Country Lanes, the cycle holiday company based in the New Forest, has won international recognition for its rail-cycle tourism project at Brockenhurst station.

Rail-cycle project wins British Airways tourism prize

BicycleBusiness featured this project in issue two. It involved taking obsolete Motorail units and converting them into modern cycle hire centres for rural stations with leisure cycling potentia.

The British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards is an annual competition aimed at selecting 15 projects from around the world to serve as best practice examples of responsible tourism. Sustrans and their National Cycle Network has been a past winner.

Country Lanes was awarded a Highly Commend prize for its innovative integrated transport scheme, the first phase of which was implemented at Brockenhurst in the New Forest.

Susan Achmatowicz, Country Lanes’ owner said: "This unique leisure cycling facility respects railway heritage, enhances the station environment and provides visitors to the New Forest with an integrated transport alternative to car-congested New Forest villages. Externally the Motorail unit is in keeping with the railway environment and heritage; but inside it is fully equipped with todays modern technology 24 speed mountain bikes for hire and an Internet connection for on-line bookings."

Country Lanes operates a nation-wide programme of cycling day trips, short breaks and longer tours and actively encourages its customers to reach the start of their trip by train. This sustainable tourism approach won the firm national recognition last year when the English Tourist Board declared Country Lanes Winner of the coveted England for Excellence Green Award for Tourism and Environmental Management.

But this years international prize is special for Achmatowicz:

"115 projects from 41 countries were competing this year. To have Country Lanes rail-cycle scheme in the same league as Turtle Island in Fiji, Aspen Ski Company in the US and Alice Springs Desert Park in Australia is truly a great honour."

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