Pic: Jon Sparks/Forest of Bowland AONB
Gisburn Forest, near Clitheroe in Lancashire, has become to latest chunk of Forestry Commission woodland to get funding for a new purpose-built mountain bike trail. £60,000 from Sport England will go towards a family and beginner-friendly 8km “blue” route and a more demanding 22km “red” route.
The first phase of the new waymarked trails are expected to be completed by summer 2009, as part of the Ribble Valley Sports and Physical Activity Alliance (SPAA). The longer trail will include “tricky boardwalk and downhill features,” while parts of the trail offer fine views over Stocks Reservoir and the surrounding Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Martin Colledge, from the Forestry Commission at Gisburn, said:
“The generous support from Sport England means that we can now progress with our plans to develop the new mountain bike facilities at Gisburn. Set in beautiful surroundings, the new trail will encourage everyone from families and beginners to enthusiasts and experts to get more physically active.”
“The new developments will therefore be a great opportunity for mountain bikers to develop their skills or simply go out and have fun.”
David Gent, Sport England Regional Director, says:
“Sport England is delighted to be investing in this trail, which will be making fantastic use of the spectacular natural assets of the area to encourage more people to get active.”
“The demand for this kind of facility is huge and I applaud the Forestry Commission, Ribble Valley Sport and Physical Activity Alliance and all the other funders and partners involved for seeing what a priority this is, both for the sport and the region.”
As well as Sport England’s £60,000, there’s another £60,000 being put in by the project partners (Gisburn Forest volunteers, the Forest of Bowland AONB, Ribble Valley Borough Council, Ribble Valley Strategic Partnership, United Utilities and the Forestry Commission). There’s also £60,000-worth of “in kind” donations, including timber, stone, drainage pipes and geotextiles, making this a £180,000 development in total.
Gisburn Forest currently attracts around 30,000 visitors a year, of which around half are cyclists and mountain bikers. The project partners expect the number of day visitors to increase to around 70,000 in two years because of the new bike trail development.
More information about Gisburn Forest can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/northwestengland.