Go-ahead for new Aboyne bike park

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MOUNTAIN bike enthusiasts in Aboyne are celebrating after getting the go-ahead for a mountain bike play park in the Bellwood Community Woodland.

The amenity which has been granted planning permission, will be free at the point of use and open access to all.

It will consist of a pump park, skills course, dirt jump area and two downhill tracks – facilities designed to appeal to as wide an age group and ability range as possible.

Members of Aboyne Bike Park Association (ABPA) and Aboyne Nomads MTB club have worked hard to raise funds for the bike park, which will be situated at the far eastern end of the wood away from the residential area. Around 100 residents took part in a sponsored bike ride in March which raised over £6000 of sponsorship.

Grants have also been secured from the Marr Area Partnership, the Robertson Trust, Bristows Helicopters, Shell, the Upper Deeside Community Development Group, the Aboyne Youth Project and the Rural Aberdeenshire LEADER Programme.

The group thanked Duncan Robson, of DWR architecture, Aboyne, who donated his expertise to prepare the planning application, and Irvine Ross of RTS Ltd, Aboyne, who donated the tree survey for the planning process.

ABPA chair, Anna Blair said: “The village has for years requested more facilities for young people. We now have planning permission and full funding to allow this exciting project to go ahead as soon as possible! We are now beginning the process of tendering for contractors and expect the four-week build to go ahead sometime between December and February.”

Facilities for young people were highlighted as a key priority in the 2011 Aboyne Community Action Plan. Results of the survey showed support for the building of a mountain bike facility, not only from pupils at Aboyne Primary and Academy, but also from the community at large.

The group says biking provides an outlet for “positive risk taking and encourages healthy lifestyles” and that mountain biking - a growing activity - bringing tourists into Deeside and economic benefits to the community.