A new £250,000 bike centre opens at Kielder Water & Forest Park in Northumberland this weekend. It is part of a bid to make the 155,000-acre wilderness one of Europe’s top outdoor destinations.
As well as offering a huge range of bikes for hire – including top-end machines from Yeti and Lapierre – the centre will stage events ranging from night rides to family sessions and outings aimed at women, school children and corporate clients.
The state-of-the-art facility, built by the Kielder Partnership, will be operated by Purple Mountain, the people who run the bike centre and cafe at Dalby Forest in Yorkshire.
Vicky Griffin, owner of Purple Mountain, said: “This is a massive move for us, but we are absolutely thrilled by the challenge. There’s a fantastic vibe in Kielder Water & Forest Park, with so much happening. The new trails are top-notch and there’s nowhere else in England where you can have such an exhilarating day in the saddle with the added chance of spying red squirrels, goshawks and even ospreys into the bargain.”
Earlier this year a 17km red-graded mountain bike trail was unveiled at Kielder, together with the 26-mile Lakeside Way which is open to bikers, walkers and horse riders. There’s also a 14.2km blue trail for casual and intermediate riders and the challenging “Up and Over” black trail. A trials park is due to open this month.
Elisabeth Rowark, director of the Kielder Partnership, said: “We are forging ahead with brilliant new trails, but we need to match them with world-class facilities and the bike centre fills this role. It will be a magnet for bike fans of all abilities – from novice to expert – and will help to exploit the immense interest in off-roading in Kielder Water & Forest Park.”
The Kielder Bike Centre will open daily from 9am to 5.30pm (6pm in August). To find out more, go to www.purplemountain.co.uk. For more details on bike trails in Kielder Water & Forest Park, go to www.visitkielder.com.
English junior downhill champion Danny Hart is ready to cut the ribbon on the centre