a good number will be open by late 2013.
BikeRadar have been informed that roughly 40 percent of the trails will be blue graded (moderate), with 30 percent red (difficult) and 20 percent black (severe). Plus, there’ll be a green (easy) kids’ loop and top-to-bottom family trail. A few of the trails will be best suited to downhill bikes but the majority will be rideable on mid-travel trail machines.
An architect's impression of the visitor centre
The people behind the idea are BikePark Wales, a group of mountain bike experts with knowledge from all aspects of the industry. They have been supported by Cognation – a partnership between Neath Port Talbot, Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly county borough councils and Forestry Commission Wales. The build is being handled by Back-On-Track, owned by Rowan Sorrell who’s previously worked on trails at Lee Quarry (Lancashire), Gawton (Devon), Llandegla (North Wales) and the Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire). Rowan is also a director at BikePark Wales.
The funding is being footed in part by the European Regional Development fund, Welsh assembly government and partner organisations. The remainder comes from BikePark Wales, its investors and sponsors including Mojo Suspension/Fox Racing Shox, Swift Credit, Shimano, Mountain Biking UK , iXS and Answer.
For more information and further updates on this exciting project, head over to ChopMTB.com.