Blast off!

27.09.2011

An inaugural road cycling event designed to attract tourists to Northumberland has been deemed a huge success.

Last weekend (Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September 2011) saw the first ever Bellingham Blast event take place against the stunning backdrop of Kielder Water & Forest Park and Northumberland National Park.

The event combined a 61 mile circuit of transfixing terrain for serious road bikers into the Kielder, along with a 22 mile route for casual and family
riders between Bellingham and Falstone.

Alex Maclennan, recreation and public affairs manager with Forestry Commission, said: “A fantastic weekend was had by all. There were 50 riders tackling the 61 mile circuit and 100 on the family event.

“The area is now famed as attracting high profile events and Bellingham has developed a reputation as a walking and cycling hub. A great amount of partnership working brought this event together and locals and visitors alike are keen for us to bring Bellingham Blast back again next year.”

Colin Hall, cycle development officer from WATBike, said: “We brought a group of experienced and novice cyclists to the event from the urban South East Northumberland corner. A few of the group found the ride fairly challenging and we were all stunned by the impressive landscape and panoramic views throughout the bike ride, helped along by the nice sunny weather. We all celebrated finishing the ride with a welcome cuppa and slice of cake at the local café in Bellingham. Bring it on next year!"

The Bellingham Event Group which organised the event comprises Forestry Commission, British Cycling, Northumberland National Park, Bellingham District Trade and Tourism Association, local businesses and North Tyne and Redesdale Community Partnership.

Kielder Water & Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more information go to www.visitkielder.com.

For more information contact Philippa Clark, communications advisor (Kielder Water & Forest Park), on 0191 301 5538, 07970 897 756 or philippa.clark@nwl.co.uk

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place for leisure, exploration and fun.

Members, who have appointed directors/trustees to serve on the board, are Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder and Northumberland County Council. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils.

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