5 Reasons Why The UK Is a World Leader in Trail Centres
1. Pioneers of sustainable trail design
Coed Y Brenin, nestled amidst the peaks of Snowdonia National Park, was the world’s first trail centre. It was the first place to feature designated mountain bike trails that were mapped, way marked, and started and finished at the same point. It paved the way for the development of trail centres across the UK and beyond. These trails were designed to fit within the landscape with minimal impact on their surroundings. UK trail centres have since evolved to have a heavier weighting on ride quality while still remaining as sustainable as those trails first built.
In the past twenty years there has been substantial public investment in developing outdoor recreation throughout the UK. Projects such as Cognation and 7stanes are publicly funded developments that make up hundreds of kilometres of single-track mountain bike trails that are all free to use. Projects like these bring major benefits to the local areas in terms of the economy, tourism, employment, and social factors.
There are also a growing number of private companies heavily investing in mountain bike venues throughout the UK. Places such as BikePark Wales and One Planet Adventure provide trails that appeal to a wide range of users.
The topography of the UK lends itself to mountain bike venues that focus on cross country and enduro style trails – that is trails that have multiple descents that are linked by manageable climbs. These trails usually start and finish at the same point, making them ideal for incorporating into a holistic visitor centre or outdoor venue. The hills across much of the UK provide ample elevation change for good length descents, while not being so tall and steep as to make climbing too difficult. Trail networks can be designed to work with the land, creating trails that make the most of the features of the landscape.
The success of so many uplift assisted venues across the UK shows that despite many venues having manageable climbs, there is still a thriving market for an uplift service. This is a result of a combination of good quality trails and efficient uplift services – so the average rider can exceed ten or fifteen descents in a day.
4. Year Round Riding
The weather must be one of the most popular topics for conversation across the UK and rightly so, our climate is ideal for mountain biking. Apart from a few snowy days a year, the weather tends to work well for mountain bikers in the UK and allows for year round riding. Come rain or shine you’ll find mountain bikers out enjoying the trails.
The development of sustainable, purpose built, mountain bike trails in the UK means that our trails are designed for use in all weather conditions, all year round. By using a particular range of construction techniques and materials, trails can be made to be very resistant to erosion regardless of the weather.
5. Trail centre development has been led by riders
The majority of the UK’s trail builders are passionate mountain bikers first and foremost, and hence produce some amazing trails. Ultimately the demand for the development of trail centres across the UK has stemmed from riders. Many organisations have recognised this demand for mountain bike trails and, with the help of trail design specialists, have provided solutions that incorporate the needs of mountain bikers with environmental factors and primary land use requirements.
That’s five reasons why the UK is a world leader in mountain bike trail centres. If you’d like to discuss any of these topics further, don’t hesitate to get in touch.