Three Words For 2012: Hadleigh Castle Olympics

 

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games confirmed Hadleigh Castle as the host for the mountain biking event for the 2012 London Olympics. Set in a 550-acre stretch of land surrounding the ruins of Hadleigh Castle this will make the perfect setting for the outdoor mountain bike competition. The event could see up to 40,000 spectators descend on Hadleigh for what will be a spectacular event. The decision to use Hadleigh Castle for the competition was made back in January 2011.Originally the event was going to be hosted at the Weald Country Park, Brentwood, but the committee felt the course was not as challenging as the site at Hadleigh Castle. The site encompasses some beautiful scenery consisting of the woodland and grassland of Hadleigh Farm together with the surrounding countryside of Hadleigh Castle Country Park. The competitors in the events will be challenged by the hill steeped site consisting of two major hill areas which is separated by a valley; this will create the technical climb for the course. Hadleigh farm will be an extremely compact and challenging course for the 50 men and 30 women competing.

The 2012 Olympics will be a great opportunity for the small town of Hadleigh and South Essex to showcase itself to the world, bringing in business, sport and tourism. At the moment there are no mountain bike courses in South Essex and so after the games, Hadleigh will benefit from having a world- class mountain bike course right on its doorstep. There are huge benefits to having an historic event held at an historic venue, but there are a few residents concerned about the damage that will be done to the park plus the heavy traffic congestion to the local roads when thousands of spectators come to watch the event. There are different options that are being looked at to help with this such as shuttle buses to the park from local train stations, park-and-ride schemes and also offering bike bays at the park this will help and encourage people to leave their cars at home and cycle to the event. Spectators will be able to view all the action along a course that will wind through the beautiful woods and parkland of Hadleigh.

After the Olympic Games the temporary structure of the course will be taken down. The Essex County Council and other partners will then look at what part of the Olympic Course will be left in place for future use. Some more information concerning the mountain bike track can be found on our Hadleigh Farm page, in addition to our page on Hadleigh Castle

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