A GROUP of volunteers have completed training to enable them to keep a popular walking and cycling route in Tameside in tip-top condition.
The six members of Tame Valley MTB Association are keen to give back to their local area and help support the long-term upkeep of the Tame Valley Loop (TVL).
The cycling enthusiasts have completed a trail maintenance course with qualified ATB-UK professionals from Campbell Coaching. The course content upskills volunteers on how to safely carry out basic trail maintenance tasks such as clearing vegetation and addressing drainage issues.
And after completing the course, two volunteers went on to complete the next level of training, the 'Trail Maintenance Coordinators Course', which enables them to safely run volunteer sessions that meet all health and safety standards and requirements.
The TVL gives cyclists, horse riders and walkers more opportunities to safely enjoy Tameside's countryside. It brings together existing paths and mainly goes along off-road tracks and is made up of three routes for all skill levels: family (3.5 miles), intermediate (10 miles) and advanced (18 miles).
To bring the loop to life, Tameside Council partnered with Tame Valley MTB Association, Cycling UK and British Cycling, who have funded the project.
The volunteers gave a huge amount of their time to support the planning process for the TVL and have put on led rides to introduce people to off-road riding along it. The club has now invested more than £2,000 of their funding from the Cycling UK Community Cycle Club programme, which they are affiliated through, into attending the training course and purchasing equipment and tools to support the TVL's upkeep.
Councillor Jan Jackson, Tameside Council's Executive Member for Planning, Transport and Connectivity, said: "We're extremely grateful to the Tame Valley MTB Association and would like to thank them for their work in helping establish the Tame Valley Loop, for supporting people to use it and for undertaking the training to help maintain it.
"Their fantastic work is helping make Tameside a better place for everyone and provides a safe route for residents and visitors to enjoy exercise and the fresh air in our scenic countryside to the benefit of physical and mental health.
"It's great to see more volunteering taking place in Tameside that brings people together and benefits the whole borough."
Phil Allen, one of the volunteers who has completed the training, said: "Being able to help with maintaining the loop is a great way for the group to give something back and help maintain a lot of the trails we ride.
"It's been great guiding people around the loop over the last 12 months and meeting people who have travelled from all over the North West and as far as Nottinghamshire, who are exploring the area by bike for the first time. Keeping the loop maintained will make sure they have an enjoyable ride and hopefully encourage people to explore and ride more in Tameside.
"Our aim for the group is to continue to give as many people as possible the chance to ride in the Tame valley. Over the summer we are running some mountain bike courses for younger riders using our community bikes and giving them the chance to ride the family section of the loop and further afield."
To find out more about the loop, including maps and starting locations, please visit www.tameside.gov.uk/tamevalleyloop.
Tameside's Greenspace Volunteers carry out a wide range of general maintenance and conservation work in parks and countryside sites. Opportunities are available to join this fantastic group. For more details please visit www.tameside.gov.uk/volunteering/greenspace
Pic Caps: The volunteers taking part in training and maintenance.