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Video from Northampton Bike Park in its opening week

Steve Scoles has a first look at the new mountain bike park in Northampton

A lot has been packed into a small space at Northampton Bike Park which opened this week.

Set on the former nine hole golf course between Hardingstone and Delapre the designers have managed to incorporate black and red level trails with green and blue routes so there is something for everyone to have a go at.

The easiest parking is at Delapre Golf Centre and the track connects to Northampton’s Norbital cycling network.

I had a roll around the track and put together the following video.

Northamptonshire Sport wrote about the site:

Mountain bike enthusiasts of all ages and abilities will be able to enjoy Northampton’s brand-new bike park which opened on Monday (Sept 26).  

The new Bike Park has been created on a former golf course, which was being used as part of Delapré Golf Centre until around six years ago and is connected with other parts of the town by the Norbital cycle route. Costing £750K to build, £250,000 of funding came from Sport England via the ‘Places To Ride fund’ a partnership between Sport England, British Cycling and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The rest of the project costs were funded by West Northamptonshire Council, including £50, 000 funds of from Public Health Northamptonshire. 

The new facility offers:  

  • A multi-user green trail, which is an easy, dual-direction cycle route across the site, connecting Houghton Hill to the underpass for the A45 
  • Blue (moderate), red (difficult) and black (severe) off-road mountain bike trails for different abilities with dual tracks which will allow head-to-head riding 
  • Five gathering spots where riders can meet to discuss the next section of track, and coaching can be provided 
  • Climb sections – which are uphill sections to test endurance
  • A mountain bike skills area 
  • 13 hectares of ecological habitats

Local physical activity, health and wellbeing charity, Northamptonshire Sport has been appointed to manage the day-to-day operations of the new Park. Whilst the Park is a free-to-use open facility, two new members of the Northamptonshire Sport team will be overseeing the development and maintenance of the Bike Park, whilst continuing to collaborate with partners to ensure the site is inclusive, benefitting as many people in the local community as possible, from children to experienced mountain bikers. Maintenance of the park and the habitat surrounding the trails will be funded by income generated from car park revenues and donations. 

Northamptonshire Sport plans to develop the Park’s offering, including programmes for young people, local communities and those with limiting disabilities. There will also be coaches on hand to help people develop their skills, regional events and the option to hire equipment to try the facilities, without having to make a big financial investment.

Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure at West Northamptonshire Council said:   

“We’re very happy to be delivering a facility in partnership with Sport England and British Cycling which will benefit people of any age and ability, and which may one day produce some stars of the sport.  

“It’s incredibly important that we continue to enhance leisure opportunities for people in our area, and we expect a significant number of people to benefit from this wonderful new facility.  

“If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s how precious our physical and mental health are, so we will continue to pursue opportunities to deliver more developments of this type.”  

Gabrielle Deere, Strategic Director – Business Development & Commercial at Northamptonshire Sport said: 

“We’re proud and excited to manage and operate this amazing new facility. As a charity focussed on physical activity, health and wellbeing, the Park aligns with our mission to help make the county a happier, healthier and more active place. With the Bike Park, we’re aiming to provide a free but sustainable facility and develop an inclusive, safe and exciting place, to be enjoyed by everyone, with or without a bike.”   

Nick Barr, West Midlands and Central Regional Manager at British Cycling said:

“British Cycling is delighted to be supporting Northampton’s incredible new bike park. Mountain bike trails like these can be the first step on the journey for the next generation of cycling championships, with the likes of our Great Britain Cycling Team heroes discovering their passion for cycling at their local bike parks.

“At British Cycling, we are constantly trying to make our sport more accessible and inclusive, and these new trails are an amazing example of what can be achieved through the support and investment from our Places to Ride fund – a partnership between British Cycling, Sport England and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport.”

Mountain bike enthusiast and amateur competitor, Tony Skirrow, has been part of the project from the outset. He added: 

“This park is a great opportunity for young people to experience what us older riders do when we travel two to three hours away from Northampton. Being able to ride to a park like this is going to give them the opportunity to get outside, which is great, and to interact with us older riders, learn skills and develop as human beings.” 

The newly formed Mountain Bike Club called Ride Northampton, led by Tony Skirrow, will help maintain the trails and members have had training in how to do this as part of the construction contract.

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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