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MINISTER PRAISES CHARITY HELPING PEOPLE GET ACTIVE

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Rural affairs minister Jim Knight praised a Bristol charity that inspires and helps people to take up cycling durin...
Rural affairs minister Jim Knight praised a Bristol charity that inspires and helps people to take up cycling during his visit to local woodlands today.

Mr Knight, who cycled through Bristol's Leigh Woods as part of the Forestry Commission's Active Woods campaign, said that Life Cycle UK was providing a valuable service by giving people more opportunities to get active and enjoy green spaces.

'Cycling is an activity that is available to most people - as a form of transport in our crowded cities, as a workout for the body and mind alike, and as a way to enjoy many of our green spaces in both urban and rural areas,' he said.

'But many people are held back from cycling by uncertainty, concerns about safety, and by simply not knowing where to start. Life Cycle is doing excellent work to help people overcome these obstacles and enjoy the many benefits and joys of cycling.'

Mr Knight said that it was important to make sure opportunities to get active were available to everyone, including people living in deprived areas.

'I am particularly impressed with the excellent work Life Cycle has been doing to help involve more disadvantaged people in both urban and rural areas. Cycling has the potential to put people in touch with others as well as enabling them to live healthier, more active lives.'

Active Woods is a national drive being led by the Forestry Commission to promote the vast range of health and fitness opportunities offered by Britain's woodlands.

Mr Knight said that Leigh Woods was a model case of the benefits woodlands can provide.

'This is a wonderful forest - an excellent example of ancient woodlands heritage mixed with some areas of conifers. It is not only a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve that provides a home for some of the country's threatened wildlife, but also provides a valuable cultural and archaeological record and a place for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

'As part of the Forest of Avon, one of our national network of Community Forests, it truly reflects the role forests have played in our culture since medieval times - places where people live and work, gather and enjoy their free time, and value and care for the natural environment.

'Both the Forestry Commission and the National Trust, who share ownership of Leigh Woods, should be congratulated on the excellent work they are doing for the people of Bristol and for the many people who visit the area.'

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