City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mountain Bike Areas Planned For Local Parks

By edg - Posted on 02 February 2011

Craigmillar Castle Park

Three areas of Edinburgh have been suggested as possible areas for mountain biking in new reports. Local community groups working in the areas commissioned the reports with the help of the City of Edinburgh Council Countryside Ranger Service and funding from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

It is hoped one of the sites will be suitable for hosting national cross country mountain bike and cyclo-cross races plus other outdoor events and competitions such as orienteering events, bringing in money to the area.

Craigmillar Castle Park, Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park and Corstorphine Hill Local Nature Reserve have been used informally by mountain bikers but the routes created were not always appropriate for the wear and tear caused by off-road bicycles.

Community organisation The Friends of Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park, together with their counterparts at Corstorphine and Craigmillar, have mapped out the area to safeguard routes for existing users, and create facilities for off road cyclists.

Alan Mitchell of Craigmillar Woods Action Group said: “Sometimes the informal routes and jumps created can be in inappropriate places, such as close to walkers or where wildlife can be disturbed. We are keen to see people having a good time on their bikes as well as providing safe routes for walkers so we commissioned the report to help us plan this. The results are circuits of bike routes using lesser used parts of the parks and leaving existing paths for walkers. In addition we plan to have skills zones where mountain bikers can learn bike handling skills in a structured way that encourages good trial manners and low impact riding.”

The Craigmillar Castle Park report also suggests, in addition to the green family-friendly cycling routes, blue grade routes requiring better skills and red grade routes for more experienced riders.

Stacy Schumacher of the City of Edinburgh Council Countryside Ranger Service said the reports, compiled by cycling specialists 7 Stanes, will go out to public consultation. "If local people are keen then the groups will press ahead and look for funding to make the plans a reality.”

Craigmillar plan gets local support

The Craigmillar Castle Park group has already finished a three month consultation with a very positive response from local people. The planned routes and skill sections will be suitable for use by individuals or for group coaching. Providing local activities for young people was one of the key aims for the group.

John O’Keefe, of government conservation body Scottsh National Heritage said: “Mountain biking is a rapidly growing activity in Scotland but not everyone has the opportunity to go to the more remote sites to practice it. Developing trails in our city green spaces will enable local Edinburgh enthusiasts to practise and novice riders to learn skills in a safer environment."

“This innovative project brings together three active community groups to plan for the needs of walkers and cyclists. We are delighted to fund the reports and look forward to seeing these local communities benefiting from the activities, and perhaps the economic spin-offs.”