Whinlatter Blue Trail Named 'Quercus'

Whinlatter Blue Trail Named 'Quercus'

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Whinlatter Blue Trail Named 'Quercus'

Competition Winner Opens New Whinlatter Bike Trail

10th August 2009

The Lake District's new ‘Quercus' mountain bike trail has been opened to the public on the Forestry Commission estate at Whinlatter Forest Park, near Keswick, today - Tuesday 4 August.

Earlier this year, the Forestry Commission teamed up with local bike hire company and training specialist, ‘Cyclewise', to launch a competition for people to name the new route.

The winner of the competition was Simon Hansel from Ireby, near Wigton, who helped to come up with the winning name - ‘The Quercus Trail' (pronounced ‘quirk-us'). He was given the one off chance to unveil the new route to the public on Tuesday 4 August. Simon and his partner also enjoyed a mountain bike skills course courtesy of Cyclewise as part of the prize.

Taken from the latin for oak, ‘Quercus robur', the new ‘Quercus' mountain bike trail also takes its name from the semi ancient oak woodlands of Masmill at Whinlatter, which is the oldest part of the forest and relatively unknown to visitors.

Paul Brown, Recreation Ranger for the Forestry Commission at Whinlatter, said:

"The new ‘Quercus Trail' helps to reinforce Whinlatter's growing reputation as the region's leading mountain biking venue. Thanks to competition winner Simon Hansel, the new name for the trail fits well with our strong forestry background and also portrays a more user friendly trail."

The ‘Quercus Trail' is a 7.5 kilometre blue grade mountain bike route. Mountain bike trails are colour graded green, blue, red or black, according to the level of difficulty. Green is the easiest level and black is for expert cyclists. Most ‘blue grade' trails have moderate gradients but may include short steep sections, so a reasonable level of fitness is required.

Above: Competition winner Simon Hansel screws the new name plate onto the Blue Trail marker post, officially christening the trail 'Quercus' - latin for 'Oak', referring to the oldest part of Whinlatter Forest. Nice.

Whinlatter's new ‘blue grade' trail has been designed especially to suit reasonably competent cyclists and mountain bikers of any age with basic off road riding skills, including families with children aged seven years and over. Most robust bikes will manage the trail, a few extra gears and a little suspension may help.

Whinlatter Forest Park is England's only true mountain forest. Rising to 790 metres above sea level, it offers spectacular views of the Lake District and into Scotland, so the new purpose built ‘blue grade' trail will also be England's highest.

Bike hire facilities will be provided by Cyclewise, who also offer mountain bike training, junior cycle skill sessions, bike wash and workshops at Whinlatter.

Craig Scott from Cyclewise, says:

"The new ‘Quercus Trail' is a fantastic new development which will open the forest up to a much wider range of visitors, allowing them to get involved in a great sport and see the forest in a whole new light.

"The trail has been built in such a way that as riders' fitness and skills increase they can extend their journey to suit."

The Quercus Trail has been built by trailbuilders Clixby's, who previously constructed mountain bike trails for the Forestry Commission at Dalby forest in North Yorkshire, the descent line at Stainburn, near Leeds and have upgraded sections on the Follow The Dog trail at Cannock Chase in the West Midlands.

The Quercus Trail is the latest addition to Whinlatter's growing range of mountain biking facilities. The ‘Altura Trail', the longest purpose-built mountain bike trail in the Lake District, was unveiled at Whinlatter at the end of last year.

The Altura Trail boasts 19 kilometres of red grade mountain bike route, which includes 15 kilometres of new singletrack for experienced riders with good off road skills and a reasonable level of fitness. It has popular features like berms, jumps, rock gardens, skinnies, cork screws and table tops. There are also great views of Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite and the surrounding fells.

Together with all the different walking routes and the Go Ape high wire forest adventure courses; Whinlatter is now one of the region's leading centres for outdoor activities.

The new mountain bike trail developments at Whinlatter are part of an ongoing £500,000 project to improve the visitor facilities at Whinlatter Forest.

The North West Regional Development Agency is helping to fund the construction of the mountain bike trails and redevelopment of the car park at the Whinlatter Visitor Centre.

The new trail has also be made possible thanks to a £50,000 grant from Cumbria Tourism's Adventure Capital Phase One Fund and a £50,000 grant from Sport England.

More information about Whinlatter Forest Park and its cycling facilities can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/northwestengland.