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Plans to expand Bike Park Wales in Merthyr Tydfil approved

The Entrance To Bike Park Wales Off The A470 In Merthyr Tydfil (Pic: Google Maps)

PLANS to expand Bike Park Wales in Merthyr Tydfil have been given the go ahead.

The application for the site at the Gethin Woodland Centre off the A470 which involves the construction of mountain bike trails, access trails and uplift track extension and amendments was approved by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday, May 8.

It will see the expansion of the trail network at Bike Park Wales and provide an additional 33,407 metres of mountain bike trails of varying difficulty for mountain bike riders to meet the needs of its customer base, the planning committee report said.

The application site is made up of an area of land adjacent to the existing Bike Park Wales leisure development at Gethin Woodland Centre, Abercanaid.

The woodlands are managed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) however the land is within the Bike Park Wales leased area.

The new trails are designed to make the best use of the existing topography of the site, using natural rock slabs, boulders and terrain as riding features.

Steeper slopes and gradients are to be used for more difficult trails and the gentler slopes and gradients on the hillside for the easier routes.

The diversity of the terrain provides the necessary environment for mountain biking, the report said.

This application seeks consent for 27 descending trails, nine climbing trails, seven link trails, two skills areas, two amendments to the uplift trails and 29 access and emergency tracks.

The trails range from short linking sections measuring approximately 50 metres long through to full length trails of several thousand metres in length.

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The design of the trails would vary between 1m to 1.5m wide and most of the trail sections are between 400-800 metres long.

The trails would largely be made from the natural sub-soils found on site, although some trails will require some surfacing works with crushed stone aggregate.

Two skills areas are included which provide small zones where riders can focus on practising and developing their skills on the trails which the report said allow for easy repetition of features and for people to learn in a controlled environment.

Skills area A will include an existing area of a small disused quarry featuring a range of rocky slopes and shelves which allow users to learn core skills, the report said.

The other is located in the northern section of the site, to the west of the visitors centre, which will provide a small confined zone where riders can practice and develop their skills using a set of short trails with an average widths of one metre.

The emergency access tracks are included to provide access to the trails during construction and for ongoing maintenance and emergency access.

The report said that mountain biking is a relatively high-risk activity and the injuries sustained can be severe so it is important that there is access to injured riders if needed.

There were no public representations received by the council in relation to the application.

In recommending approval, planning officers said the proposed development is deemed to be acceptable and that it would provide an enhanced tourism/leisure facility.