DEFRA to sell off 50% of forestry commission land

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  • DEFRA to sell off 50% of forestry commission land
  • capixaba
    Member

    Personally I find this quite worrying and that it will mean less ride access.

    Solo
    Member

    Where have you learned of this, linky ?.

    Yes, if the FC sells off their land ????, our land ?, then I expect it would reduce access.

    Its happened in Thetford Forest. For years I rode the BCP side, had a really good route pinned, then Elveden estate decided to pay a man for 18 months to totally wreck the trails, and no, we’re not allowed to ride there now, as far as I’m aware.

    Only did so previously, it now seems, at the LO’s discretion.

    We all thought it was FC land.

    No idea why Elveden decided to deny access.

    🙁

    Solo
    Member

    Psling.

    Thanks.

    🙂

    capixaba
    Member

    Thanks Psling, have had a look there now. Glad to see that it has caught the eye of others.

    Jaz1979
    Member

    No idea why Elveden decided to deny access

    Solo – AFAIK Elveden removed all access to those trails (fun trails at that) because a number of people ignored the No Entry signs that were put up when they had a shoot on. So rather than risk someone getting shot, they removed all of the trails

    Solo
    Member

    Jaz1979.

    Ah, Ok, the men with the guns win.

    As above, I didn’t know the reason.

    Pity, imo, that were a great trail.

    Still, I bet there are those who are still being cheeky ?.

    rogern
    Member

    Here is a petition to help stop the Forestry Commission woods being sold off to the private sector. http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/save-our-forests#petition Please sign it and forward it on to friends.

    I also believe that big business is no good for biking in the woods. It’ll be all money, money, money out of our pockets. Long may the Forestry Commission look after our biking trails.

    Here are a couple of more links giving a bit more background.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/nov/16/our-forests-are-our-future

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/nov/05/government-sell-england-woodland

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/afua-hirsch-law-blog/2010/nov/09/lords-quangos

    http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/news/national-news/121590-uk-spends-%C3%82100m-protecting-foreign-forests-as-it-threatens-to-axe-its-own.html

    http://www.jonathonporritt.com/pages/2010/11/forests_on_the_front_line.html

    project
    Member

    llandegla is privately owned.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Llandegla was established thanks to support from the Forestry Commission, and apparently receives an annual grant from the FC which helps sustain the trails.

    I’ve never ridden there, but I understand the trails are pretty tame – which might be the way that all trail centres end up if they’re taken over by risk-averse private owners.

    druidh
    Member

    Mr Agreeable – Member
    Llandegla was established thanks to support from the Forestry Commission, and apparently receives an annual grant from the FC which helps sustain the trails.

    I’ve never ridden there, but I understand the trails are pretty tame – which might be the way that all trail centres end up if they’re taken over by risk-averse private owners.

    Golspie is privately owned.

    So is Drumlanrig.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    So the fact that there are two privately owned mountain biking centres in Scotland (maybe even a couple more) means that once the sell-off has happened, the new owners are going to build loads of new riding venues in England and Wales? Or take over places where the income from riding doesn’t begin to cover the costs of development and maintenance, purely on the grounds that they’re bringing visitors into the forests? Don’t see it myself…

    druidh
    Member

    It’s as likely as your prediction and at least has some precedent.

    Of course, it might mean that MTBers have to start paying for their fun.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Why aren’t there tonnes of these pay-to-ride centres already? It’s not like the FC are sitting on all the suitable potential venues – as the supporters of the sell-off point out, they only own 18% of the UK’s forests (but provide around 80% of the forestry jobs).

    I don’t know anyone who has paid to ride at an XC trail in the UK, with the possible exception of Swinley – and even then I’ve seen lengthy rants about how unfair it is to pay the £12 a year they charge. Come to think of it, there was a similar rant from the builder about people dodging the parking charges at Drumlanrig.

    The sucessful pay-to-ride venues seem to be DH orientated, and by this I mean they’re still in business, not that they’re coining it in. We were speaking to CTC’s MTB rep recently about making a local DH trail pay to ride in order to cover overheads like trail development and insurance, and he was equally sceptical about the possibilities of turning a profit.

    A pay-to-ride DH track is potentially workable if there’s a business like a bike shop attached, but of course not everywhere will have somewhere suitable. Or I can see a situation where the new owners shaft the existing franchisees by charging unrealistic rents (not that the FC aren’t starting to do this already as they come under more pressure to be financially self-sufficient).

    Apart from the big question mark over the commercial viability of privately owned mountain bike centres, in England and Wales there’s the access issue. You won’t get a more laissez faire land manager than the FC, under the right circumstances they condone and even support access by bikes, horses and even motor vehicles. If you’re building cheeky trails in your local woods they will generally just let you get on with it, unless you’re creating a conservation or safety issue. This is partly out of necessity as they’re so thinly staffed and budgeted, but in general they seem to encourage people to visit their woods and use them for recreation without expecting much financial return.

    Now imagine that your local woods are bought by a private owner who wants to use it for shooting. What will be their attitude if they come across a bunch of scruffy mountain bikers in their woods?

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