Bristol Biking Heaven

Bristol Biking Heaven in 2011

11 January 2011


The Bristol area is set to become a celebrated destination for
mountain bike riders of all abilities when two new mountain bike
trails are built at Ashton Court and Leigh Woods in 2011.

Bristol’s Cycling City project has teamed with Forestry
Commission, National Trust and the 1 South West cycling initiative
to secure the £200,000 in funding needed at each site to provide
11km of new or reconstructed cycle trails. The trails should be
open in the summer of 2011.

The work will create natural feeling single-track trails, way
marked to assist people who are new to the area or off-road
cycling. Most of the trails will be on or close to the line of
existing routes, but providing a robust surface and enjoyment
throughout the year. Sections of trail that encourage skills
development will ensure that riders of all abilities have a great

Trail designer Phil Saxena of Architrail has brought to the
project an extensive international experience of building
world-class mountain bike trails including the Beijing Olympics
course. He has also been a Bristol resident and ridden in the area
for many years. Phil said, “Having ridden my bike here it’s great
to be such an integral part in raising Bristol’s offering in the
sport that has given me so much pleasure. Designing the tracks has
been a challenge due to the constraints on the sites but we’re
planning trails that will get a wide range of riders coming back
for more whilst the trails remain robust and sensitive to the
landscape and other users.”

Work will also take place on a new trail centre on the site of
the existing kiosk at Ashton Court. The centre is set to cost
£500,000 and will include a café and public toilets, as well as
bringing golf and cycle hire to Ashton Court visitors. Construction
work should be complete by July 2011.

Councillor Dr Jon Rogers, Executive Member for Care and Health,
said: “Bristol’s reputation as a Cycling City is further enhanced
by this great scheme! Having a quality mountain biking destination
in our city will help beginners take their first steps in the sport
and experienced teams develop their skills in readiness for
international competition. Exciting stuff!”

For further information please contact Bristol City Council
Corporate Communications on 0117 922 2650 or Paul Hawkins, 1 South
West Project, on 07795 427660


Notes to Editor

Utmost care has been taken to ensure that no detriment happens
to the historic, wildlife and other recreational interests of the
area. Ecologists from Natural England and North Somerset Council
have had detailed input to the plans, with detailed survey work
having been undertaken. The works will help manage the existing use
that the areas get by providing robust trails that can be ridden
throughout the year without the need for riders to by-pass wet
areas and cause erosion. Planning consent was granted by North
Somerset Council earlier this year.

Cycling in woodlands is enjoyable whatever the weather and
provides a great alternative to other more seasonal activities for
a wide range of ages and abilities. Enjoyable trails at Ashton
Court & Leigh Woods will encourage people to stay in the area,
get out and enjoy themselves, and hopefully visit other areas of
the region providing economic benefit to local businesses.


This project is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund
for Rural Development 2007-2013: Europe investing in rural areas.
In England, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
2007-2013 is delivered through the Rural Development Programme for
England (RDPE). It is an important part of the Common Agricultural
Policy and helps create genuinely sustainable farming, forestry and
food sectors, whilst bringing wider benefits for the economy, the
environment and rural communities. It is the European Union’s major
investment route for protecting and enhancing the environment while
securing a range of public benefits for society. Defra is the
Managing Authority and is delivered in the region by the South West
RDA, Natural England and the Forestry Commission.

1 South West

The 1 South West initiative receives funding from Sport England
and is a partnership project involving the Forestry Commission,
Woodland Renaissance, CTC (The UK’s National Cyclists’
Association), International Mountain Biking Association UK, British
Cycling, Devon County Council, South West Protected Landscapes
Forum, South West Tourism and County Sports Partnerships. 1 South
West will be working with a number of organisations to deliver the
project – the National Trust, South West Lakes Trust, South West
Protected Landscapes Forum and Bristol City Council. More
information about the 1 South West project can be found at

Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible
for forestry in Great Britain. The Forestry Commission owns and
manages public forests for wildlife, timber production and public
enjoyment, more than 50% of the population in England live within
10km of woodland and forests managed by the Commission. It supports
woodland owners with grants, tree felling licences, regulation and
advice; promotes the benefits of forests and forestry; and advises
Government on forestry policy. For further information, visit

National Trust

With more than 250,000 hectares of countryside and 710 miles of
coastline across England, Wales and Northern Ireland there are
plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors with the
National Trust. Find out more at:

Our work with 1 South West supports our Outdoor Programme which
encourages everyone to make the most of the great outdoors. In
Devon and Cornwall we’re working together to create trails on Trust
land which will open in 2012 and 2013. Find out more about
responsible adventurous use of the countryside at:

Cycling City

Greater Bristol’s Cycling City project aims to get lots more
people cycling across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The two
local councils are bringing infrastructure improvements, events and
encouragement activities and running education programmes to tackle
the major barriers people face in getting around by bike.

In the initial stages of 1SW project, Cycling City officers
commissioned a feasibility study to assess whether the trails at
Ashton Court could be upgraded and what level of use they could

Leigh Woods

A wilderness of beauty and tranquillity set against the
breathtaking backdrop of the Avon Gorge and Brunel’s world famous
suspension bridge Leigh Woods was saved from development forever
when it was given to the National Trust in 1909 by George Wills, of
the Bristol Tobacco empire. The National Trust now manages about a
third of the wood, the rest is owned by the Forestry Commission.
Open year round with miles of paths to explore, including an
all-ability Purple Trail pick up a leaflet from the Reserve Office
(on site) or find out more at:

Ashton Court

Ashton Court is situated in 850 acres of woodland and meadow,
two miles from the centre of Bristol. The area itself is in North
Somerset but is owned and managed by Bristol City Council.

With over 1.6 million visitors annually, it’s the UK’s third
busiest country park. It has a Grade II registered landscape and
its Grade 1 listed mansion rank amongst the country’s finest.

The park is open daily from 8am. Admission is free and three car
parks are available. Find out more at: