Nestling behind the trees at 104 Burbage Road, Herne Hill Velodrome (HHV), with its 450m banked cycle track, has been a feature on maps of Dulwich, since it was built on open farmland beside the railway in 1891. But by 2010, an enthusiastic band of volunteers, led by Velo Club Londres (VCL), was facing the end of cycling there, with the track surface breaking up, the 1891 grandstand condemned, and no prospect of funding for renovation or a long-term lease. Then, fortune smiled, and happily there was a coming together of the cyclists with local residents, politicians, and societies, The Dulwich Estate, British Cycling, Southwark Council and the 2012 London Olympics.
In 2011, Herne Hill Velodrome Trust (HHVT) was set up as a charity (charity no. 1140185) by the Save the Velodrome campaign, to work for HHV's restoration, and the track was resurfaced by British Cycling (Phase1). In August 2013 it was chosen for the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award. In the same month, thanks to a grant from Southwark's Olympic Legacy Project (SOLP), new facilities were added to the track and its centre (Phase 2). And now, thanks to the Dulwich Society's Cleaner Greener Safer grant from Southwark Council, new trees are to be planted to fill gaps in the arboreal curtain around the Velodrome's perimeter.
HHV, run by VCL, continues to host high quality, and increasingly popular, track training and racing. It caters for cyclists from age 9 upwards, at all levels from beginner to advanced, with many open and club sessions, race meetings like the Good Friday Meeting, and this season's most successful Track League racing yet.
But, in addition, HHV has been transformed into a cycling resource for the whole community. It now has 2 flat tracks and a multi-use games area (MUGA) within the main track, and main track lighting, thanks to SOLP, and improved mountain biking and cyclo- cross trails. It caters for all ages and abilities, from toddlers on strider bikes to sessions for schools, women only, older people, and children's holiday clubs. At Wheels for Wellbeing sessions, many types of specialist cycle are bringing mobility on wheels to the less able. And bicycle polo is coming back to HHV, with the new MUGA polo court being officially opened, by the London Hard Court Bike Polo Association, on 26 October, after the annual volunteers' end-of-season tidy up Working Party.
It is currently developing plans to provide much needed shelter, changing/showering facilities, etc., at HHV, by replacing the derelict grandstand building on its present site, and rearranging the storage in the same area as now (Phase 3).
HHVT hopes it will again have your support, as it seeks to raise the necessary funding for this last phase of the Velodrome's renovation.
See www.hernehillvelodrome.com and click on the Save the Velodrome icon, or go to www.hhvt.org for further information about HHV and HHVT.
C Hornsby HHVT Trustee,
Herne Hill Velodrome Trust chosen for a Prime Minister's Big Society Award
Local residents and volunteers were recognised by Prime Minister David Cameron with a Big Society Award on 12th August 2013 for their dedicated work to save the 1948 Olympic cycle track in Herne Hill. The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010 to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK who demonstrate the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
Although the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games remain fresh in all our minds, it is great that there is still a legacy from the 1948 Games in south London. Thanks to the hard work of local people and a bit of help from inspirational cycling heroes, cyclists of all ages and abilities can now enjoy using Herne Hill Velodrome and maybe one day follow in the footsteps of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Chris Froome. Herne Hill Velodrome is a fantastic London landmark and an excellent example of the Big Society.