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Bike makes the forest more accessible

PUBLISHED: 17:34 18 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:01 07 July 2010

Mike Hume of the Friends drives Keith Ready of Thetford Access Group at Thetford Forest today.

Mike Hume of the Friends drives Keith Ready of Thetford Access Group at Thetford Forest today.

Thetford Forest became more accessible today with the launch of a new bicycle for disabled visitors.

More than 40 miles of trails around High Lodge, near Thetford, have been made open to all ages and abilities as a result of the work of local volunteers.

Thetford Forest became more accessible with the launch of a new bicycle for disabled visitors.

More than 40 miles of trails around High Lodge have been made open to all ages and abilities as a result of the work of local volunteers.

Officials from the Forestry Commission and the Friends of Thetford Forest Park officially launched the new 'opair' which has an in-built wheelchair for disabled adults and is propelled by an able-bodied person.

The new specially-made cycle comes after the Friends raised £12,000 four years ago for seven bikes for disabled children and young people.

Jim Lyon, forest district manager for the Forestry Commission, said he was “delighted” that the volunteers had helped pay for the latest £3,000 opair, which aimed to make Thetford Forest open to everyone.

“There is a growing demand for these bikes and we want more and more people and all ages using these trails in the forest. The Friends' latest gift to High Lodge will mean that even more less-able forest users will get to enjoy the great outdoors and all the benefits that this brings with it,” he said.

Friends of Thetford Forest Park was set up in 1995 to increase understanding, knowledge and enjoyment of the area and has more than 700 members. The disabled-friendly bikes are hired, stored and maintained at the Bike Art shop at High Lodge visitor centre on a not-for-profit basis.

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