If you’re a Peak District local or interested visitor, then you’ve probably already noticed the social media uproar about the current trail works being carried out by Derbyshire County Council (DCC) on the Rushup Edge byway.
The byway, with its sunken lane and sandstone steps, forms part of the classic Edale/Roych/Jacobs Ladder loop, which we featured as our Classic Ride back in issue 70; it’s one of the UK’s finest all-weather rides with a unique character, drawing riders from all over the country, all year round. While it falls within the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA), DCC are responsible for its maintenance as a right of way. Last week work began to level out the trail’s surface, filling in the many bedrock steps and slabs with aggregate that will eventually be covered with planings, turning the trail into a wide and featureless descent which encourages excessive speed and is more dangerous for inexperienced riders than a trail with natural features.
Leading the outcry is Peak District MTB (PDMTB), which was set up at the end of 2013 to provide a voice for mountain bikers within the National Park. Unfortunately DCC doesn’t have the best track record for consulting concerned user groups prior to commencing works on mixed-use trails; see the Wigley Lane debacle for a recent example of the contempt in which it appears to hold most trail user groups. Despite apparent intent on the part of DCC to engage with PDMTB earlier this year, it seems that the council still isn’t interested in consulting the trail user groups (including equestrian and walking groups, as well as cycling bodies) prior to carrying out destructive work like this on historic routes. It’s also worth noting that these works are reported to cost £70,000 – a significant amount of money to spend on what many believe to be unnecessary works when DCC have been told to cut £70m in the next three years.
In an attempt to gain a pause in the works while proper consultation is carried out, members of PDMTB and local (and some not-so-local) trail users have today held a Picnic Protest at the site, gathering to ride the byway and pause for a peaceful picnic while surveying the damage that’s already been done to the much-loved route. Dave and Dan have been representing Singletrack at the protest today, so we’ll update this story in due course with any further information and – hopefully – a response from DCC. We’ve contacted several members of the council giving them the opportunity to put across their side of the story, but so far haven’t received a reply.
If you’re concerned about the destruction then PDMTB suggests you do the following to make your voice heard:
Whether you’re a local resident or an infrequent visitor to the area, if you use or care about these trails then let DCC know what you think.
While you’re at it, join in the discussion on our forum: http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/rushup-edge-resurfacing