Work has begun on Grizedale Forest’s first black grade trail, built to increase the Forestry Commission site’s offering to experienced riders.
The waymarked trail, due to be completed in September, will be just over one kilometre long and more than 400 metres has already been handbuilt by 10-15 volunteers, working on average two sessions a week.
Lee Rayton, workshop manager Grizedale Mountain Bikes, is co-ordinating construction with assistance from Forestry Commission staff and believes the Lake District is crying out for a trail to test the area’s best riders.
“There are a lot of people in the area who are experienced riders and they have bought expensive bikes with long-travel suspension which are designed to be ridden hard downhill,” said Rayton.
“However, a lot of these kinds of riders have been leaving the area to ride in Scotland in the Alps as there is nothing purpose-designed to suit their style of riding.
“So we are building this black route to appeal to this kind of rider. It will all be on a downhill gradient and will have jumps and berms but people will also be able to roll down it if they do not want to do the jumps.”
The Forestry Commission, which owns the land and manages Grizedale Forest, has provided tools and materials, while employees have also helped by operating a locally-hired digger.
Katie Jarvis, Forestry Commission recreation ranger at Grizedale, added: “It is fantastic to be working with a group of dedicated mountain bikers who are spending their own time to create something that they, and other visitors to Grizedale, will be able to enjoy.
“They have been making great progress and I am sure that when completed the trail will prove to be very popular with our mountain biking visitors.
“We already have the red grade North Face trail and a fantastic network of bridleways in the forest that are popular with bikers and this trail will be something new, different and exciting for bikers at Grizedale.”