Just back in from a local loop and a play in the woods, where around 70% of the route was made up of rural footpath, 15% quiet back roads, 5% pavement alongside a busy A road (not a single pedestrian passed) and 10% was bridleway.
All morning, I've had nothing but cheery responses from pedestrians, dog walkers and families out conker picking (even telling one family about a huge stash I'd just ridden past as their young lad was a bit upset that there weren't many around!).
About three miles from home I pulled onto the final off road section where I spotted a couple of old dears aproaching the kissingate onto the field, I found myself a suitable gap in the undergrowth , dismounted and tucked myself into the hedge as always. The walkers passed with some light wind related banter and encouragement for the remainder of both of our journeys, then a couple of hundred yards further on (exceptionally busy today at two people per mile!) the scene replayed although this time with the walkers stopping to allow me to pass. I continued along the path around the field edge as the farmer has felt fit to divert the path to save him creating a path through his crop - I can live with this, it's a seventy yard diversion and in fairness apart from one spot where water collects, it's generally a better path as it's not ploughed up twice a year.
Approaching the halfway point of the path, I see the pickup of the gamekeeper racing across the field towards me. He pulls up and tells me that I'm riding on a footpath! After a bit of a discussion I informed him that I would continue riding along the path. Strangely now I think about it, I was not told not to ride it at any time, nor told not to return!
I would like to see the damages claimed by a bike tyre compared to a pickup rooster tailing across the crop...
It's a weird old world innit!
I shall be continuing to ride these routes as this is the first occasion in 15+ years of riding around here that I've ever had anyone take umbrage to my presence !