Plans for £14 million outdoor activity centre at Durris Forest are unveiled

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Plans have been unveiled for a multi-million-pound mountain bike park and snowsports centre in Aberdeenshire.

The North East Trail Centre Organisation (Netco) has ear-marked land at Durris Forest for the new attraction following a year-long feasibility study.

Plans will be submitted next year to Aberdeenshire Council and if approved, the 256-hectare site would include 27 miles of chairlift-serviced mountain bike trails as well as an alpine park for skiing and snowboarding.

The first of its kind adventure park will also have climbing, tree top rope courses and nature inspired activities.

Newly rebranded as Gravitate North East, a new model created by RGU architecture students of the layout was unveiled at the Belmont Cinema this week.

The group is now campaigning to raise the £200,000 needed to progress the planning applications and asset transfer of the land at Durris.

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Martin Byers, chairman of Gravitate North East, said last night: “Our vision is to help transform Aberdeen city and shire into a global adventure destination for mountain biking, alpine sports and outdoor pursuits by building an inclusive adventure hub for the community that offers a unique blend of world-class activities accessible to all.

“While NETCO will be known as Gravitate North East going forward, our charity’s core commitments remain the same – creating more opportunities for everyone to be active in the outdoors, try new pursuits, learn new skills, improve physical and mental well-being, engage with nature, and generally have fun in the forest.

“Some of the best mountain biking trails in the UK can be found right here in our local mountain ranges, glens, hills and forests.”

Chris Foy, Visit Aberdeenshire chairman, said: “With stiff competition for the outdoor activity pound across Scotland, Aberdeenshire needs such bold initiatives to stand out on the national stage.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Economic Development, Belinda Miller agreed and said the project was “exciting”, adding: “This has the potential to provide something which will be well used by local communities, as well as appealing to the increased number of visitors local partners are working to encourage here. “

It is estimated that the proposed £14million outdoor recreation attraction could create around 80 local jobs, attract 120,0000 visitors a year and generate £2.6million per year for the local economy.

The model was developed by Ronnie Fyfe, technical services officer at RGU Scott Sutherland School of Architecture.

He created it from a computer 3D model of the adventure park concept and by using google earth he was also able to include accurate road layouts and tree lines.