Neath Port Talbot Council looking to create mountain bike trail at Margam Park
VISITORS of a more energetic kind could soon be saddling up at Margam Park.
Mountain biking is already enjoying huge success in the Port Talbot area, particularly in Afan Forest Park which boasts some internationally-rated trails.
Now plans have been unveiled to provide a competition-standard trail in the spectacular surroundings of Margam Park, one of the region's top visitor attractions.
Neath Port Talbot Council has brought in a specialist design company to create a "sustainable and exciting" route within the park's woodlands setting.
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A council spokesman said the park had good access for cyclists from the M4, A48 and via public transport.
"The proposed mountain bike trail is not going to provide access for those with mobility problems due to the nature of the sport the track has been designed for," he said.
"The trail will be signed to assist users on their journey and a new bridge will be provided, crossing Nant Cwm Phillip, together with two smaller timber boardwalk and bridge crossings.
"The route will be amended on-site during construction to ensure no trees require felling, and an ecologist will be present during activities in areas of ecological interest."
Margam Park's profile is already getting a significant boost after last month's announcement that almost £2 million will be spent on upgrading its heritage features.
It was awarded a £1.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant to repair and restore the park's historic core, with Neath Port Talbot Council also securing £218,000 in match-funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Mountain biking is already popular within the park, but now it is set to get its first dedicated trail after specialist design company Back on Track was brought in.
"It has created a trail that is sustainable, will complement the environment and provide an exciting ride while encouraging riders to enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors," added the council spokesman.