"The South West Woodland Renaissance Partnership vision is to regenerate woodland and forestry in the South West for the benefit of the economy, society and the environment. Through the Woodland Renaissance Scheme the Partnership aims to inspire and sustain investment in woodlands, timber processing and all associated goods and services."
When not winning the 4X races or eating pudding Neil has an uncanny ability of making very interesting and valuable contacts. The most recent of which was Chris Revill from Bath and North East Somerset Council who Neil met at the recent Bath BMX and 4X comp, they got to talking and Chris gave Neil the contact of Paul Hawkins from the South West Woodland Renaissance Partnership. Now from the very beginning we have made it clear to the Longleat estate that we feel the area would greatly benefit from a purpose built family MTB trail, Longleat have expressed an interest in this but were keen to see how things turned out with the BCC and the allotment before jumping in. What's exiting about the woodland renaissance is that one of their focal points will be funding bicycle trails and supporting infrastructure in woodland areas!
Although the partnership is not active for another month I'm already very excited about getting talks going and seeing what we can all achieve. There is great potential for some fantastic trails at longleat and with the many local riders and thousands of visitors I'm confident that there's a market for such a development.
Importantly the woodland renaissance are able to help with the initial stages of conducting a full feasibility study - something that is essential if any project is to succeed - and the first step needed before we get too carried away. The partnership is set up to deal with landowners rather than clubs and so it is important to realise that this effort would be for the benefit of the whole area rather than just the club, but we are dedicated to developing local mountain biking and although just a dream at the moment the prospect of a free and permanent set of trails in longleat woods is an incredibly exciting one.
I spoke to the partnership on Friday and explained our aims, existing relationship with the estate and the location. They've stated that they are very eager to begin talks and will contact us in a month time when they are fully operational. In the mean time I'll speak to Paul Grugeon on Monday to get the ball rolling, lets see what happens......