Major mountain bike trails expansion planned for Parkwood Springs near Sheffield’s old ski village

Sheffield Council is planning a major expansion to Parkwood Springs mountain bike trails, next to the ski village, to boost its Outdoor City reputation.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 4:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 5:08 pm

Cyclists could soon have several new routes to ride at the popular Parkwood Springs site, near the old ski village, which has spectacular views across the city centre against the backdrop of the Peak District National Park.

The proposal – which will provide ‘a brew, a loo, a view and something to do’ – aims to make the site a regional destination for mountain biking and is part of wider plans to make the area a hotspot for outdoor activities.

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Mountain biking at Parkwood Springs. Sheffield Council has revealed plans for a major extension to the trails and a new visitor centre.

The council, which owns areas of the site, turned part of Parkwood Springs into a open public space with two kilometres of mountain bike trails, paths, sports pitches and car parking over recent years.

It said the trails have been hugely successful, attracting cyclists citywide, and are in use around 10,000 times per year.

In a statement provided with the planning application, council officers said: “This project builds on, and significantly accelerates, the ongoing physical and social improvements to the Parkwood Springs site led by Sheffield City Council over the last 14 years.

Sheffield Ski Village was once the largest artificial ski resort in Europe but it closed in 2012 after a fire ripped through the site, and there have been numerous blazes since.

“At the heart of this project is the extension of the already renowned Parkwood Mountain Bike trail network across a greater area of the site, building on its proven track record and the success story for the green space, its local community, biodiversity, health and activity, the city and its businesses, and Sheffield’s positioning as The Outdoor City.”

What are the new plans?

If formally approved, around 6.8 kilometres of new and improved bike trails will be created across the site to encourage riders to advance their skills.

The trails will be designed for a range of abilities, including experienced riders, and graded using British Cycling’s mountain bike standards.

They will be created to flow and provide multiple line options and opt-ins on all sections, including climbs, with a variety of features to keep rides interesting.

There will also be new pedestrian and cycle routes designed to connect the existing access points to routes from the surrounding area.

Another key part of the plan is a new visitor hub providing a kiosk cafe, toilets and new storage near the main entrance and car park.

This will have indoor and outdoor seating with a green roof and the proposed opening hours are: 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

Three existing shipping containers – which the council said are in poor condition and no longer fit for purpose – will be removed to make way for this.

Improvements to the car park, entrances, existing path network, accessibility and security will also be made as part of the council’s ongoing programme of open space works.

What is the overall plan for Parkwood Springs?

The council’s masterplan for Parkwood Springs is to make it the city’s active country park by 2028 through developing infrastructure for walking, cycling, running and observing nature.

In a vision statement it said: “It will be a clean and welcoming open space that offers extreme sports, recreation, peaceful walks and a range of events and activities across the whole site.”