Wednesday, 27 February 2019 15:32

Public consultation and exhibition on the proposed new Pentland Trail Centre – The future for Edinburgh biking?

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In 2023 Scotland will host the World Championships for all cycling disciplines including mountain biking.

Two local businessmen are behind a new mountain bike trail centre that could revolutionise cycle participation in East Central Scotland.

Proposals for the creation of The Pentland Trail Centre, a publicly accessible and family focused mountain bike trail centre, supported by a relevant leisure based commercial development, will be presented at an open public consultation on Tuesday 5 March 2019 at Swanston Golf Clubhouse, 111 Swanston Road, Edinburgh, EH10 7DS, between 14.00 and 19.00 where feedback and comments are invited.

The site for the trail centre is located within the boundary of the former Lothianburn Golf Course, sitting inside both the City of Edinburgh city boundary and the Pentland Hills Regional Park.

The easy to access Pentland Trail Centre will offer an excellent introduction to traffic-free cycling for kids and their families, as well as more challenging cross-country trails for Edinburgh and Midlothian’s estimated 260,000 cyclists.

Pentland 1Photo: David Cheskin

The terrain and location of the site is ideal for 10.5km of high quality and fun mountain bike trails to suit all abilities (from green route for beginners to red route for the more experienced).  Other outdoor activities to suit a wide range of ages and interests are being considered for the site.  These include a high ropes course, a zipline and an alpine roller luge.

Developed from a 2014 Feasibility Study and subsequent public consultation, The Pentland Trail Centre is an initiative of Hillend Leisure Ltd, a new company established by Alastair McClung (Swanston Farms, the landowner of the Lothianburn site) and Stuart Wright (Advie Properties and formerly responsible for Dobbies’ development activities). Both are keen mountain bikers and qualified Mountain Bike Leaders.  They have the vision of bringing land ownership, leisure management and leisure-based property development together to deliver a rare opportunity right next to Edinburgh.

The outdoor trail centre, occupying more than 80% of the site, will be supported by a commercial development to include café facilities, changing facilities, relevant retail, office space and accommodation 'pods'.  It will be located in the valley to the rear of the Steading Inn and between the northern slopes of the Pentland Regional Park and the central ridge that runs from the old golf clubhouse up to the T woods.

Alastair McClung stated: “Our passion is to introduce mountain biking to a much wider audience, on the perfect site, right next to the city. It’s the ideal use of the old golf course site and is a perfect gateway to the rest of the Pentland Hills. By introducing a commercial element the project can move from a vision to reality”

The suitability of the former Lothianburn golf course for a mountain bike trail centre was highlighted in a 2014 Feasibility Study. A subsequent public consultation of the proposals recorded very high levels of local support (more than 96%).

The aims of the Pentland Trail Centre project have been supported by Scottish Cycling as the ideal development to improve cycling participation, with good traffic free trails easily accessible from the City of Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Graeme McLean, Project Manager for Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland at Scottish Cycling, said: "We look forward to being involved in the consultation process for the new Pentland Trail Centre development; and to understand further how it is going to increase participation in mountain biking in Edinburgh and the surrounding area."