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NEWS RELEASE No: 1619910 MARCH 2014

Volunteers needed to help renovate Hamsterley Forest bike trails

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Work has commenced on the £235,000 makeover of Hamsterley Forest visitor facilities. The Forestry Commission is putting a call out for local people to help complete part of the work.

Over the next few weeks volunteers are needed to help build new a new bike trail. Work has already commenced on a new section of the mountain bike trail with help from the Hamsterley Trailblazers (local volunteer mountain bike club) but more volunteers are needed.

Hamsterley Forest Visitor Centre is undergoing a major refurbishment in time for Easter 2014, with an improved, larger café catering for a wider range of visitors, new double-glazed windows and sustainable heating installed into the cafe in the form of a log fire. The Café has been rebranded the Hamsterley Forest Café and Wood n Wheels mountain bike hire has been renamed The Hamsterley Forest Cycle Centre.

Partnership funding for the bike trails work has been achieved through Northern Lands Project which 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. Funding has also been raised by Hamsterley Trailblazers from events delivered within the forest over recent years.  Forestry Commission project funding comes from monies raised from visitor parking within the forest

Hamsterley Forest is a popular destination within County Durham attracting over 200,000 visitors during 2013  - from families on a day out, forest horse riding through to cross country and downhill mountain biking.

Funding for the work on the Forest Centre and Cycle Centre has come from monies raised from visitor parking within the forest supported by grant aid from Durham County Council. Additional work at the centre includes the creation of a courtyard with outdoor eating space adjacent to the cafe and a toddler play area to entertain young visitors to the forest.

Alex MacLennan, Recreation and Public Affairs Manager for the North East Forestry Commission says,

“It’s a very exciting time for Hamsterley Forest with so many exciting renovations and new projects taking shape at the same time. Later this summer we also have another set of projects commencing, so this is going to going to ensure there really is something for everyone at the forest. We need mountain bikers who love and use the forest to join Hamsterley Trailblazers as volunteers and help push the projects through to completion. A lot of mountain bikers love the forest, but don’t realise how important it to support the trail building.

“If people can spare us a few hours or even a day or two it would be great – and terrific opportunity to meet like-minded people and contribute to the ongoing popularity of Hamsterley Forest.”

To get involved in the trail building, visit or contact Hamsterley Forest Recreation Ranger Team on 01388 488312


For more information please contact or call 07966 378 968
Notes to Editor

1. The Forestry Commission in England works to secure and grow the economic, social and natural capital value of the Public Forest Estate for the people of England. The North England Forest District looks after forests in Cumbria, the Lancashire, Northumbria, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.

2. 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 support from 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

3. 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.