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SIKKENS Cycles Its Way To Success

Coatings from the premium woodcare brand, Sikkens, have been used in the creation of a new £1.5million cycle centre located in the heart of the National Forest. Sikkens Cetol BL 21 plus and Cetol BL 31 woodstains were selected to enhance, preserve and protect the exterior timber on Hicks Lodge cycling centre. This includes a bike hire shop, visitor centre and a café, all of which are surrounded by eight miles of new off-road cycling trails.

Hicks Lodge, the National Forest Cycling Centre near Moira in Leicestershire, has been funded by the Leicester and Leicestershire Economic Partnership, Leicestershire County Councils 6C’s Gree Infrastructure, the National Forest Company and the Forestry Commission, to provide a stimulating environment for people to connect with green spaces and increase their levels of fitness.

From the start of its construction, the Forestry Commission intended to set the standards for sustainability. To reflect its green ethos, the Forestry Commission tasked architects, Pick Everard with incorporating eco-sensitive building methods and products into its design.

Jerry Tseng, Architectural Associate at Pick Everard, explains: “We designed the new centre to incorporate a number of environmentally responsible features including woodfuel heating, the use of fully sustainable timber throughout, as well as solar water heating and rainwater harvesting.

“So when it came to selecting coatings to protect and enhance its timber exterior, it was only appropriate that we chose products that contributed to its sustainability offering. We also needed to ensure that the solution applied would allow the aesthetics of the building to be in keeping with its surroundings, as well as provide long-term protection to the timber cladding. As such, the building has achieved an excellent Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating.”

With this is mind, Jerry Tseng at Pick Everard specified a range of Sikkens products to enhance the appearance of the timber and deliver a sustainable, durable finish. Jerry Tseng continues: “Having used Sikkens products before, I was aware that the woodstain would complement the building’s lodge design and harmonise with the forest surroundings perfectly. Not only this, but as the centre is expecting to receive a high number of visitors each year, Sikkens provides a hard wearing and durable finish which will keep the centre looking at its best for longer.”

Award winning principal contractor Robert Woodhead Ltd engaged painting and decorating contactors Swirlforce Ltd to carry out the decorating on Hicks Lodge. Decorators from Swirlforce Mansfield applied Sikkens Cetol BL 21 plus to the majority of the building, to bring out the natural beauty of the woodgrain. Richard Marriott, Director of Swirlforce Mansfield, commented: “Sikkens Cetol BL 21 plus is a highly robust exterior coating which provides great durability and coverage. Its outstanding water repellence and superb adhesion made it the ideal choice, as it can withstand even the harshest weather conditions. It’s hard to find a product that does all this so well.”

Ideally suited for exterior joinery, Sikkens Cetol BL 31 was used to protect the building’s distinctive columns. Its excellent durability and superb flow characteristics means that it will last for longer, making it a more sustainable option to traditional woodstain. What’s more, Sikkens Cetol BL 31 is a highly translucent woodstain which will enhance the natural aesthetics of the timber and complement the forest surroundings.

Impressed with the finished result, Alan Dowell, Area Forester for the Forestry Commission, concludes: “The new cycling centre is set to become a tourism hotspot for families looking for a great day out. By using the Sikkens woodcare coatings, we have not only made the appearance of the building look outstanding, but have ensured that it will remain looking great for a very long time.”

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