Andrea HarrowerAnnegret WalshEd McCann
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Davagh Forest Trails - A local perspective

Posted on March 11, 2013 @ 2:35 PM in CyclingMountainbiking

In preparation for the launch of the Davagh Forest Trails, the MountainBikeNI.com team were joined by local biker Mickey Regan to carry out a promotional photo shoot of the trails.  Mickey is keen adventure racer and has biked all over the world, so no better person to guage opinion on the new trails @ Davagh! 

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Davagh Forest is my local forest and probably the forest in which I really started my love of mountain biking.

Davagh is situated in the Sperrin mountains between Cookstown and Draperstown. For years mountain bikers helped maintain a network of old walking trails that had fallen into disrepair through lack of maintenance and no use from walkers. As the trails were forgotten mountain bikers created a small series of trails to ride. For years locals campaigned to try and get some help to build a more sustainable network of trails in Davagh Forest with little success. 

This would all change with the help of Cookstown District Council, Outdoor Recreation NI (Formerly CAAN) local representatives and the Northern Ireland Mountain Biking Alliance. Years of talks, planning, let downs, highs and lows finally have paid off in 2012/13. Outdoor Recreation NI created the frame work in which Architrail would design the trail network. Planning permission was agreed, Forest Service Northern Ireland would allow Cookstown District Council control over the trail network and local contractors FP McCann would create the trails.

Building work on the trails is nearing completion and the marketing team from Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland are now finalising their marketing strategy for Davagh Forest, Castlewellan and Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails under the new MountainBikeNI.com brand. 

Davagh Forest Trails

I was asked if I would come along to Davagh Forest on a photo shoot. The marketing team needed some mountain bike photos and I was delighted to help out. We spent the day on the new trails at Davagh and what a day it turned out. The trail network is fantastic.

Davagh Forest Trails

The standard of trails in Davagh Forest is on par with anything I have ridden in Scotland. It is a trail that doesn't leave you wanting. Perhaps a bit short at the minute but that leaves room for improvement. This will definitely be a big boost for the local economy.

Davagh Forest Trails

The trail designers Architrail and contarctors FP McCann have done a brilliant job. I will admit I was a bit skeptical when I heard who got the build contract mainly because this was the first time they will have produced trails like this. It would transpire that I had no need to worry because under the management of Phil Saxena of Architrail and his team they have really pulled it off.  It is great for the economy that a local firm got the contract and had the ability to deliver a top class finish. Now they have the experience and the knowledge they can deliver more projects like this if and when funding is available. I am pretty confident you will see a massive boost to the area in this rapidly growing sport/hobby/lifestyle.

I am really looking forward to the trails officially opening on 10th April 2013. Well done to all involved and hopefully this is just the beginning.

Mickey Regan
Mickey Regan  Mountain Biker

I am a bit of a Mountain bike fanatic. I ride most types of Mountain biking from XC, DH to All Mountain epics. I ride mainly for the enjoyment of the sport. Racing only occassionaly to keep me on my toes. For me it doesn't mater if I am ridding off the side of a Rocky Mountain, up to the hubs in mud or on a trail centre all weather surface. Being happy on the mountain bikes in the open air is what it is all about.

5 comments have been posted in reply to this article

Posted by Fergal on March 28, 2013 @ 6:11 PM

Great summary Mickey, big gang of riders from the south are dying to get up and try out the new trails, a big biking weekend involving trips Davagh, Tollymore, Rostrevor and Castlewellan would be some serious fun and people will just keep cming back for more. Personally I intend to be up there as much as I can, I might even develop a Northern accent for myself into the bargain :-) big congrats to all involved in the projects - it really is going to be THE go-to location for MTB on this island.

Posted by Colin Doyle on April 6, 2013 @ 1:16 AM

Campsite and pub close to Davagh Trail head with new toilets and shower rooms coming in the furture.

Posted by Francis Dollard on April 9, 2013 @ 5:06 PM

Hi

Are the trail's in Davagh rideabil or are they snowed under at the moment as there was a few of us from Cuchullainn cycling club thinking of heading this weekend the 14th April.

Posted by MountainBikeNI.com on April 10, 2013 @ 7:39 PM

Hi Francis, we officially launched the trails today and you guys will have no issues with snow this weekend! Check out http://www.mountainbikeni.com/davagh-forest to keep up to speed with trail conditions in Davagh moving forward.

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