Canal through Leighton named as a top European biking trail

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With the three-day bank holiday approaching, Central Beds Council has welcomed the news that the Grand Union Canal has been named as one of the top eight European biking trails by travel search website GoEuro.

One of three English routes in the top eight, the Grand Union Canal – which runs through Leighton Buzzard in between London and Birmingham – is named alongside trails including Rome to Venice in Italy; the Brenner Pass from Austria to Italy; the Rhine Ride from Germany to France and the Dutch coastline.

The GoEuro blog at http://blog.goeuro.co.uk/european-bike-trails/ features easy and difficult trails around Europe, favoured and chosen by those in the biking community, and also comes with added pro cycling tips.

Andreas Kambanis from the London Cyclist blog, who nominated the canal route, said: “The reason why we chose the Grand Union Canal in particular was because of its history and scenery.

“The UK was the first country to create a nationwide canal network, and it played a key role in the Industrial Revolution in the 17th century. There’s a fascinating history to discover, as well as beautiful scenery all round.

“You can ride almost the entire length traffic free, but there are small sections where you’ll need to walk your bike or using local roads for a small distance. It’s a brilliant two-day cycle trail and with Leighton Buzzard in the middle, it really is a lovely place to stop for the night.”

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “We are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and there is no better place to do it than in the Central Bedfordshire countryside.

“We have some fantastic cycle trails to be discovered and explored and the route of the Grand Union Canal through Leighton Buzzard is a particular highlight, alongside our many parks, open spaces, charming villages, byways and tourist sites.

“Residents may already be aware of the natural beauty of this location but the canal’s selection as one of Europe’s top biking routes will be a welcome way to spread the word even further that Central Bedfordshire is a top destination for visitors and cyclists of all ages and abilities.”

The Greensand Cycle Ride from Leighton Buzzard to Woburn takes in the Grand Union Canal and the River Ouzel and Ouzel Water Meadows. Other routes in the town also take in the woodlands and lakes of Rushmere Country Park and the sand quarries of Heath and Reach.

A full list of cycle routes throughout the rest of Central Bedfordshire can be found at: http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/cycling.