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Blazing the trail for mountain bikers at Hamsterley Forest

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Mountain bikers in Hamsterly Forest

A brand new section of single track mountain bike trail has been created at Hamsterley Forest thanks to the hard work of local trail group, the Hamsterley Trailblazers, supported by the local Forestry Commission team. The new section replaces a forest road section on the red graded “Transmission Line” trail, adding a new dimension to test the skills of Hamsterley’s mountain bikers.

Oliver Graham, from the Hamsterley Trailblazers says:

“This is the first section of trail that will hopefully create a continuous single track trail from 5 Lane Ends to The Grove forming one of the longest sections of single track in the UK.  The trail will be full of features and action and will be a great addition to the trail network at Hamsterley.  It has been made possible by generous donations and thousands of hours of volunteer time.”

Alex MacLennan, Forestry Commission Recreation Manager, has worked closely with the Trailblazers for a number of years and says:

“We are delighted to continue to work alongside the energy of so many local people committed to making Hamsterley Forest one of the “must ride” mountain bike centres in the UK, which also supports the development of rural tourism within County Durham.

"Here at Hamsterley, the riders really do understand the importance of putting something back directly into the development and upkeep of the trail network. What makes this even more amazing is that this approach has been in place now for over 10 years.

"We are already looking at the next development and as part of this, the Forestry Commission are working to submitting a planning permission for a blue graded trail which is more aimed at moderate or beginner level, to widen the offer to help ensure everyone can enjoy the largest forest within County Durham.”

Funding for the new trail section has come from a variety of sources.  £14,000 was given from the Teesdale Area Action Partnership Neighbourhood Budget, from Councillors Andy Turner and Heather Smith. Heather says,

“Councillor Andy Turner and I are delighted to be able to use some of our neighbourhood fund to help with the building of new mountain bike trails in Hamsterley Forest.  Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy the forest, keeps people fit and attracts more visitors to Hamsterley so we are really pleased to play our part in enhancing the visitors’ experience.”

A further £14,000 came from donations for the Neil Polson Fund, a local mountain biker who passed away unexpectedly last year. More information about the fund can be found here . Finally, £10,000 has come from a local Tesco’s Bags of Help Grant.

In addition to the funding already given, The Hamsterley Trailblazers have commissioned a t shirt that they are selling to help raise funds to build more trails They are also always looking for new volunteers so if you’re free on the 3rd Saturday of each month come along and join them at Hamsterley to continue the trail development work.

Hamsterley Forest is managed by the Forestry Commission and attracts around 200,000 visitors each year. As well the mountain bike trails and Danny Hart’s Descend Bike Park, the forest is a top destination for forest walkers, families enjoying the forest play trail including the Gruffalo sculptures, and horse riders.

Images available: please credit Jerry Tatton for any used. High res versions available


Notes to Editor

  1. 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, Lancashire, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.

  2. The Hamsterley Trailblazers are a volunteer group who work closely with the Forestry Commission at Hamsterley Forest to help develop the mountain bike trails. They meet for trail building days on the 3rd Saturday of each month. For more information, visit

  3. Media contact: Sarah Bruce, Communications manager,, 07584 003362