Work Kicks Off on Forest of Dean’s Launchpad and Countdown Trails.

Following a successful fundraiser that went past target, Forestry England and Dean Trail Volunteers are working on two of FoD’s trails.

It’s all go in the Forest of Dean as Forestry England and Dean Trail Volunteers get to work giving some move-needed love to Launchpad, and Countdown.

Read the full press release below.

A £51,000 maintenance programme is set to start in March. This will include the complete resurfacing of both trails, futureproofing them so they can be enjoyed for years to come. £43,000 is being invested by Forestry England, who are dedicated to supporting the mountain biking industry in the Forest of Dean and across the country. An online fundraiser hosted by DTV raised over £8,000 in donations, a clear indicator of the passion felt for these trails.

First opened in 2014, Launchpad is the only trail of its kind in the UK specifically designed for four-wheeled gravity bikes. Countdown was later added as a top section to Launchpad, dropping in and flowing through the forest, allowing riders to pick up speed throughout the descent. The trails are popular with riders of all abilities, with their flowy berms and fun jump sections, and are ridden by around 60,000 people every year. With the growing popularity of mountain biking this figure is predicted to rise.

This high volume of visitors has led to the trails becoming worn out and are now in need of repair. As well as resurfacing the trails, sections will be reshaped to better support two-wheeled riders who make up the majority of current trail users. The designs will ensure those riding on four-wheels are still catered for. Back on Track are being brought in to carry out the refurbishment.

Kate Thoday, Cycle Ranger for Forestry England in the Forest of Dean said:

“Countdown and Launchpad are two of our most popular trails in the Forest of Dean and so it is great to be able to carry out this maintenance, get them repaired and brought back to their former glory.

“We saw a record number of visitors at Cannop Cycle Centre last year and whilst it was fantastic to see so many people out enjoying the forest, it does take its toll on the trails. Income we generate from car parking and membership makes it possible for us to make these kinds of investments and we are excited to be able to get started on this work in partnership with DTV.”

Alan Grist, Dig Lead for DTV added:

“It was always going to be a challenge to raise the amount of money needed to refurbish Launchpad and we have been humbled, especially in these hard times, by the response and generosity of riders.

“But it was looking like it would be a very long time before we reached our goal, so we are over the moon that we have been able to partner with Forestry England to, not only realise the funds needed for Launchpad, but do refurbishment work on Countdown as well. Best of all we will be able to start on the work months earlier than anticipated.”

DTV carry out maintenance on the majority of the Dean’s official cycling trail network. This financial support means that when Covid-19 restrictions lift, the team can concentrate in other areas, getting trails fixed more quickly. DTV are always looking for volunteers to help on dig days, more details can be found on their website.

It is currently expected that Countdown and Launchpad will be closed for approximately two months, although this is subject to change and is largely weather dependent.

You can check out everything Dean Trail Volunteer-related on their website here.