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Gearing up for the Big Bike Weekend at Kielder Forest

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Kielder Big Bike Weekend

England’s largest trail centre is gearing up ready for the Kielder Big Bike Weekend on the 18 and 19 October.

The Forestry Commission’s Kielder Castle Visitor Centre, within Kielder Water and Forest Park, will be the hub for a weekend celebrating the vast network of trails that cross the forest.

The weekend will see the opening of new sections on the red and black graded Deadwater Trail including the downhill section, known as Forrest Dive. The already spectacular trail climbs to the 1,900 foot summit of Deadwater Fell which straddles the English/Scottish border and gives 360 degree views from coast to coast.

The trail work was funded by the Northern Lands project and the trail building has been supported by the Kielder Trail Reavers and Northern Downhill as well as volunteers from Natural England who have worked with the Forestry Commission on the trail construction through a series of trail building days from April this year.

Alex MacLennan, Recreation and Public Affairs Manager for the Forestry Commission in the north east, explains:

“This has been a fantastic partnership project, from the funding coming through the Northern Lands project to the invaluable support from the Kielder Trail Reavers and Northern Downhill as well as other volunteer parties. We have also have held a number of corporate volunteer days with staff from local companies joining the Forestry Commission rangers to work on the trail improvements.”

“The new sections add a new dimension to the trail network and having mountain bikers involved in the build has really made it a trail for mountain bike enthusiasts. We are already planning a whole new set of exciting events on these trails later this winter and into 2015."

The Kielder Cycle Centre will be running a demo weekend with the opportunity to try out a range of new models. On Saturday 18 October, riders can try out the latest 2015 bikes from Orange and Kona, amongst others. The Cycle Centre will be organising guided rides from around 10am until dark, using parts of the Deadwater Trail. On Sunday 19 October, there is the chance to try the latest in electrical assisted pedalling with both the Raleigh Motus electric hybrid bikes and the Haibike full suspension electric mountain bike on offer.

There’ll also be a downhill competition on Sunday 19, with around 200 competitors, including some top downhill riders from the North East. Entries are still open and details are available at

Partnership funding for the trail development work has been achieved through the Northern Lands Project which is supported by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007-13 through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. In kind support has come from the Kielder Trail Reavers and Northern Downhill who have both used the trail network for events and have contributed to maintenance of the trails over recent years.  Forestry Commission project funding comes from monies raised from visitor parking.

For more details of the weekend, visit For details of the demo weekend, or to book a slot on one of the bikes, contact Kielder Cycle Centre on 01434 250457.

Further images available on request.


Notes to Editor

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. The North England Forest District looks after forests in Cumbria, the Lancashire, Northumbria, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.

Northern Lands is a programme of projects designed to develop the tourism product of the North East’s protected landscapes so that they attract more visitors, encourage existing visitors to stay longer and inspire visitors to spend more in rural businesses and communities. The programme’s purpose is to support rural communities by developing the rural visitor economy and help protect the landscapes by promoting greater understanding of their special qualities.  The programme is supported by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007-13 through Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The Northern Lands programme is managed by Visit County Durham, the destination management agency for County Durham. It is administered by the Funding and Programmes division of Durham County Council. Project partners in the Northern Lands programme are: the Forestry Commission, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and Northumberland National Park Authority. Supporting partners are: the Durham Heritage Coast Partnership, Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cumbria Tourism and Northumberland Tourism. Funding partners are: Durham County Council, Northumberland County Council and business in the North East rural visitor economy.