The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP was on hand this week to launch a new network of over 80km of off-road cycling trails in South West Surrey, funded by a grant of £19,000 from the London Marathon Charitable Trust (LMCT). The aim of the project known as ‘Cycle Surrey Hills’ is to encourage residents and visitors to get active, improve fitness and experience the spectacular scenery of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Cycle Surrey Hills is broken down into five interlinking routes giving cyclists the opportunity to choose either a long distance ride or shorter loops. The Frensham, Devil’s Punchbowl, Thursley, Puttenham and Elstead loops all offer a challenging ride of varying lengths with breathtaking Surrey Hills views and points of interest along the way. The new trails are the first phase in what is hoped will become an extensive network spreading out across the entire Surrey Hills, giving cyclists the opportunity to experience a long distance route across Surrey.
Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP commented “I am delighted to launch Cycle Surrey Hills in my constituency of South West Surrey. The new routes will appeal to families as well as serious cyclists and provide a wonderful opportunity to experience the spectacular scenery of the Surrey Hills. Cycling not only provides tremendous health benefits but being outdoors in the landscape is also proven to benefit mental health. I look forward to experiencing the routes myself.”
The launch of Cycle Surrey Hills also coincides with national charity Cycling UKs Bike week (9-17 June) which encourages ‘everyday cycling for everyone’, with a core aim of getting people to give cycling a go all over the UK.
Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Cycling UK comments; “There’s a freedom to riding on the trails that no other type of cycling can deliver. It’s why over 90% of people who cycle off-road list the mental wellbeing benefits as just as important as the physical when out riding in the countryside.”
”Cycling UK is proud to have helped bring these new routes to light – and we look forward to working on extending the network across the whole of the Surrey Hills and along the North Downs Way.”
Funding for the project has come from the London Marathon Charitable Trust, who award grants for capital projects that inspire and increase the numbers of people regularly taking part in physical activities.
Donna Fraser, Trustee of LMCT comments; “This is a great project for us, as it makes it easier for people to be active, enjoy off road cycling and take in the natural beauty of Surrey at the same time. It is exactly the kind of project that we’re delighted to be involved in.”
Since the first Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling in 2013, organisations in Surrey have been eligible to apply for LMCT grants toward projects that inspire more people to be active. During this time, more than £2.5million has now been awarded by The Trust to more than 70 projects across Surrey.”
A leaflet detailing the new routes is free to pick up in local outlets and available to download on-line from www.surreyhills.org