• One of the oldest cycle tracks in the world, the historic Herne Hill Velodrome, is owned by The Dulwich Estate.


Training the next generation of champions

One of the oldest cycle tracks in the world, the historic Herne Hill Velodrome, is owned by The Dulwich Estate. Opened in 1891, it has recently had a revival after the Estate supported a campaign to improve this iconic facility. It is a magnet for cycling fans young and old – from competitive cyclists to absolute beginners. Boru Pratt McCullagh is Development Officer for the under 8 age group.

“I started riding at Herne Hill when I was about 8 years old. It’s a little cycling oasis. If you go along Burbage Road you wouldn’t imagine that behind the houses there’s this great big cycling track. You just go through the gap in the houses and it all opens up. I have mums and dads come to me and saying ‘I live down the road and I never knew this was here.’”

Cycling has of course boomed in popularity in recent years, buoyed by the success of the British team. Boru is amongst those trying to get even more people involved – and facilities like the Herne Hill Velodrome really help.

“I joined the British Cycling young volunteers programme when I was 15 and did my coaching course. In 2017, I was employed to do all the kids coaching, including sessions for toddlers on balance bikes and learn to ride sessions for slightly older kids. Being able to inspire them and see them being able to cycle after a session is great. They’re usually pretty determined and that makes my job easier.”

‘We want to get as many kids and adults down as possible, to introduce them to the sport. You never know who’s going to be that next future star.’

Part of the fundraising campaign saw the opening of a new pavilion on site.  

“Since the new pavilion opened there’s a different feel to the place. We’ve got a café and it’s good to have all the new facilities and a proper office to work in compared to the old hut.”

“We open all year round apart from Christmas and if we have to close because of snow or ice and there’s always something happening. We encourage everyone to try racing if they want to. We run an accreditation system and most people will stick with it and do all the open seasons and the leagues. I haven’t raced in a while but I’ve decided this is my come-back season!”