As you will probably be aware, the Peak District National Park Authority are pushing through their programme of closing up to 30 routes to vehicles. The Roych will close as soon as Derbyshire CC finish their repairs, Long Causeway likewise and Chapel Gate soon after. The current consultation is on Leys Lane at Great Longstone and about 1 a month after that. Despite opposition from the local Land Access Forum (LAF) they are pressing ahead.
These closures are being accompanied by drastic flattening of the routes and filling in with either tarmac scalpings or limestone chippings making them as interesting as tarmac to ride as just as fast.
I have been saying for ages that once the motor vehicles had been banned in the Peak Park that we would be the next target, and I have taken a lot of stick for this, but read on....
The primary protest groups leading the anti-vehicle actions are GLEAM, Friends of the Peak District and their allied horse group Peak Horsepower. Peak Horsepower have been very pally with the committee making the closure decisions. The committee Chair, Christopher Pennell, shares the same name as a Christopher Pennell who appears as a "Gold Guardian and enthusiastic supporter" on the FotPD website. They may not be the same person as he has not declared an interest when the closures have been discussed, but he does not deny it.
Just last week, the secretary of Peak Horsepower addressed a local horse riding group thus: "Now that we have the vehicle bans well under way, we can turn our attention to removing dangerous fast cycles from bridleways. Only when we have done this will horse riders be safe in the countryside". Peak Horsepower want to establish "horse only" loops around the Peak District including Chapel Gate, The Roych, Black Harry Lane and surrounding areas including Leys Lane. Nice flat featureless surfaces are in preparation for this.
To reinforce and celebrate their achievements to date, Peak Horsepower are holding a "Black Harry Ride" on Sunday 20th October with all money raised going towards their campaigns. Starting from Cavendish Mill from 09:00 they will be working their way around the adjacent lanes that they want to be exclusively for horses.
I intend to join in on 2 wheels just to show them that there is no problem sharing routes and no justification in their arguments.
They are already planning to hijack forthcoming legislation to make it simple for local authorities to remove access rights on routes without consultation, including removing all vehicle rights from all unsurfaced routes in the land at a stroke.
I hope you will join me on Sunday and help demonstrate that the general public do not support these cranks. Please don't tell me you weren't warned if they get their way.
Details of their intentions are here, the ride details are on the home page: