Sam helps build new cycle park for Cheltenham’s young riders!


Budding young cyclists in Cheltenham were bunny hopping for joy this month with the opening of their new cycle park. Inspired by Cheltenham Town Wheelers, supported by Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham & County Cycling Club, we project managed the build along with CTW volunteers. It was the perfect collaboration to encourage more young people to get on their bikes!

group cycling coaching

A meeting of minds, skills and expertise 

Cheltenham Town Wheelers is a cycling club where young people learn how to ride their bikes in a safe, coachable environment. Led by Nicky Harverson, a youth cycling coach, and supported by British Cycling, it helps young people to develop the skills and confidence to tackle all sorts of cycling environments. Indeed, many of the young riders go on to take part in competitive cycling, whether that’s mountain biking, road biking or cyclocross.


As a committed cyclist and member of Cheltenham & County Cycling Club, Sam has been taking our son Charlie to Cheltenham Town Wheelers for some time. It was following an informal chat after a cycling session that the conversation about developing more coachable features within a dedicated Cheltenham bike park took place. 

It was the young people themselves who inspired the vision for the cycle park – they wanted to learn biking techniques such as you might find on a bike track, so Nicky started looking at developing a coaching cycle park where young people could learn how to tackle such features safely. When Nicky told us about the vision that she and the young riders at Cheltenham Town Wheelers had for their cycle park, we jumped at the chance to help out. After five years in the planning, fact-finding and fund-raising stage, Cheltenham Town Wheelers now needed practical advice and hands on the ground, which is where we came in.

Gearing up for the design and build

With Sam’s expertise in landscape garden design, we were able to interpret Nicky’s vision while advising on the best way to incorporate the coachable features into the landscape. Sam then helped to put a report together to inform the Parks Team at Cheltenham Borough Council of the plans.

Sam on digger

We were keen to lend our expertise in a practical way as well, with Sam driving our digger and dumper for the build. Together with a team of volunteers from Cheltenham Town Wheelers, the new features took just three days to build and includes the following features (named after the volunteer who helped to build them):

  1. The Rock Garden – complete with bomb holes and a choice of riding lines, this area was designed to teach children how to  tackle rocky descents and climbs safely.
  2. Hayley’s Drops – these two drops have four levels of difficulty, ranging from a not so intimidating roll-off to a sheer two-foot drop, which riders have to perform manuals to negotiate safely. This is all about coaching children to get their body positioning right so they can understand the techniques of riding drops with control.   
  3. Abbie’s Run Berms – these are banks that are built into the landscape allowing riders to negotiate a corner quickly. Abbie’s Run is a series of three berms designed to teach young riders how to ride banked corners.
  4. Hazel Steps – steps are a feature of many Cyclocross events so it was something that many of the young riders wanted to incorporate into their cycle park. We built 10 steps that are wide enough for two or three cyclists to navigate next to each other, or depending on the event, spaced just right for riders to run up carrying their bikes over their shoulders!

step laying

A space to cycle in safety  

The response to the Cheltenham cycle park build has been fantastic, with young riders at Cheltenham Town Wheelers spending all weekend getting to know the tracks. Support from the Park Rangers at Cheltenham Borough Council was invaluable in ensuring that the cycle park was created to also benefit residents, park users and dog walkers. To turn a piece of forgotten, waste ground into something that encourages people to get outdoors and that people actually want to use, is the very essence of Keltie & Clark – transforming lives through landscape garden design.

young rider

Transform your outdoor space

If you would like to know more about how we transform lives through landscape garden design, talk to Sam, Curstain or any member of our garden design team.

More Projects