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14.06.05
Expansion Hopes for Green Tourism

A successful green tourism initiative is looking to expand by creating an exciting mountain bike centre on the edge of Newquay. The downhill facility, on a 35-acre site at Porth, is expected to create eight new full time jobs and be sited next to part of the national cycle network (Route 32).

The business behind the scheme, greenleisure.co.uk was established four and a half years ago with support from the Objective One EAGGF (European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund), since when it has seen its levels of business increase significantly. The firm's trademark mobile activities, marketed under the greenleisure.co.uk brand, are its hi-tech laser games, but it also offers expert tuition from specialists in a range of rural pursuits including archery, clay pigeon shooting, carriage driving, falconry, fishing, gun dog handling, and survival skills.

A spokesman for the firm explained: "There is clearly a demand for the firm's unique blend of green leisure activities and the opportunity to develop a new downhill centre and a selection of green leisure trails at Porth on the edge of Newquay, Cornwall's premier tourist resort, will be of benefit to both holiday makers and locals alike. This project is designed to fill a gap in the cycle tourism market in Cornwall. Whilst mountain biking has become a very successful addition to the tourist economies of other rural areas in places such as Scotland and Wales, both of which have seen a significant investment in mountain biking supported by European funding, in Cornwall the development of the two-wheeled leisure product has very much focused on typically flat end-to-end cycle routes. This project is designed to create a new and exciting focal point for mountain biking in Cornwall, offering a combination of top quality mountain bikes for hire, related accessories and professional instruction."

The development of the planning application has received investment from the Objective One Rural Business Support Initiative. South West Tourism is also backing the scheme, as it will provide further activities for visitors to the area inside and outside the main season. Annette Cole, the regional tourist board's Rural Tourism specialist said: "Research has shown that walking and cycling are some of the most popular activities undertaken. The project will link well with the existing SUSTRANS initiative, and will give visitors access to the natural environment around Newquay." Work is expected to start on the downhill centre, to be known as Porth Shore from September, if it gets the go ahead from planners. The application has just been submitted to Restormel Borough Council, with a decision anticipated by the end of August.

The innovative mountain bike (mtb) centre will provide a convenient link to the St. Piran Trail (part of the SUSTRANS national cycle network) that runs through St. Columb Minor. A series of circular routes, to be known as 'green leisure trails', has been identified allowing a choice of distances, which combine on and off road riding and a variety of challenging rides. The circular routes range in length from 9.5k (5.9 miles) to 21k (13 miles), offering both half and full day excursions, with ample scope to develop additional routes beyond those proposed. In addition to the green leisure trails, the main centre at Porth would play host to two graded downhill courses, with a blue (beginners) run allowing instruction and progression, to a more challenging black (experienced) run. Popular abroad, these are only just starting to catch on in the UK and the aim is to make this the ultimate downhill centre in the South West.

Lindley Owen, manager of SUSTRANS in Cornwall and Plymouth, has written a letter to support the scheme. He states: "Mountain biking and Cornwall go so well together it is remarkable that so few opportunities such as you propose, have been launched. Experience elsewhere shows that there is strong and growing demand for activity based holidays and that these are attractive year-round. Based at Porth, you have the added advantage of offering to surfers an equally exhilarating alternative for days when the sea conditions are not favourable to their first-choice activity."

David Rodda, head of the Cornwall Agricultural Council development team said: "It is always encouraging to see a project assisted by Objective One at the start of the Programme continue to grow and develop. Greenleisure is an example of a business that has identified a gap in the market and is developing its activities to meet the identified needs by providing a quality product."

For further information please contact Clare Morgan, the Objective One Partnership Office on 01872 223439 or 07973 813647 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Rural Business Support Initiative through the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

In 2004 greenleisure.co.uk was voted 'runner-up' in both the Cornwall Tourist Board's 'Activity Holiday of the Year' award, and in the Rural Progress 'Cornwall Farm Diversification' award.

The initial project greenleisure.co.uk, which was worth a total of nearly £36,000, was approved through the Objective One programme for a European grant of almost £9,000, with the same sum being provided by DEFRA.

European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) is one of the four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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