THOUSANDS of cyclists are set to descend on a beauty spot best known for its gliding and hiking opportunities.

The North York Moors National Park Authority and cycling firm Sutton Bank Bikes will open 28 miles of trails around Sutton Bank, near Thirsk, for bikes that they have spent more than two years developing.

The partnership aims to make Sutton Bank a leading cycling centre in the North.

The routes include three off-road and six road trails at nearly 1,000ft above sea level, while a skills park has been created for younger children near a cycling shop, where bikes can be hired.

To launch the trails tomorrow (Saturday, July 19), from 10am, a fun mini-time trial competition for children will be staged and families will be offered free 90-minute bike hire, and the chance to win a Cube mountain bike.

A Pace Cycles spokesman, which has assisted in the development of the trails, said: “Sutton Bank offers the rare opportunity to adventure in the countryside on natural trails which are man-managed.

“The trails are all graded according to ability, and the surfaces prepared where necessary, so they’re suitable for everyone from the complete beginner to the most experienced mountain biker."

A national park spokesman said the venture was building on the legacy of the Tour de France and the the park authority’s belief in promoting cycling.