For lovers of extreme sports, there is an exciting new development coming to the woods at Penshaw Monument.
Local mountain bikers have been using Penshaw Wood for creating and riding downhill tracks for several years. This has led to a bit of an uneasy relationship between them and our staff. While we have tended to turn a bit of a blind eye to their trail building, they have tried their best to avoid us, knowing they don’t have permission for it.
Happily all that has now changed. We were approached towards the end of last year by Ian, a local bike shop owner and mountain bike enthusiast (check out his website – Sanctuary Bikes). He wanted to see if we would be willing to hold a downhill mountain bike competition in the woods. We said we would, and that we’d also like to work with him and other local riders to create a quality permanent downhill course.
Through formalising the routes in the woods we hope to achieve a few different goals:
Firstly we want to create some quality downhill routes suitable for all levels of ability. At present there is little provision in the area, so it will be well used by local riders.
Along with installing the courses we will include signage that will help make the courses safer for both the bikers and the walkers in the woods.
Finally, we hope by providing these routes there will be much less unauthorised digging in the woods, which will allow them to recover and develop for wildlife.
We started work on the construction of the course this week and have already created our first berm (banked corner) and jump. Ian even lent us his bike to try them out, although only Wayne and Chris were brave enough to try! We’ll be there regularly over the next month or so. We plan to have the first phase of the course completed in time for the big downhill competition on the 14th April. Watch this space for further details!