In Kielder Forest, new sections of trail on the Deadwater mtb cross country and downhill section Forrest Dive which has a number of new features are completed. The project was led by Forestry Commission (UK), working with a lot of volunteers and contractors. Some more technical trail sections were developed in Hamsterly Forest. Project founding came from the so called Northern Lands Project, a multi partner project funded through DEFRA. Investment into the trail network was last undertaken 2008 so the trail network was in need of revamping to keep it at the forefront of the mountain biking venues UK.
The trail sections are part of the largest mountain bike trail network in England with 105 miles of trails located within Kielder Water & Forest Park. They were from national trail crossing into Scotland, blue and red grade singletrack as well as Downhill Trail sections, so something for all the riders. Kielder Trail Reavers, the local mtb trailbuilding crew and many others gave lots of hours during 2014 to assist making all this happen.
Alex MacLennan, Recreation & Public Affaris Manager of Forestry Commission UK explains the importance of working with volunteer groups."‘We have a mountain bike volunteer group working in each of these forests, which I think is impressive. I have assisted set up some of these groups over the last 10 years that I have been developing the mountain bike trails in the North East and they are all a pleasure to work with".
To match the 50% obliged co-funding for the project, the volunteer group at Hamsterley Forest even put in £20,000 cash from money that they had raised from events and other fundraising activities. In addition, they contributed another 3000 volunteer hours to the project. "Maintenance is still a big challenge, certainly more volunteers is essential. By having volunteer groups we are able to maintain the trail networks. It is challenging but it's also very rewarding".