The UK Forestry Commission and the Alliance SSP programme are putting £300,000 into new mountain bike facilities for Sherwood Pines Forest Park in Nottinghamshire. Work on the project will start in October and should be completed in 2009.
The park is already the East Midlands' biggest off-road venue, attracting an estimated 250,000 riders each year. But many of the existing trails use forest roads. The new network will be specifically for bikers, reducing possible conflicts with other forest users.
Three new trails will be built as part of the project, with local Cy Turner who runs Cotic Bikes in Nottingham having a hand in the design of the routes. The new trails include a six mile cross country route traversing the forest, an adventure trail of similar length taking riders deep into the historic wood and a three mile surfaced family cycle route. Elsewhere, a skills loop near the visitor centre will give riders a chance to polish their technique and a new bike park will offer more challenging jumps and turns for accomplished off-roaders. Secure bike lockers, picnic areas and shelters along the trails and improved interpretation and signage are also planned.
"We have witnessed an astonishing growth in biking in recent years which has made the forest park the pre-eminent venue of its kind,"said Chris Bray, the forest's recreation manager, in a statement. "But this project will allow us to gear up and offer truly world class and sustainable facilities. That will produce major spin-offs. Encouraging people to stay longer in the area will provide a boost for local businesses. We'll also take the pressure off existing routes which are also used by walkers and horse riders by catering separately for bikers. And not least of all, we will open up new opportunities for healthy recreation as part of our Active Woods campaign."