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AONB to benefit from new off–road cycling project 1SW

( Last Updated: 16-12-2009 )

The South West is set to become a world class destination for off-road cycling.  A total of £7.5m is being invested in developing the activity across the region including funding of £4.6m from the Rural Development Programme for England. The Forestry Commission led 1SW initiative will be developing trails, sites and information across the whole region which will enhance the quality of experience for anyone who wants to experience the fun of off-road cycling. 

Paul Hawkins, 1SW Project Manager says: "The 1SW project will make off-road cycling attractive and accessible to everyone, even to those who haven't ridden a bike for years! The region's tourism economy stands to benefit greatly with opportunities for a diverse range of businesses, from increased out-of-season accommodation demand to providing specialist services such as guided rides. We will be working with local businesses to ensure they maximise their benefit from the provision of this quality adventurous cycling product."

Funding comes from the Rural Development Programme for England, which is partly funded by DEFRA and the EU. The funding is provided as part of a wider project under the Sustainable Rural Tourism Theme, managed by the South West RDA (regional development agency). Mike Johns of the South West RDA said: "The 1SW initiative is just one project in a far-reaching suite of interlinked investments that are being made through Sustainable Rural Tourism which will have a really significant impact across the whole region."

The National Trust, South West Lakes Trust, the National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and Bristol City Council are all key delivery partners in this project and are excited about broadening their visitor base. The project presents a significant opportunity as off-road cycling appeals to many ‘non-traditional' visitors to the region's countryside. Paul Hawkins adds: "We can't wait to get both tourists and residents out enjoying off-road cycling with their friends and families.  1SW will be a huge boost for the region".

More information about the project can be found at http://www.1sw.org.uk/

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