Ambitious plans for the biggest ever investment in new mtb facilities in Sherwood Pines Forest Park were unveiled on Wednesday, September 12. The Forestry Commission is to undertake a £300,000 scheme to create a National Centre of Excellence for Off-Roading in the 3,000-acre beauty spot, near Clipstone, Nottinghamshire.
Funding of £147,500 has been secured for the project from the Alliance SSP programme. Work will start in early October and will be completed in 2009.
The forest park is already the East Midlands’ biggest venue for off-road sport and family cycling, ­attracting an estimated 250,000 bikers every year. But many existing trails use forest roads. The new network will be built specifically for bikers, offering an entertaining experience while also reducing possible conflicts with other forest users.
Recreation manager Chris Bray said: “We have witnessed an astonishing growth in biking in recent years, which has made the forest park the pre-eminent venue of its kind. But this project will allow us to offer truly world-class, sustainable facilities, and that will produce spin-offs. Encouraging people to stay longer in the area will boost local businesses. We’ll also take the pressure off existing routes, which are also used by walkers and horse riders. And, not least, we will open up new opportunities for healthy recreation as part of our Active Woods campaign.”
Three new trails will be built as part of the project. They include a six-mile cross-country route traversing the forest, an adventure trail of similar length taking riders deep into the wood, and a three-mile surfaced family cycle route. A skills loop will give bikers the chance to polish their techniques, while a new bike park will offer challenging jumps and turns for accomplished riders.
Other facilities will include secure bike lockers, picnic areas and shelters along the trails. Local biker Cy Turner, who runs Cotic Bikes in Nottingham, has helped in the design of the new routes.