The Forestry Commission and the Cyclists’ Touring Club will open a new trail on Sunday April 13, which is accessible to all for active recreation, in the heart of Dalby Forest on the southern slopes of the North York Moors.
The Ellerburn Trail is a multi-user pathway for disabled cyclists, walkers, and wheelchair users as well as being a safe and accessible route for children learning to ride a bike and parents with pushchairs.
The trail runs along Ellerburn Beck in Dalby Forest and aims to cater for seven per cent of Dalby Forest’s annual visitors with mobility issues and their families (around 31,500 of the 450,000 visitors).
One new circular route has been constructed; which is compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and the existing Ellerburn route has been enhanced catering for the more adventurous visitor with mobility issues, but still providing easy access.
The Forestry Commission has worked with a number of partner organisations, including Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), the Federation for Disability Sport and a range of local community groups to develop the trail.
The trail has been funded by a contribution of £74,950 from Natural England’s Paths for Communities Fund and £25,000 from Yorventure (through funds generated by Yorwaste Ltd) and £25,000 from the Forestry Commission.
The trail provides opportunities for organisations such as Ryedale Special Families, an independent charity who offer support for children and young adults with disabilities and their families.
David Brewster, Chief Officer at Ryedale Special Families, said: “The multi-user trail will provide us with the chance to go on group bike rides. This is something that we cannot manage at the moment, as there is no suitable terrain in the area. We are delighted with the launch of the trail and very much look forward to using it.”
The trail is also being welcomed by Thornton Dale Primary School, which has been actively involved in the planting of the Forest Garden project in the Courtyard at Dalby.
Headteacher at Thornton Dale Primary School, Mrs Karetnyk, said: “The trail will help our pupils develop their confidence on bikes along the route as well as providing us with the opportunity to carry out educational activities, such as learning the names of edible plants and foraging in the forest, in a safer setting.”
There will be signposting and waymarking along the trail and it has been designed to incorporate the features, which are typical to Dalby, using locally sourced materials.
Dalby Forest has benefitted from investment of £4.3million, over the last decade, resulting in its transformation to a Regional Centre of Excellence for sustainable economic activity. Some of the developments have included a sustainably constructed visitor centre, and refurbished courtyard. Added to this the Forestry Commission has also secured funding for a new adventure playground, which is to be opened this spring.
Dalby is also home to a cycling network with a number of cycle trails for varying abilities. Adapted bikes are available both from the visitor centre and Dalby Bike Barn.
The official opening of the trail in April will also coincide with the installation of the Gruffalo Activity Trail along this route. The Forestry Commission teamed up with the Gruffalo to help celebrate his 15th anniversary. Sign up at www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo to be the first to hear about the celebrations. Why not come along and try out the Ellerburn train and find the Gruffalo along the way.