Nestled in the Drummy Woods, South West of the village of Tarland, Aberdeenshire, you are likely to come across the Tarland Trails. They are a set of mountain bike trails that opened to the public in 2015, which consist of a family trail (blue), a technical run (red), big jump run (orange) and a large pump track. Although each trail is relatively short, in total there are around 3 kilometres of track.
The mountain bike trails in Drummy Wood, which opened in June 2015, have been a great success, both with local users and bikers from further afield. Between August 2015 and June 2016 there were 19,000 users registered on the track counters, which equates to between 3,000 – 5,000 visits to the trails. Evidence suggests that there has been increased spending by Trails users in local shops and pubs and £700 was raised from the donations box at the site over the course of the first year.
The Tarland Trails project was developed by Tarland Development Group (TDG) working alongside the The MacRobert Trust (the Trust) – a local landowner and charitable organisation. Chris Redmond, the project coordinator spent two and a half years developing the project and was inspired and supported by the Aboyne Bike Park Association who also helped with funding, signage, and planning permission.
The major funders were the Trust, Legacy 2014: Active Places Fund, Marr Area Partnership, the Robertson Trust and Cyclehighlands. The Trust was instrumental in helping the project come to fruition. The Trust not only leased the land to TDG but it also helped fund the project and continues to support it in many other ways.
In January 2016, the tracks suffered considerable damage due to severe floods in Tarland and were forced to close for 2 months to allow for repairs to be carried out. Volunteers and community payback workers succeeded in restoring the tracks in time for the Easter holidays and the Trails also received £7,173 from Foundation Scotland, funded by the Flood Recovery Fund, and £1,000 donated by Finzean Community Association to assist with repairs. This funding will enable TDG, in partnership with the MacRobert Trust, to repair and tarmac the track to the carpark.
Following on from the success of the Trails, and feedback from users suggesting a more extensive network of tails in the area, a proposal to create more ambitious trails on the surrounding hillside was put forwards. After discussion with the Trust and another local landowner, both of whom were receptive to the idea, a draft business plan was developed. A feasibility study is being carried out and funded by TDG, Marr Area Committee and Aberdeenshire Business Support.
Commenting on the support the project has received from the Trust, Chris Redmond said: “This project would never have been able to happen without the support of The MacRobert Trust. It has been instrumental in helping us deliver a facility that locals told us they wanted back in 2012.”
Simon Power, Estate Manager of the Trust added: “The MacRobert Trust is always delighted to support projects like the Tarland Trails. Building on the philosophy of the Trust, we consider it a privilege to be able to use our resources to enable ventures like this to deliver benefits to the wider community.”