Two thrilling Olympic races happened on the world class Mountain Bike course at Hadleigh Farm, South Essex on 11-12 August 2012. Plans have been approved to retain the course and deliver a legacy which makes the most of everything this stunning and largely undiscovered part of South Essex has to offer.
Castle Point Borough Council has granted planning permission to Essex County Council to deliver a legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike events at Hadleigh Farm.
Works will begin in 2013 to make the course suitable to open for public access. In the meantime, the Olympic Mountain Bike Course is not currently open for public access although experienced riders of a suitable standard who are interested in riding the course may get the chance to join guided rides before the adaptations are completed.
The Hadleigh Legacy Project will see the Olympic Mountain Bike course being retained and adapted for use by the public, as well Hadleigh Country Park being expanded and enhanced, providing opportunities for people to more fully access, enjoy and appreciate the area’s natural historic environment. The plans include a Visitors Centre, Café, bike hire shop and network of multi user walking and cycling tracks.will bring together and bring to life the heritage of Hadleigh Farm and Country Park alongside the legacy of the Olympic Mountain Bike course by:
At the heart of the proposals are plans to improve and enhance the network of existing paths and trails across Hadleigh Country Park and Hadleigh Farm, improving access for walkers, cyclists, mountain biking, runners and horse riders. The trail network will include the adapted Olympic Mountain Bike course. This will be connected to the Country Park and the wider area by the network of multi-user trails for walkers, cyclists and other users. New walking trails with interpretation panels, enhanced horse riding trails and cross-country running trails will also be provided within the Country Park. The improved trail network also includes enhancements to walking and cycling access between Benfleet and Leigh-on-Sea stations. A comprehensive Management Plan has been developed to manage user conflicts and protect sensitive environmental features from harm.
The legacy project aims to deliver a range of social, economic and environmental benefits around; recreation, health and well-being, environmental education and learning, employment and regeneration as well as biodiversity, heritage interpretation and countryside management. In addition to improvements to recreational facilities, a wide range of environmental enhancements will be delivered as part of the proposals. Plans include; grassland habitat creation and restoration in the Country Park as well as new heritage interpretation panels.
Plans also include proposals for purpose built facilities or a ‘Hub’, providing a primary gateway to the network of recreational trails for the community and visitors to the area. Within the Hub, The Salvation Army will provide more life skills and employment training opportunities for the people it currently supports, such as adults with learning difficulties, as well as assisting local families experiencing difficulties, all with strong links to the benefits of the natural environment.