A new cycle track has been opened to stop young riders tearing up historic woodland.

Buck Wood at Thackley has suffered at the hands of inconsiderate bikers. Now a new £5,000 BMX track has been opened in a bid to protect the woodland.

Bradford Council and the Friends of Buck Wood have recognised the need for more facilities for youngsters and have been in talks with cycle club BMX Bandits on the design of a track. Work on the track, which includes bankings, ramps, a rumble strip and jumps, is starting this week.

Part of the site will be preserved as a wildlife area, home to significant plants, insects and butterflies.

The track site will build on an existing banking formed from excavations of an old railway tunnel which runs underneath the wood. Dr Christine Alvin, chairman of Friends of Buck Wood, said: "A lot of children come here to go on their bikes. They had already done some digging themselves so I approached them with the idea of a track and they were very enthusiastic about it. Children sometimes go into the wood area and there's no need to create damage. This is a very old woodland which has a lot of history and is a lovely area for local people. We want to keep it as it is.

"At the same time we recognise children need somewhere to play."

The BMX Bandits is a club based in Peel Park, Bradford, which competes in BMX racing contests nationally and internationally.

Member Liam Eccles, 15, of Eccleshill, said: "Apart from Peel Park there's nowhere for children to ride their bikes. We usually ride on the street.

"This is a brilliant idea and it should keep people away from wood areas."

Bradford Council's technical assistant for parks and landscapes David Bennison said the site would nurture BMX racing as a sport. "It's coming into fashion now and is a recognised sport," he said.

Bradford Council's executive member for regeneration and culture councillor Simon Cooke said: "We hope that this track will allow young people across the Bradford district to cycle in a special facility that has been made especially for their use."