A NEW section of single track mountain bike trail has been created at Hamsterley Forest thanks to the hard work of local trail group, the Hamsterley Trailblazers, supported by the local Forestry Commission team.

The new section replaces a forest road section on the red graded “Transmission Line” trail, adding a new dimension to test the skills of Hamsterley’s mountain bikers.

Oliver Graham, from the Hamsterley Trailblazers said: “This is the first section of trail that will hopefully create a continuous single track trail from 5 Lane Ends to The Grove forming one of the longest sections of single track in the UK. 

"The trail will be full of features and action and will be a great addition to the trail network at Hamsterley. 

"It has been made possible by generous donations and thousands of hours of volunteer time.”

Alex MacLennan, Forestry Commission Recreation Manager, has worked closely with the Trailblazers for a number of years and said: “We are delighted to continue to work alongside the energy of so many local people committed to making Hamsterley Forest one of the “must ride” mountain bike centres in the UK, which also supports the development of rural tourism within County Durham.

"Here at Hamsterley, the riders really do understand the importance of putting something back directly into the development and upkeep of the trail network.

"What makes this even more amazing is that this approach has been in place now for over ten years.

"We are already looking at the next development and as part of this, the Forestry Commission are working to submitting a planning permission for a blue graded trail which is more aimed at moderate or beginner level, to widen the offer to help ensure everyone can enjoy the largest forest within County Durham.”

Funding for the new trail section has come from several sources. 

A donation of £14,000 came from The Teesdale Area Action Partnership Neighbourhood Budget, from Councillors Andy Turner and Heather Smith.

Cllr Smith attended the opening and said: “Councillor Andy Turner and I are delighted to be able to use some of our neighbourhood fund to help with the building of new mountain bike trails in Hamsterley Forest. 

"Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy the forest, keeps people fit and attracts more visitors to Hamsterley so we are really pleased to play our part in enhancing the visitors’ experience.”

A further £14,000 came from donations for the Neil Polson Fund, a local mountain biker who passed away unexpectedly last year.

For more information about the fund visit localgiving.org/fundraising/neil-polson

Finally, £10,000 has come from a local Tesco’s Bags of Help Grant.

Hamsterley Forest is managed by the Forestry Commission and attracts around 200,000 visitors each year.

As well the mountain bike trails and Danny Hart’s Descend Bike Park, the forest is a top destination for forest walkers, families enjoying the forest play trail including the Gruffalo sculptures, and horse riders.