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Construction is underway on the first mountain bike trail in Coed y Brenin forest park aimed specifically at beginners and intermediate riders.
The first four-kilometre section of the new Minor Tour trail is due to be completed by the end of January, adding a fresh dimension to the existing trails which have put the Forestry Commission Wales-managed forest on the world mountain biking map.
The new trail will form part of the ambitious Eryri Centre of Excellence project being led by Gwynedd Council, which has been part-funded by the EU’s Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government.
The Director General of the Forestry Commission, Tim Rollinson, turned the first sod on the trail which will enable newcomers to the sport to experience the thrill of cycling in the woodlands of Wales.
The new trail in Coed y Brenin forest park – the first trail centre to be developed in the UK – has been two years in the planning and will be 10 kilometres long when it is completed in December 2013.
Local trail-building company, Trailworks, will build the first phase which will be a singletrack loop into the forest from the Visitor Centre, opening up the delights of the Snowdonia National Park to young families with bikes and riders with disabilities for the first time.
FC Wales mountain bike ranger Andy Braund said, “We felt it was important to be able to introduce the fun of mountain biking to as many people as possible.
“We’ll finally have a trail to offer to those just starting out in the sport and trying it out for the first time. It will appeal to a diverse group of children and adults and allow for the use of adaptive bikes that cater for a wide range of disabilities.”
The blue grade trail (intermediate) trail is called the Minor Tour as it will offer a brief tour of the forest, visiting the stunning waterfalls and goldmines at Gwynfynydd.
The trail bridges the gap in the current provision at Coed y Brenin between forest road biking and the red (difficult) trails.
“As Coed y Brenin was the first trail centre in the UK, it has always catered for the existing mountain bikers who are skilled and experienced,” said Andy.
“Hence we have lots of red (difficult) and black (severe) grade trails, but nothing for beginners and intermediate riders or people who just want to have a go.
“This will allow people to enjoy easy riding, introduce them to basic skills needed to ride off road and encourage them to gain confidence.”
More sections will be added after the first phase is complete, extending the loop further into the forest until the trail is complete.
“Coed y Brenin offers some really exciting riding and it’s great to be finally building this trail to bring new customers to southern Snowdonia and support the Regional Centre of Excellence for outdoor recreation,” added Andy.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About 14 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
For more information on mountain biking in Coed y Brenin forest park, contact Andy Braund on 01341 592007, mobile 07920 502246, email email@example.com
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
The Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) is part of the Welsh Assembly Government's Department for Economy and Transport and is responsible for administering the European Structural Funds in Wales. For the period 2007-2013, Wales has been allocated some £1.9 billion by the European Union which will be channelled through the Convergence programmes for West Wales and the Valleys and the Regional Competitiveness and Employment programmes for East Wales. These funds will generate an investment of over £3 billion and will be used to improve economic growth and employment in line with the Welsh Assembly Government’s strategies and the EU’s Lisbon and Gothenburg agendas. WEFO’s aim is to ensure the European Structural Funds programmes 2007–2013 work efficiently and effectively for Wales, as well as overseeing the conclusion of the 2000-2006 programmes.
Media enquiries to Forestry Commission Wales press officer Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email firstname.lastname@example.org