Whinlatter Forest Park near Keswick is the latest patch of Forestry Commission woodland to get the purpose-built trail treatment, with planners at the Lake District National Park Authority giving the nod to a £500,000 project that will also include a treetop rope bridge/zip wire adventure course (not to be negotiated by bicycle, obviously).
The new trail will be 19km long, including 15km of new singletrack. Apparently this will make it the “longest purpose-built trail in the Lake District”, although as far as we know that just means that it’s a bit longer than The North Face trail at Grizedale. That trail has, we’re told, been a “big success story”, and like Grizedale, Whinlatter will also get a Go Ape high-wire forest adventure, including rope bridges, tarzan swings and zip slides up to 40 feet up in the trees.
Graeme Prest, Forest Management Director for the Forestry Commission, said:
“We’re delighted that these new facilities will now be developed at Whinlatter. Thousands of people who visit the Forest go mountain biking but up to now there has been no purpose built bike trail. This new trail will therefore be a great opportunity for mountain bikers to develop their skills or simply go out and have fun.”
The new trail will be built (in the sense of project managed – he’s not going to dig the whole thing singlehandedly…) by Hugh Clixby. He’s previously constructed trails for the Forestry Commission at Dalby in North Yorkshire and Cannock Forest in the West Midlands. It will be sponsored by clothing company Altura, while on-site bike hire will be provided by Cyclewise from Penrith.
Significant funding will come from the North West Regional Development Agency, and the new facilities will lead to the creation of 10 new jobs as well safeguarding 12 existing jobs. Completion of the project is expected by Summer 2008.