After a quarter of a century carving Penshurst Off-Road Centre (PORC) out of a hurricane-ravaged hillside in Kent, owner Mike Westphal has decided it’s time to pass the baton to a bike enthusiast who will continue to live the dream.
Two years ago, Mike sold a quarter of the land and the clubhouse to a trio of roadies who have plans to build a one-mile road circuit. He is now selling the remaining 34 acres of downhill tracks, MTB and cyclo-cross trails plus his house in the woods and other outbuildings.
“With excellent catering in the clubhouse, a great road circuit, spectacular jump spot, tons of parking and mountain biking/cyclo-cross courses described as “awesome”, SPW has it all.”
Just as the four-storey clubhouse adds hugely to visitors’ enjoyment, so Shimla, the spectacular “Hollywood hills” house Mike built for the Discovery Television series, Treetop Pavilion, adds hugely to the unique allure of SPW’s parkland setting.
Although peanuts by London standards., the house and 32 acres of land with what Kent Life described as “the best view there is of Kent” is worth at least £2 million.
What will Mike do next?
“I’m just an ex-time triallist who thought he was saving the planet” and while it's been a success in mtb terms, it certainly hasn’t saved the planet. The vast majority of mtb’ers arrive and leave by car.
With the exception of the Penshurst to Tonbridge National Cycling Network route that Mike and the Penshurst Estate Manager, Ian Scott created in the 1990s, not a single cycle way has been constructed in the Sevenoaks area.
Mike intends to sell SPW and move to the neighbouring district of Tunbridge Wells which is pro cycling, has a supportive MP in Greg Clark and an active Cycle Forum.
Tunbridge Wells council is already working on a number of cycleways to link with the adjacent town of Tonbridge, five miles away, which will help reduce the crippling traffic jams between the towns.
Mike hopes to continue the current planned routes to create a 15-mile circular route taking in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge plus the villages of Rusthall, Langton Green, Speldhurst, Penshurst, Pembury, the new hospital and both Hayesden Country park and Barden Lake.
Called Kent’s Spa and Castle Ride, it will both reduce congestion and give visiting cyclists a perfect day out in the Kent countryside.