Photo: Steve Morgan

Mountain Bike Trails at Hurstwood Woodland

The Watershed Landscape Project supported the development of a mountain bike trail at Hurstwood on United Utilities' Worsthorne Estate. This strand of the project was delivered jointly by United Utilities and Lancashire County Council and is part of a wider landscape restoration scheme seeking to: restore priority habitats on Worsthorne Moor, improve access for a wider range of recreational users, and promote the educational opportunities presented by this special landscape.

United Utilities allow recreational access to the coniferous plantation at Hurstwood, mainly by walkers. However, an increasing number of mountain bikers were accessing the woodland, who in some cases had begun to establish unofficial trails. United Utilities wanted to formalise this access by providing safer, well-designed and managed trails for use by mountain bikes.

Lancashire County Council is experience din developing mountain bike trails in other areas of the County (e.g. Lee Quarry and Cragg Quarry in Rossendale and Healey Nab in Chorley), and were asked by the owner to project-manage the construction of the trails.

The trails are graded 'blue (suitable for intermediate cyclists/mountain bikers with basic off-road riding skills and reasonable fitness) and constructed in such a way as to blend in with the existing woodland. The trails will be inspected by Lancashire County Council and maintained by United Utilities.

Ecology experts have been involved in the planning of the trail routes to ensure that the woodland habitat is protected as much as possible and that bird species are not disturbed during their nesting season.

Alongside feasibility studies with trail design experts, the local community have been consulted on the proposed developments which should make the area a safer and better maintained place to mountain bike for local enthusiasts.