Five national parks are set to benefit from an additional £2.7 million from the Department of Transport to help develop new cycling facilities. Noticeablly absent is the New Forest national park which has tried to limit the number of cyclists taking part in "sportives" but which does not limit numbers of visitors to motoring or other events. Last year the DfT removed funding from the New Forest national park because it had backpedalled on promises to create a "bike share" scheme and, instead, diverted monies to road improvement schemes likely to increase car speeds on some roads in the New Forest.
The new funding will create additional cycling routes, improving links between national parks and nearby areas, and would also improve access for mountain bikers in some areas.
Minister for Roads Robert Goodwill said:
"I want to get more people on their bikes and this funding will open up cycle access to some of the country’s most scenic routes.
"It demonstrates the government’s determination to continue the cycling legacy generated by the 2012 Olympics and the launch of the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year.
Dartmoor is to spend £675,000 to deliver five schemes, including on-trail improvements and improved links to nearby areas.
Yorkshire Dales will be given £450,000 to transform a stretch of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal creating a gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.
South Downs will receive £450,000 to upgrade existing routes to create "easy access" cycling facilities to boost mountain biking.
The Peak District will receive £430,000 to create a new short cycle link providing access from North West Matlock to the Monsal Trail.
And the Norfolk Broads will be given £715,000 to construct a shared cycleway footway connecting Wroxham to Horning.
Cycle campaigner "Forestcyclist" tweeted: "Looks like @NewForestNPA have truly shot themselves in the foot for any future transport funding from central gov."
NOTE: We've updated the article as we originally erroneously mixed up the National Forest (of the Midlands) with the New Forest of Hampshire. It's the New Forest that decided it doesn't want cyclists to come and spend money supporting businesses in the region. The National Forest, however, have given us a quote to point out they "love cyclists" and have a number of cycle facilities they are very proud to offer.