£77k has been spent rejigging the Countdown and Launchpad downhill trails, as well as sections of the popular blue grade Verderers Trail.

Forestry England has revently announced that work on some of its more popular mountain biking trails in the Forest of Dean has been completed. FE spent around £68,000 whilst a further £9,000 was donated by riders in an online fundraiser by the Dean Trail Volunteers. The trail revamp work was carried out by Back on Track Mountain Bike Solutions in partnership with DTV and aims to future-proof the trails.

‘Launchpad’ was opened in 2014 and is the only trail of its kind in the UK specifically designed for four-wheeled gravity bikes.

‘Countdown’ was later added by DTV as a top section to Launchpad and both are popular with riders of all abilities. The ‘Verderers Trail’ received some resurfacing work on the first big climb and descent section.

You can read more about what Forest Of Dean has to offer mountain bikers in our Forest Of Dean trail guide.

Martyn Ashton riding Launchpad

Martyn Ashton riding Launchpad

MTB legend Martyn Ashton was the first person to ride the newly surfaced trails: “The first ride of Launchpad was like jumping on a roller coaster! It has so much flow to it, I was whooping and hollering all the way down. The accessibility is really important of course, but that has been built in without watering down the experience and making it feel lacking in any way. I’m looking forward to coming back and doing more laps that is for sure.”

Kate Thoday, Cycling Manager for Forestry England: “The number of people visiting the Forest of Dean to ride on our cycle trails is growing year on year. During the busiest times we can see over 50,000 riders in a month. Whilst this is fantastic, it does take its toll on the trails.

“We’re proud that over the last 12 months, Forestry England has invested around £180,000 into Cannop Cycle Centre and the cycle trail network. We work with DTV to make the trails better, safer and more enjoyable to ride. Income we generate from car parking and membership makes it possible for us to make these kinds of investments and we are grateful for everyone’s support, as well as those who donated to the fundraiser. We are very pleased to reopen the trails and we can’t wait to give them a go ourselves!”

James Addison, Chairperson of the Dean Trail Volunteers: “DTV are delighted that the overwhelming generosity of the public via the crowdfunding campaign in 2020, along with the substantial contribution by Forestry England, has allowed DTV, Forestry England and Back on Track to complete a thorough re-development of both Launchpad and Countdown.

“When the track was first built for 4 wheelers, we couldn’t have imagined how much of a firm favourite it would become with all riders. The new trail is a huge improvement and still retains the essence of everything that has made Launchpad and Countdown the hits they are. We look forward to seeing riders back on the trails for years to come.”