New trails launched at Gisburn Forest

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Two new trails will be officially launched at Gisburn Forest, Lancashire on 19 September. The 8km blue route and 22km red route are set against the backdrop of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and include what are described as “tricky” downhill and boardwalk sections.

Martin Colledge, from the Forestry Commission at Gisburn, says:

“We’re excited that the state of the art mountain bike trails have now been completed and can’t wait to introduce them to the public. Because there are a range of trails we hope to make Gisburn a must visit outdoor destination for cycling families and experienced mountain bikers alike.”

Over a kilometre of trail was hand-built by volunteer group Gisburn Forest Trail Builders in a contribution reckoned to be worth £15,000. The hand built section of trail is very different in character to the machine built areas. Some visiting riders have commented that it is unique and their favourite section of new trail.

The trails are part of the Ribble Valley Sports and Physical Activity Alliance (SPAA) and were completed with the aid of a £60,000 lottery grant from Sport England. £60,000 was also contributed by the project partners – the Forest of Bowland AONB, Ribble Valley Borough Council, Ribble Valley Strategic Partnership, United Utilities and the Forestry Commission. In addition, £60,000 was provided as in kind donations including timber and stone from the Forestry Commission.

Gisburn Forest currently attracts around 30,000 visitors a year, of which 50% are cyclists and mountain bikers. It is expected that the number of day visitors will 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.

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