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Bid to improve forest trails

PUBLISHED: 17:14 20 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:05 07 July 2010

A VOLUNTARY organisation has launched a recruitment drive in a bid to improve the mountain bike trails of Thetford Forest before the 2012 Olympics.

The Thetford Improved Mountain Biking EnviRonment (TIMBER) group was formed last year to help upgrade more than 60 miles of tracks around High Lodge at Santon Downham.

A VOLUNTARY organisation has launched a recruitment drive in a bid to improve the mountain bike trails of Thetford Forest before the 2012 Olympics.

The Thetford Improved Mountain Biking EnviRonment (TIMBER) group was formed last year to help upgrade more than 60 miles of tracks around High Lodge at Santon Downham.

Officials from the not-for-profit organisation are now calling on more enthusiasts to come forward to help make the forest an attractive place for international competitors to train for the London 2012 games.

Thetford Forest is one of 600 facilities identified across the country to be used as a potential training camp for teams at the Olympics and Paralympics.

Around 35 TIMBER members, with the assistance of the Forestry Commission, are improving the forest's green, blue, red, and black grade trails by making the “muddy” and “eroded” paths all-weather tracks and adding extra technical features for competitors and leisure cyclists.

Roger Powell, fundraiser for the group, said the volunteers had already completed 1km of track, but would take 19 years to finish the Thetford Forest course if it continued at the same rate.

“Mountain biking is becoming a huge sport and Thetford might not have the gradient of North Wales, but it is a unique fast flowing track. The 2012 Olympics would be a huge boost and hopefully the Forestry Commission can persuade the authorities that it is a great place to train,” he said.

More than 1.5m people visit Thetford Forest every year, many of whom ride its vast network of trails. TIMBER, which has members from as close as Brandon to as far away as London, meets every third Saturday to carry out the upgrade work.

Membership is £5 a year. For more information, visit www.timbermtb.org

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