Cycling success spurs biking bonanza for Wye and Dean

The value of ‘cycle tourism’ in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean will double by the end of 2020 thanks to Team GB’s Olympic Success and the Tour of Britain.

Thousands will line the route of the Tour of Britain cycling event as Stage 8 of the race travels through the area today (September 8).

Tourism chiefs in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean estimate that people coming to the area to enjoy cycling are worth £16 million a year, representing a major element of the £300 million total that visitors contribute to the region.

Based on present rates of growth, cycling tourism will deliver £32 million a year by the end of 2020.

Ian Officer, owner of cycling centre Pedalabikeaway and chairman of Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism, said: “Cycling has been a key reason for new visitors to the area for the past five years.

“We see day visitors from the Midlands, South Wales and from along the M4 corridor to London.

“The quality of what we can offer also brings in international visitors who stay for several days.

“An entirely new trail has been added this year, others are being extended and further investment will improve the signage on the Family Trail and increase car parking spaces.”

Cycling visitor numbers to the area are reported to be between 10% and 15% up for 2016 already, even before the Olympics and Tour of Britain boost interest.