THIS week sees the opening of over twenty five kilometres of cross-country mountain biking trails and purpose-built pump track in Castlewellan Forest Park.
The Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails powered by Chain Reaction Cycles are set to attract upwards of thirteen thousand visitors in the first year alone. Coupled with a further fifty kilometre trails network in Rostrevor, visitors to these trails centres are expected to generate a significant impact to the local economy in the wider Mournes region each year.
Chairman of Down District Council’s Recreation and Community Services Committee, Councillor Michael Coogan, said: “Mountain biking has enjoyed a real surge in popularity in recent years and despite having the ideal landscape for trails, we are only beginning to harness the huge benefits that this growing adventure activity can bring to Castlewellan and the surrounding area.
“Combining the stunning trails here in Castelwellan with the trails in Rostrevor allows us to create a short break mountain biking destination here in the Mournes. As such, our project contribution of £175,000 will not only provide unique recreational facilities for the local community but also result in a positive injection of activity tourists to our corner of Northern Ireland.”
With a wide variety of mountain biking trails from gentle green and blue graded loops to more invigorating red graded trail with hair-raising ‘black’ options, Castlewellan ticks all the right boxes and has attracted the attention of mountain bikers all across Ireland.
Chris Scott from MountainBikeNI.com added: “We are very excited about the new mountain bike trails here in Castlewellan. From the outset we have strived to develop trails that will complement Castlewellan’s stunning surroundings and could not be happier with the results that we can see here today. There are trail choices to suit all ages and abilities whether seasoned pros or those trying out mountain biking for the very first time.”
The Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails have already attracted major events such as the Single Speed European Championships planned for April next year and local hospitality businesses are gearing up for a busy summer ahead.
The Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails have been made possible with partnership funding from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Down District Council, Newry & Mourne District Council and Sport NI with support from Forest Service of Northern Ireland and Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland.
You can visit www.MountainBikeNI.com for detailed route descriptions, interactive mapping, information on bike hire, coaching and guiding on the Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails.
Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (Formerly CAAN)
The mission of Outdoor Recreation (Northern Ireland) is to develop and sustain a vibrant countryside recreation culture in which responsible and well-informed people enjoy high quality, sustainable and appropriate activities in an accessible, well managed yet challenging environment: where landowners and managers are welcoming and where there are accompanying benefits to local communities both in social and economic terms. For more information check out: www.outdoorrecreationni.com
Chain Reaction Cycles – the proud sponsor of MountainBikeNI.com
Established in 1984, Chain Reaction Cycles (CRC) has grown to become the world’s largest online bike store. Still based in Northern Ireland, they have supported grass roots mountain biking and the development of new facilities since day one.