Here are some pictures of parts of the new Category 3 (Blue Grade) mountain bike trails at Barnett's Demesne, Belfast - this is a seriously sensitive site which is used by thousands of people every day for taking the dog for a walk, going for a run or just to get a bit of peace and quiet. But it's also very heavily used by mountain bikers who have established a network of single track trails throughout the park over a many years.
However these trails are a cause of great concern to the park management and they are keen to try and manage mountain biking in the park by providing mountain bikers with sustainable alternatives. We are trying to get these trails into this park in as low impact a way as possible and in a way which is sensitive to the way in which people value this place. So that means the creation of super low impact mellow singletrack trails for the most part (which are shown in the pictures) but the development also includes a number of Category 4 (Red Grade) trails and a dirt jump area. The challenge at this site is to make sure we meet the needs and expectations of the many mountain bikers whilst also having as little impact as possible. Hopefully we are well on the way to achieving this.
As you can probably tell from these pictures the new trails are already being heavily used by riders - it's really important that people stay off these trails as they must be given time to dry out, consolidate and compact. Riding them just makes more work for the contractor and prolongs the trails construction process.