Case Study Info
  • Name: Glen Mile Mountain Bike Trail Cumbernauld
  • Title: Social Return on Investment of urban nature sites
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Glen Mile Mountain Bike Trail Cumbernauld

Executive Summary
The report provides a forecast (or prediction) of the social return from investing in the Cumbernauld Glen Mountain Biking initiative. This provides opportunities for schoolchildren at Abronhill High School to take part in mountain biking on an urban trail as part of the school’s physical education curriculum. 

The report forms part of a series of four Social Return on Investment (SROI) analyses of urban nature sites. The analysis was undertaken during 2010 by greenspace scotland supported by the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT).

Social Return on Investment (SROI) provides a principled approach that can be used to measure and account for a broad concept of value. It enables the social, environmental and economic benefits a project delivers to be calculated.

The Glen Wildlife reserve is an area of woodland that was frequently being used by mountain bikers. An increasing number of complaints led SWT, rather than trying to ban mountain bikers, to designate an area within the reserve for mountain biking, and to create graded trails. 

To support use of the reserve for this purpose, the initiative with schools in the area was established. By managing mountain biking and incorporating it into the overall reserve management plan, it was hoped to increase the participation of young people in the sport, help improve the experience for other reserve users and encourage enjoyment of nature and wildlife for all.

The analysis identified those most affected by the initiative and recorded and valued some of the changes they experienced. These included:
  • the local community who use the reserve have a safer place to experience the outdoors
  • volunteer mountain bikers who participated in trail gained a sense of achievement from their efforts in developing the trail
  • mountain bikers from the general population can use a biking facility in their neighbourhood
  • the Friends of Cumbernauld Glen have attained higher public profile
  • Abronhill High School PE Department has acquired additional resources
  • Abronhill High School pupils have better health and an improved sense of well being
  • Scottish Wildlife Trust has more support from local people
  • Forestry Commission Scotland have gained a good practice example that can be replicated
  • Strathclyde Police can deliver a better services due to improved crime response times

It was found that every £1 invested generated around £3 of benefits (applying a sensitivity analysis, which involved varying the number of pupils, puts the benefits figure in a range from £1 to £3).

Download the full report.