Exciting plans have been unveiled to expand the range of mountain bike trails in the Tyrone and Sperrins region.
The plans are part of a 10 year strategy from Outdoor Recreation NI, one of the organisations behind the promotion of the hugely successful mountain bike trails in Davagh Forest.
Open approximately 18 months, Cookstown District Council’s mountain bike trails in Davagh Forest have been visited over 36,000 times and have received critical acclaim from the UK’s leading mountain bike magazines.
The Blessingbourne Trails in Fivemiletown have also received a face-lift last year which included 6km of new trails and a chalet-style coffee cabin located at the trailhead.
Speaking at the launch of this 10 year strategy, Director of Outdoor Recreation NI, Dr Caro-Lynne Ferris believes that by harnessing this momentum and combining phase II trail developments in Davagh Forest with plans for another potential national trail centre being considered in Gortin Glen Forest Park and a proposed long distance ride in the area will further enhance the growing reputation of Tyrone and the Sperrins as a hub for mountain biking.
Dr Ferris explains: “Both Davagh Forest and Blessingbourne have been huge success stories and have helped to place Northern Ireland on the mountain biking map.
“However, rather than rest on our laurels, this new strategy outlines objectives for future growth in this region and maps out how we can harness the full potential of the UK’s fastest growing adventure activity so that the local population can have world class trails on their doorstep and the local economy can reap the rewards mountain biking can bring over the next 10 years.”
The potential rewards outlined in this strategy include the generation of £25 Million per annum as a direct result of mountain biking in Northern Ireland which would be greatly welcomed by the hospitality and tourism sectors in Tyrone and the Sperrins.
Chief Executive of Cookstown District Council, Adrian McCreesh, believes these new trail developments will breathe new life into the forest parks and further raise the profile of Tyrone and the Sperrins as an adventure tourism destination.
Mr McCreesh explained: “Cookstown District Council is delighted to see Tyrone and the Sperrins being recognised as a flagship venue for future mountain bike trail developments. We are committed to providing world class facilities for both our local population and visitors alike and look forward to working in partnership with Outdoor Recreation NI on the objectives outlined in this mountain bike strategy for Northern Ireland.”
Visit www.outdoorrecreationni.com for more information on the Mountain Bike Strategy for Northern Ireland 2014 - 2024.