£2m is being pumped into Scottish forests to create twenty Coed Y Brenin-type MTB trails. And there's further grassroots facilities growth in Wales, too. The two main MTBing websites today wax lyrical about the planned MTB facilities, claiming they could inject new life into the sport

When you can’t see the wood for the MTBers

"The rush to jump on the mountain bike trail bandwagon doesn’t seem to be slowing down, as more and more areas want to "do a Coed-Y-Brenin", wrote Guy Kesteven on today’s bikemagic.com.

"With bikers seen as the new rural growth industry, revitalising tourism in areas where traditional industries are dying, the scramble to tempt us into the woods is increasing every week."

Scotland has now announced seven new sites at Tweed Valley, Newcastleton, Ae, Mabie, Dalbeattie, Kirroughtree and Glentrool, all in the Borders.

The Forestry Commission and Scottish local councils have earmarked £1m for MTB trail building and this has been matched by European funding.

Twenty new purpose-built trails will be be built, adding 300km to the already extensive riding facilities in the selected forests.

The Borders area will become "a mecca for mountain bikers," said Mark Alker on today’s singletrackworld.com.

The funding represents the biggest ever public investment in developing mountain biking in Britain and once completed could attract over 500 000 new visitors to the Borders each year, claim the Forestry Commission.

Up to 100 extra jobs could be created as well as a local economy injection of £15 million a year.

The project is being managed by the Forestry Commission and Scottish Enterprise Dumfries and Galloway with partners Dumfries and Galloway & Borders Tourist Boards, Scottish Enterprise Borders, Scottish Borders Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Solway Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Bob McIntosh, Chief Executive of Forest Enterprise, said the funding will help make the South of Scotland a first class destination for mountain bikers:

"As Britain’s largest provider of outdoor recreation, we have been working in partnership with a vast range of organisations and mountain bike clubs to help promote this very popular sport. Not only are we providing fantastic trails for cyclists, we are helping bring in visitors and money to rural areas. This is vitally important to the South of Scotland which was badly affected by the foot and mouth outbreak."

The trails will be collectively known as the "seven stanes". Each trail will have a marked password or historical theme on each "stane" (stone) which the rider will find on the route. Once the rider has collected all the passwords from each trail they can apply for a certificate to prove they have ridden the "seven stanes".

Here are the details of each centre:

Tweed Valley

Glentress Forest will act as the springboard for the seven centres. Existing trails and facilities will be enhanced. New or enhanced trails can be expected at both Traquair and Cadrona Forests.

Newcastleton Forest

Substantial investment in new facilities including a network of new trails for beginners and experienced mountain bikers, plus toilets and car parking facilities. A key to this centre is a trail, which will directly link to Newcastleton. MTBers will be able to use the village’s facilities before and after rides.

Ae Forest

Investment will make this area into a major competition venue boasting both an existing downhill course and a massive new "endurance length" cross country trail.

Mabie Forest

The famous "Rik’s Red Route" – created by the local bike shop – is to be doubled in length and added family routes will attract riders of all abilities.

Dalbeattie Forest

A popular holiday destination on the Solway Coast. A new network of singletrack trails and new visitor facilities to be developed.

Kirroughtree Forest

The trails at Kirroughtree will be developed to appeal to families and experienced MTBers.

Glentrool Forest

Based around the visitor centre this venue will play host to a major stamina sapping technical cross country route as well as newly enhanced trails.

In Wales, there are plans for new trails at Brechfa Forest, Carmarthenshire. A new visitor centre will be built and a new network of trails will be laid out.

"What with trailbuilding groups of various levels of legality working in nearly every clump of trees, next year could see an explosion of places to ride," said Kesteven.

"It looks as though the tide is finally turning in favour of us being seen as an economic advantage rather than a nuisance in more enlightened areas.

"More facilities means more riders, which means a stronger mountain bike industry all round."

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