Many of you who ride around Sheffield may know that the council are doing some works around the lodge lane area. An existing footpath (this first section is actually already a bridleway) which runs from the crosspool road down to Wyming brook is to be upgraded to a Bridleway and by the looks of what's been done so far (though I know the current resurfacing at the top is at about the end point) with clearing etc to make the path suitable for horses ruined. 2 existing bridleways in the area are likely to be downgraded to footpaths as part of the same work (surface unsuitable for horses is the claim). I've got a pdf file showing some the works which I'm happy to send to people by email (or could someone host it somewhere?).
I've been talking to the guys at the ROW department at the council about these works and got an email from a ranger at Wild Sheffield (below) about a meeting regarding the works. I'd love to go along but am currently away with work and will still be out of the country when it takes place. If anyone else fancies heading along to see what's happening and to try and get the MTBers views across that would be great.
Im not sure it'll help much in reality but I still think it'd be a good idea to get a presence and hopefully open the communication channels a little for future works.
I am the land manager for Fox Hagg LNR and Wyming Brook SSSI and I have organised a meeting on Thursday 24th September 7pm -9pm at St Lukes Church, Blackbrook Road, Lodge Moor. Our direct influence extends onto the reserves we manage but we are also consulted on wider issues as well.
I have organised the meeting as there seems to be a lot of people particularly bikers and walkers who feel they haven't been consulted properly and haven't had the chance. As with PROW we have a duty to legal duty to provide bridleway surfaces suitable for use by horseriders and walkers of all descriptions and this is what we have to act on.
However I am sympathetic to bikers and walkers who feel they are losing out on the rougher tracks they enjoyed. I think the meeting will be an opportunity to at least have your views and concerns aired with other track users and it might go some way influencing other users to bear you in mind when they are asking for improvements. Also it may be a chance to meet likeminded people and enable you to orgainse into a group that will have more chance of getting your voices heard.
Sam is right when he says that recognised groups like the RA and BHS have more clout. They tend to be very organised and vocal and speak for a lot of people. Something similar for bikers I think would help you have more influence. Getting a few sympathetic walkers onto the RA would help too.