Carter Moorse via Unsplash

New project launched to create sustainable future for mountain bike trails across the UK

A new project, supported by an initial three year project manager post, has been created to support the mountain bike community, governing bodies, and land managers/owners to share knowledge, discuss issues and opportunities for greater collaboration, and improve the sustainability of the mountain bike trail network across the UK.

Scottish Cycling, through Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), will manage the post, and project, and will be supported by a steering group including British Cycling, Cycling Ireland, Welsh Cycling, Forestry and Land Scotland, Forestry England, and Natural Resources Wales, Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland along with the project funders, SRAM.

Graeme McLean, Head of DMBinS, said: “This new project is incredibly valuable at a time when the number of mountain bikers is increasing. With around 6% of the UK population mountain biking on a regular basis, it is really important that we can support the mountain bike community to come together with governing bodies to work with land managers and owners to sustainably develop an exciting and varied trail network at all levels.

“The key to this project, and role, will be the ability to share knowledge, bring people together to understand common issues and opportunities, and further develop relationships at all levels across the all UK home countries.

“We are extremely grateful for the enthusiasm and passion of the steering group, along with the project funders and partners, SRAM. We are really excited to see the impact this project will have.”

The first step will be to develop a UK wide ‘Right trail, right place, right people, right time’ report (Tim Foster via Unsplash)

The first step of the project will be to develop a UK wide ‘Right trail, right place, right people, right time’ report which will help audit the current number and position of trail groups and associations in each country and a deeper understanding of the opportunities to improve the management of the trail network.

This report will also take cognisance of the pressures in supporting the trail network, particularly, for land managers/owners.

It is anticipated that following this report, the project’s focus, objectives, target audiences, KPI’s, and messaging will vary depending on each nations needs and current situation.

There is, however, forecasted to be areas where there will be commonality across all nations with objectives to help grow resources through increased engagement with the MTB industry, public sector, governing bodies and land managers.

It will also help to develop the competencies of the MTB community, to improve the sustainable management of mountain biking activities.

Dan Cook, Forestry England’s national cycle infrastructure manager said: “The UK Trails Project is an amazing opportunity to connect riders, trail associations and land managers. It will help to improve understanding of, and see more people using, the right trails, right place, right people, right time principles.

“The UK undoubtedly has some of the best riding and facilities in the world, with passionate people and limited resources, and this project can help everyone involved better manage these sustainably for the long-term.

“We ultimately need a resilient off-road cycling network built and used taking account of many factors such as other users, ecology, wildlife and heritage, access and land management requirements.”

Read more: Sustrans appoints Matt Winfield as new chief operating officer

Alex Rafferty, MTB communications manager at SRAM UK, added: “We have been impressed with the work of DMBinS over several years, and we are delighted to play our part in helping improve the long-term sustainability of trails, and trail access, across the UK.

“We believe that this project can sensitively and strategically work with mountain bikers and a range of partners to support the trail network across the UK, ultimately leading to a secure future for our trail network – the most valuable resource in mountain biking. We are excited to play our part in making this project happen.”

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