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Significant investment in cycling network at Swinley Forest

06 November 2012

Windsor Great Park cyclists

The Crown Estate is delighted to announce a significant investment package to upgrade and improve facilities for family cycling and mountain biking at Swinley Forest on the Windsor estate.

Chief Forester John Deakin explained: "Over the years, Swinley Forest has become increasingly popular with mountain bikers and extensive informal routes have been created through the forest. With a conservative estimate of over 170,000 cyclists using the site each year, the sheer volume of unrestricted mountain biking is having a detrimental impact on this protected environment which has been designated a Special Protection Area by Natural England.

"The Crown Estate plans to reduce this impact on the natural environment whilst creating a centre of excellence for mountain biking. There will be a formal cycle network of 24.2km within an area of 1,000 hectares and we will be introducing green, blue and red cycle routes in line with the International Mountain Bike Association industry standards. All routes will begin from The Look Out Discovery Centre and we want to provide a range of challenges for families cycling for fun to highly skilled riders. Mountain biking is not permitted elsewhere on the Windsor estate and so we want to focus resources on providing excellence in Swinley Forest."

Des Sussex, Land Management and Conservation Lead Advisor, Surrey, Berkshire and London Team, Natural England, added: "Swinley Forest is an important area for some rare breeding birds, as recognised by its Special Protection Area status. Natural England is pleased that The Crown Estate is taking measures to protect the forest's conservation value whilst providing facilities for recreational activities."

The work will be carried out by Back on Track MTB Solutions Ltd which has extensive experience in developing and creating mountain bike routes all over the UK. Work will commence on upgrading the tracks from November 2012 and the new routes will be completed by March 2013. There will be minimal disruption to existing mountain bikers who will be able to use the majority of existing routes as work progresses.

Rowan Sorrell, Managing Director of Back on Track MTB Solutions Ltd, added: "Creating and consolidating the cycle networks in Swinley Forest will be an exciting challenge. The trails have been planned out to make the most of the many undulations throughout the forest and to build an exciting cycle network for all abilities. The three different cycle routes will be easy to follow with maps and signs way marking the routes from The Look Out Discovery Centre car park."

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