New bike trails have been opened in Sandwell Valley Country Park and the former Hill Top Golf Course in Birmingham.
They come as part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games Legacy Project, ensuring that the benefits to the local area will last for decades to come, boosting health, inspiring people and enhancing the sports legacy for Sandwell, Birmingham and the wider Black Country.
The routes are designed to cater for cyclists of all abilities, meaning that everyone can enjoy the trails, including families with children. The Green Trail around Swan Pool at Sandwell offers a family-friendly route for beginners. For more experienced cyclists, there is a blue, red or black trail at the Hill Top site.
These trails, in addition to helping Sandwell residents to improve their physical and mental health, will encourage people to develop their skills, helping them to become more confident road cyclists and take up cycling for travel and commuting purposes. The trails will also reduce social isolation, by promoting community cycling clubs and events.
Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, said: “This exciting development will enhance Sandwell Valley Country Park as a visitor destination, providing a further attraction to what is already a substantial offer. It’s also another great example of the Commonwealth Games legacy delivering for people in Sandwell, Birmingham and beyond.
“The trails provide our residents with a free way to keep fit or just have fun with family and friends in Sandwell’s open spaces, as well as encouraging people to discover our other wonderful cycling trails.”
Sandwell Valley is already home to part of the Cycle Network’s Route 5, which runs from Reading to Holyhead.
The trails are principally funded by Sport England’s ‘Places to Ride’ programme, which is a collaboration between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Sport England and British Cycling. This programme has given £430,000 towards the routes, with Sandwell Council and Birmingham City Council providing £100,000 each.
Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Executive Director of Place at Sport England, added: “The council’s ambition is to encourage more people from a range of different backgrounds to engage with cycling through this facility which really resonates with our Uniting the Movement strategy, in terms of increasing activity, reducing inactivity and tackling inequalities.
“We will continue to support Sandwell Council and Birmingham City Council to have a positive impact on the sport and physical activity opportunities available for their communities. We will continue to unite the movement for the benefit of all.”
To learn more about the trails and what Sandwell Valley Country Park has to offer, go to the Visit Sandwell website.