THE longest national cycleway in Britain was officially opened this weekend in Pendle.

Council bosses are hoping the borough's economy will receive a massive boost following the opening of the Pennine Cycleway.

The route is 375 miles long and stretches from Derby to Berwick-upon-Tweed, passing through Pendle via Colne, Brierfield, Nelson, Barrowford and Barnoldswick.

The route through Pendle is also linked to other National Cycle Network routes, including the Trans Pennine Trail and the Coast 2 Coast.

To mark the opening of the completed Pennine Cycleway, 50 cyclists took part in a ride along its length.

They camped in Colne on Saturday before enjoying a civic reception at Alkincoats Park on Sunday morning, hosted by Pendle's Deputy Mayor, Coun Dorothy Lord.

The riders enjoyed a breakfast provided by Pendle Council before they rode to Ingleton. Mike Williams, Pendle Council's tourism officer, said: "The opening of the completed Pennine Cycleway will give a great boost to Pendle's economy from increased tourism.

"It is now up to Pendle and its partners to promote the route as much as possible among cyclists in order for the area to reap the rewards.

"The first stage of this is ensuring facilities like accommodation along the route are cyclist-friendly so that Pendle's welcome for riders is first class."

Stephen Lax, chairman of the Colne Cycle Campaign, joined the riders on the Colne to Ingelton section.

He said: "Colne Cycle Campaign aims to encourage and improve cycling facilities in Pendle. The Pennine Cycleway will help this by putting Pendle on the cycling map."

The Pennine Cycleway involves a partnership of over 30 local authorities and other bodies, including the Countryside Agency and the whole project has been co-ordinated by Sustrans.