Kielder Water & Forest Park has announced work is underway on £850,000 worth of new routes – one of the single biggest investments in mountain biking facilities in the UK.
The Kielder Partnership says work is underway on two new long-distance trails within the 155,000-acre vastness of the NorthumberlandForest. When completed later this year it’ll be one of the biggest off-road networks in the whole of the UK.
The all-weather trails are already being built and will be surfaced with thousands of tonnes of crushed local stone. Wildlife and ecological surveys have been undertaken to ensure bikers steer clear of sensitive conservation sites.
The Kielder authorities state “a 14.2 kilometre blue-graded trail will open up the vast landscape to casual and intermediate riders, while a tougher 18.7 kilometre red route will get pulses racing, taking in higher elevations and linking with the 7Stanes biking centre on the Scottish side of the Border at Newcastleton.”
The blue trail announces itself as ‘the longest route of its kind in England, taking in rolling terrain and offering magnificent views of the Border hills’ and will include a new section of the Lakeside Way, making for a return trip of over 20 kilometres.
The much tougher red route takes in the majestic Lewisburn inlet and involves hard climbs, rewarded with stunning vistas down the North Tyne Valley and a bird’s eye view of the new £480,000 Kielder Observatory.
On crossing the Scottish border it’ll encounter “Bloodybush Pillar” – named after a blood letting encounter between Scots and English in the days when outlaws known as Reivers roamed the area.
Plans for the route also include a 1km section of North Shore to take riders over a wetland area, ensuring bikes don’t get bogged down, while protecting a valuable habitat.
Alex MacLennan, recreation, communities and tourism manager with the Forestry Commission highlighted how the new developments add to existing trails: “Last autumn we unveiled the 670m Deadwater Trail, England’s highest single track route, which has helped us achieve international recognition. This latest investment will provide thrilling new opportunities for bikers of varying abilities, giving unique access to one of Europe’s most majestic landscapes.”