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A team of dedicated volunteers are creating a new mountain bike trail at a Lancashire forest that is helping to support the rural economy.
The volunteers, who predominantly consist of enthusiastic local riders, have already hand-built around 60 metres of the ‘free-ride’ trail in the forest. When completed, in spring next year, the trail will be 400 metres in length and will be used as an area for riders of all abilities to hone their technique.
Permission and support for the trail has been given by the Forestry Commission, which manages the site.
Martin Colledge, Forestry Commission beat forester, said:
“This project is being led by an enthusiastic group of volunteers, which primarily consists of local mountain bikers. They were seeking to create a trail with features that could help them develop techniques that the existing trails within the forest are not able to do.
“Following previous Forestry Commission led work with volunteers that created other mountain biking trails at Gisburn, this local group had the confidence to approach us with their idea for a free-ride trail within the forest, near the village of Tosside.
“I think that it is great that local people are getting together and are willing to work on creating features that will be there for everyone to use. And because they are working in conjunction with us at the Forestry Commission we can ensure that the trail blends in with the landscape and meets safety requirements.”
The Forestry Commission has supported the project by paying for an experienced trail builder to help design the free-ride trail. They have also provided tools and equipment as well as a trained forester who used a chainsaw to clear a path through the trees.
One of the leading forces behind the new free-ride trail is Ed Oxley, who has started a business – Great Rock – providing mountain biking skills training using the trails within Gisburn Forest.
Mr Oxley said that the mountain biking trails built by volunteers working with the Forestry Commission were helping to support rural businesses such as pubs and were helping entrepreneurs like him set up their own enterprises.
“The Forestry Commission, by helping local riders to create the mountain biking trails within Gisburn Forest, has been really supportive of local businesses like the Dog and Partridge pub in Tosside and people like me.
“They have definitely supported me with my business by giving me a place to operate.”
The trail is being built so that it will be accessible by riders of all levels and will have features such as rollers, jumps, and tight banked turns, called berms, as well as table-top jumps.
It is hoped the trail will be open to riders by spring next year.
For more information about Gisburn Forest please visit www.forestry.gov.uk/gisburn. You can also visit the Gisburn Forest Facebook page.
NOTES TO EDITOR:
The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain, with responsibility for more than one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside. The North West England Forest District covers the Lake District in Cumbria, the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire. The forests are managed for conservation, wildlife, landscape and recreation as well as providing a valuable source of timber.
Martin Colledge on 01200 448256 or 07774 293920
Andrew Banks on 01200 448256 or 07980 850707