Online Feature: Access All Areas?

by singletrackjon 39

In his article from Issue 58, Dave Anderson wants to start the discussion of where were are and where we want to go with land access reform for bikers, looking back to Benny Rothman, a hero of access who has rightly been idolised by ramblers for the Kinder Trespass but was also a cyclist. This piece asks why Scottish style access has been denied to people in England and Wales, wonders why some people don’t seem to realise a bike is not a horse and wonders that if we ask for rights then maybe we should acknowledge our own responsibilities…

I’m writing this, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, looking out over moorland and hills that, not too long ago, were out of bounds to mere mortals like you and me. Outdated laws, created before the demand for access, stopped normal folk from heading out of towns and cities to appreciate the countryside that surrounded them. Vested interests held sway until a trespass altered everything. Trespass, hold that thought for later.

So first up let’s get cards out on the table. This is not a call to arms; a demand for action; and yes I am one of the folk responsible for

And I happily ride footpaths.

And I’m not ashamed of that fact, not one little bit.

OK, so what is this all about? It’s about the need for brain food, an article to get people thinking about where we are and what happens next. I don’t think I know the answers, in fact I’m fairly sure I don’t, but I’m equally sure that some questions need answering. So think of this as stimulus for you to assess the situation we’re currently in and where you stand in the debate.

Benny Rothman is a personal hero of mine; a political activist, an early conservationist, involved in the fight against British Fascists. What’s not to like? And of course he had a leading role in the Kinder Trespass which led to all the wonderful access rights and National Parks we enjoy today.

But Benny Rothman was also a cyclist. His love of the ‘wilderness of the Peak District and North Wales’ was gained on a bike he built from spare parts he had salvaged. He was a cyclist, and if there’s one thing we should feel a sadness for it is that he left his bike at the bottom of Kinder instead of heading up there on it.

Lesson One

So lesson one. A key moment in the history of British access to the countryside was a trespass and those trespassers became heroes for the Ramblers that came after them.

Without the Kinder Trespass, access would likely have continued with concessionary routes only and indeed many ramblers were happy with that likelihood, considering the action of trespass to be too radical to consider.
“These people believe quite sincerely that we can achieve access by negotiation” Rothman is quoted as saying, adding “possibly in another 500 or 600 years”. So while accepting the differences in scale, would it be wrong to point out the similarities and parallels to access in Britain today?

Except of course that Britain today is a country of double standards, thanks to recent reforms north of the border, Scotland enjoys open access to most open spaces regardless of your method of enjoying it (as long as it’s not mechanically powered).

So in the hills of the Borders you can head up into the wild quite happily and legally ride footpaths until you reach the English side where suddenly you’re liable to civil proceedings for trespass.

Is it just me that finds this crazy? But crazy it definitely is, because there is no logic to the sudden change of legality.The laws that define our rights to access to the countryside pre-date the invention of our sport.

The reasoning behind where you can and can’t ride depend entirely on the decision of some random parish council’s reckoning, with ignorance, vested interest and, in all too few cases, historical usage all playing their part.

Lesson two.

Where we can legally ride has not been decided with any thought to mountain bike use, or indeed according to likely impact, suitability of the ground nor any other more logical means.

My bike is not a horse! An obvious statement unless approached from a current rights of way viewpoint. But bikes and horses are very different things. In terms of impact and erosion we mountain bikers are much more similar to walkers (if you’re genuinely interested check out IMBA’s collection of research papers on this). So once we accept that all outdoor activities have some impact on the environment, doesn’t it make more sense to group users by likely impacts and manage access that way?

Still with me? Good let’s press on.

So as I was saying, I ride footpaths, always have done and always will. I also consider myself a conservationist, my job revolves around it. Despite a common misconception that ‘many mountain bikers are not aware of the damage they are doing’ I counter that I’m painfully aware of it. I think very carefully about where I ride and the impact this is likely to cause; because I love to ride trails without destroying the very quality that makes me want to ride them, I time when I ride trails to ensure I conserve that quality, even if it means only riding something a couple of times a year. And the luxury of having that choice comes mainly through not limiting myself to where I have a ‘right’ to ride. I’d rather ride responsibly.

But I also wish others would too; there’s nothing more heartbreaking to see the deterioration of a trail from ‘special’ into ‘mediocrity’. Pussy lines, chicken lines, cheater lines, call them what you will but they still trash trails. I’ve watched once- sinuous singletrack get bludgeoned into a straight line by riders who fail to appreciate its qualities and cut corners.

I’ve also watched local harmony descend into trail conflict both with local residents and within the local riding community as what was once sustainable use becomes the next great thing to ride. Information and the speed it is now capable of travelling at brings new issues to deal with, given the dissemination of local trail knowledge through forums, videos and gpx files.

So let’s talk responsibilities and ethics. Once local knowledge becomes digitallyfreed, there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. So once-secret trails become available to anyone with a log-in rather than anyone prepared to put some effort in. Riders travelling into an area to ride the ‘must do’ loop are less likely to change plans because of local conditions, especially if they’ve come equipped to follow a line on a GPS.

Requests not to ride contentious trails at weekends or other busy periods are unlikely to travel with the trail location as it passes from mate, to mate of mate, to internet. Trails that can carry small numbers of riders mid-week or at night may suddenly become conflict zones when 30+ riders head down there in full view on a weekend.

The solution.

So how do we deal with this? Is it possible to share trails responsibly? I’d like to suggest some pointers to start us on our way.
Smile at other trail users; stop and chat. Everyone is there for the same reason and you’d be surprised the effect it can have on changing people’s perceptions. If they’reexpecting a confrontation, nothing works better than not letting them have one.

Think about why you ride a path; what makes it special? Now think about how you can keep it that way.You don’t have to ride a route if the weather’s bad. Avoid damage by choosing something more capable of withstanding erosion. New to the area? Ask at the local bike shop. User responsibility is an important part of access negotiations.

If we’re happy riding paths we officially shouldn’t, then we also have to accept that there are paths that we really should stay away from. Nature reserves, sensitive habitats and rare species all really need avoiding.

Keep singletrack single! Don’t cut corners and don’t choose the pussy line. Surely it’s better to wait until you’ve got the skills to ride something than hack your way down it on an approximation of the correct line?

Trespass is not a crime; it’s a historic part of access negotiation. Benny taught us that. Next time someone complains about where you’re riding point this out to them calmly, they probably don’t realise. We would appear to be at a crossroads. So what do we do? It seems to me that we can carry on doing what we’re doing now; either sucking up the current situation, sticking to legal routes or furtively riding footpaths trying not to cause offence. Or we can start to have a dialogue about a better system of access that better reflects the needs and impacts of users.

We cause the same amount of erosion, whether we’re on foot or bike, we impact on wildlife in exactly the same way too so why should it matter where we are and what type of path we’re on when we’re doing either?

Isn’t open access a better goal? With a focus on responsibilities rather than rights? It works in Scotland, the Swedish have their Allemansstratten, isn’t it time we worked towards a better system here too?

I’d really like to hear some others’ views on this, I see this as the start of a debate. My email address is at the front of the mag, I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

A Brief History of Access

1932 – Kinder Trespass; 300+ walkers take to the hills to campaign for access to ‘forbidden moors’
1949 – National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act; sets the framework we enjoy today. National Parks, long distance paths and the Definitive Map, a record of rights of way enshrined in law.
1968 – Section 30 of the Countryside Act; permits the riding of bicycles on public bridleways but they must give way to other users.The act says that it “shall not create any obligation to facilitate the use of the bridleway by cyclists”
2000 – Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CroW); opens up 750,000 hectares of mountain, moor, heath, down and common land to anyone as long as they’re on foot.
2005 – Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003; establishes a statutory right of responsible access to almost all land on foot, bike or horseback.

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Comments (39)

  1. Thanks for that Dave. Never read the article in the mag but I echo your views.

    I also read bits and pieces of the forum thread on the matter. Was there a conclusion into what we could do? How did they go about it in Scotland?

    Dave – a rider of footpaths
    (BTW, was up Hebden way at the weekend and someone got talking to us whilst we were on a path telling us how they’d found a website that advertised riding on footpaths in the area!)

  2. Nice article but it ignores that fact that access in Scotland was never legally restricted. The LR(S)A merely codified existing access rights. So, the difference is that, south of the border, you are starting a lot further back than you think.

  3. I ride footpaths…and am not bothered about it, the way I see it is that I’ve got a legal right of way accross that land…as I make no more noise, polution or erosion on a bike than on foot where’s the issue?…

  4. Will you put part 2 of the feature up please?

  5. Brilliant stuff and great that Singletrack are promoting the debate. We’ve all kept our footpath riding hush hush for too long. Good work Dave.

  6. It is kind of obvious that you have not ridden in the borders. Mad Scottish farmers on one side and you would not really want to stray off the bridleway on the English side as you would get blown up or shot by one of the teenage soldiers. Only joking but I can’t say there are many people vigorously enforcing rights of way law and trespass in the Cheviots on the English side. Except of course the army and it would be wise to follow their advice. In fact most times I cycle up there I see a grand total of zero people except for some reason at the top of Windy Gyle. What do they do up there?

  7. Part 2 will be coming soon…

  8. I also ride footpaths. Dave, you articulate the situation well, I.e. It’s ridiculous. Possibly very English too. Oooh we do like rules and regulations wot wot?

    Opening up dialogue feels the right way forward in some respects, but I’ve reservations about such a strategy too. We lack a unified voice at the moment, and I guess first base is to crack that, which involves us organising perhaps. That in itself could be a challenge. Not insurmountable, but hey ho…

    The downside of negotiations is we’re up against some pretty organised fellow trail users. A lot of whom see us as a problem. I sometimes wonder whether a deliberate strategy of infiltrating walker groups, the national trust etc etc and just being good ambassadors and making them see we’re human and care a lot about conserving trails and sharing them responsibly might be a good idea. Hmmm cant imagine many volunteers even on a forum like this.

    The risk of negotiating is it could get worse. We end up with more rather than less legislation for eg?
    It’s something our lot discuss frequently though, and it’d be good to move from a debate into some positive activity….

  9. I believe* the precedent for bikes in Scotland was that the judge way back when regarded them as “an aide to pedestrianism” – thus on a bike in Scotland you were and are actually a walker, whereas in England you are a rider of an iron horse. Perhaps we should all declare ourselves to be assisted walkers (after all noone would object to a wheelchair on a footpath, would they).

    *I believe many things that turn out to be factually incorrect

  10. interesting article- crap website (cheekytrails, not singletrack..obviously!)

  11. The risk of negotiating is it could get worse. We end up with more rather than less legislation for eg?

    I understand what you are saying here, but that argument could be made against all campaigns for equal rights.

    Trail use is increasing and conflicts will arise, so just keeping quiet about it is going to be less and less of an option. Its important that we set the agenda rather than just being reactive to other interest groups
    Bike as aide to pedestrianism is the way to go as this negates obligations to sanitize trails e.t.c with all the cost implications e.t.c. IMHO

  12. Well done Singletrack for giving Dave a voice. Now how about cracking on and organising a properly executed campaign.

    This would put you even further ahead of the competition….

  13. Snowslave igm…England and Wales please…you know big green space to the west full of big hills and stuff!

  14. “If someone says “bikes are not allowed on here” reply with “yes, I know, silly isn’t it?””


  15. Wales has the rules, but they’re imposed by the English! 🙂

  16. Enjoyed both the articles in the mag and I agree with the general sentiment.

    However, deep down I’m not really sure that I care if the rules are changed or not.

    On my local semi-urban patch nobody seems to give a monkeys what the classification of a trail is, except possibly dilligent bikers who refuse to ride footpaths. As such this is only an advantage to me personally – fewer bikers on the trails = less busy = better for me.

    In more sensitive locations like national parks I do ride cheeky trails but I do so at a quiet time where I won’t have much chance of upsetting anyone. This also has the advantage that there aren’t lots of people to avoid on the trail.

    In busy/sensitive areas, the alternative as I see it risks being something like another Snowdon – a trail which was legal to ride but the mix of bikers and walkers at busy times was not really very sensible and resulted in lots of aggro.
    If Snowdon had been “off limits” all along then bikers wanting to ride it illegally (who generally do so consideratly on the whole) would have had to consider the best time at which to do so. It would never have become the tinderbox it did had the BW not been there.

  17. I ride a bike, walk a dog and have two young children who like nothing better than being out on the hills.

    Put simply, IMO, Bikes and bodies don’t mix-thats why we wear helmets, pads and body armour.We now have faster bikes and ride them harder than ever before.

    IMO, Increasing use of footpaths increases the risk of serious injury to other users.

    The first child killed by an ‘off limits’ mountain biker would damage the sport and it’s development for a generation.

    ‘Freedom to ride, what,where and when’ is one of the sport’s big questions and it’s good to debate them but we also have to give due consideration to other users (whether they do to us, or not!)for it to make sense. Hence, my point above!


    I ride footpaths as little as possible as they are quite popular with other users locally.I don’t want to wipe out the neighbours dog!

    I tend to use them as ‘links’ to various stages of my ride rather than as part of the actual ride. I don’t blast down them and if there are other users, I tend to get off and let them go past before setting off again- show due respect to other users and they tend to show it back.

    So far, I’ve never wiped out a child or dog and just a few close misses with sheep….but that’s another story!

    It’s good to talk!

  18. I like the acting responsibly idea. Trouble is: how do we push it into life. I ride responsibly, I am always trying to talk to people who I meet. My skill level allows me to ride given path terrain and get satisfaction from it. I don’t create new lines, if I break a branch I do it only if it makes riding the path impossible without dismounting. Not so I can carry more speed and hit that stone from the right what will allow me to enter the slab higher bla bla bla butter d*ck sheep shag – this is a local trail not DH comp training FFS!

    Unfortunately not everone thinks that way and GPS Go PRO hero sunday beigists or Dh Worldcup wannabies endanger “trail surface ecosystem” as never.

    My proposal is to share trails responsibly: do it by sharing them to yourself and if you really must: to your best riding buddies only, with a notion no GPS > no further showing. We would love to hit all the secret trails, but think about it: do you want others to destroy your own secret trail?. So share trails responsibly: don’t share them at all

  19. Nice one Dave. I have similar views – I will ride the odd footpath but usually have scouted it out on foot to make sure it meets the sustainability/emptiness/decent riding criteria.
    And similarly if riding a waterlogged bridlepath is going to trash it then it’ll still be there if I return in a couple of months.

    The only times I’ve had hostility in Northumberland have been from ignorant walkers when I’ve been riding on bridlepaths. I do wonder though if raising the profile of the issue with a campaign will be counterproductive. The last thing I want is militant ramblers aggressively defending their “ownership” of footpaths

  20. footpaths are footpaths but should more footpaths be reclassified as bridleways?

  21. ride where you want,i do……just have a bit of respect

  22. Dave,

    Thanks for raising this in the mag and on here. I think it is one of the long standing “Elephant in the Room”zzz of the mountain biking world, and you are quite right to point at the blatant disadvantage an English biker suffers as against a Scot. Then there are the even more disadvantaged within England. Look at various O/S maps and you will find some riddled with bridleways and others with virtually none. You even find bridleways stopping on a boundary and becoming a footpath for no obvious reason. To take one isolated example… The track to the west of Stanley Ghyll in Eskdale climbs as a footpath up to the road on Birker Moor where it suddenly becomes a bridleway past Devoke Water and on to Waberthwaite. It is very obviously all one and the same ancient packhorse (almost certainly way way older than) trail, so WHY has this anomoly in designation come down to us? Then I look at my current local political situation over in the Duddon/ South Lakeland and Lake District National Park area, and I can probably answer my own question……….. Quasi corrupt/ self interest obsessed/ loathsome, rule breaking arseholes were probably involved in the decision making processes!

    And I could go on and point out several other anomolies in my own behaviour recently with regards to this general topic where my reaction has been against facilitating public rights over private property……….. but that was to do with these very same… quasi corrupt, self interest obsessed local officials who were deliberately or not (delete as appropriate) trying to bully my neighbours who just happened to be in the way of a private planning application by one of their mates.
    I include the above by way of pointing out…. it is not always that simple.


    I can’t help thinking that the issue needs to be forced… a little.

    I don’t know if you are familiar with the Ashdown Forest in SE England. It has it’s own Ashdown Forest Act of 1974 protecting it from…………..US. I believe the wardens are empowered to take your bicycle from you if they catch you and apparently they used quad bikes at one time to hassle bikers. It offers some of the best riding in the SE and I (and judging by the tyre tracks I see, others aswell) do ride it at night occassionaly. I can’t help thinking a “word of mouth” regular mass bike tresspass might help soften up the powers that be. If 100 bikers tell the 1 or 2 or 3 wardens that 1974 was a bad year and we are no longer honouring any legislation theretofrom etc…….what are they going to do? Call the 1 or 2 or 3 police officers on duty in the area who can be told the same thing if they catch up with us. And if they do prosecute….. I believe there are issues of proportionality enshrined in Human Rights legislation that might suck the life blood out of any legal action.

    It’d be nice if the CTC legal beagles could be pursuaded to actively back something like that…. But….Having met Russell Jones and Walker (that is their Sols isn’t it?) once, on another matter entirely, I can honestly say that I was totally underwhelmed and thought their potential to do anything remotely positive was severely limited (in that particular individual case, and I did the opposite of what they advised and it worked out well for me).

    Such positive action is a nice fantasy but it would involve a whole load of stress on whoever took the brunt of these pioneeering moves and the inevitable official slashback from the fascisty status quo…ers.

    At which point you need……..Benny……….. or several Bennies.

    Whatever does happen…..or does not happen……… keep it bubbling Dave.


  23. Good one ST for posting it up! I was worried you were hiding this one away. 🙂

    Well, myself and a few people have been sending letters to our MPs. I reckon theres a way of spinning the sensible self moderation we all do when choosing where to ride, into their madcap big society blurb…!/group.php?gid=108370395890880

    may not be much, but i set this up last weekend after searching and finding there wasn’t one, (and consuming wine and getting optimistic). Not intended to be a campaign, but more of a forum for ideas etc… Template letter linked from there, open for all to copy, take bits from, more you change it the better…

    I think theres way to campaign with out a trespass, which unless timed correctly could be counter constructive. Given how its legal, and far more obstructive to walk a bike along a footpath, i thought – a bank holiday ‘go slow’, everyone take thier bikes out, and walk them along a busy footpath, and get in peoples way [?]. Not illegal, but might make the point.

  24. Be careful what we wish for!

    With legal access could come the dreaded trail improvements and much of the lovely singletrack footpaths improved into wide flat multi-user trails 🙂

  25. As Druidh says the situation is Scotland is not as you state – the LRA merely codified existing practice and some would say actually reduced access rights as there are exemptions and allowable closures of land in the LRA.

    The other thing to remember is that there is less obligation on anyone to maintain and repair paths as exists in England. Local authorities can do so and have some obligation on the core paths but many paths are maintained on a voluntary basis or are not maintained at all.

    On erosion I believe that its wrong to say “We cause the same amount of erosion, whether we’re on foot or bike,”

    It is not proven that bikes cause more damage but reading the IMBA stuff its far from proven they don’t. I am certain that in some circumstances bikes cause significantly more erosion than walkers by cutting thru the surface and creating routes for water runnof. The IMBA collection of papers clearly states there is actually little good evidence and “Chiu and Kriwoken…….. They did find significant impact from skidding tires”

    I have been MTBing in Scotland for decades and have seen paths badly eroded by mountainbikes. Even in Scotland where the pressure on land is less it is hard to get all MTBers to behave responsibly and I am sure that opening up all the footpaths in England to MTBs would lead to conflict and erosion very quickly. Paths thatr years ago had sustainable traffic on them have been discovered by MTBers and in a couple of years have altered completely in character from narrow single track to multiple lines of erosion.

    I think it would be better to campaign for a reclassifications of many paths – removing the anomalies and increasing he amount of paths that a mtber can legally use – I think a free for all would be asking for trouble.

  26. The two decent papers in the IMBA collection appear to only consider built paths with no vegetation cover. The paths I have seen damaged are where there was vegetation cover and this situation does not appear to have been a part of the research.

    The other place I have seen mountainbikes cause erosion is on steep paths from skidding.

    I do realise this is a contentious view and that this is only anecdotal not good evidence.

  27. case law states if your pushing your bike your a foot pasenger.therfor if you ride a footpath and get caught just push your bike till your off the path.i would think in the majority of cases your very unlikely to get caught.
    tresspass is also a civil tort not therfor a criminal offence as the land owner would have to prove you caused damage or disturbance of some unless it specifically states you will be fined in some way,your also unlikely to get fined.
    i think its a case of common sense.i have ridden on footpaths and only on two occassions in 15 years of mountainbiking have i had any grief from anyone.

  28. I missed the magazine articles, but have been waiting for this to join in.

    I work for a large land holding organisation in England, Wales & NI and from my observations can say that access is considered very differently from site to site depending on staff and the experiences they may have had with groups. There is also a move to be more inclusive of different groups and to promote our outdoor resources, I am trying to keep my nose in, so as to make sure it doesn’t get taken over by the suits, that and the cost of the work, should keep one popular trail near me clear of so-called improvements, the drops, rocks and gullies shall remain, on our section anyway. I don’t really have the work flexibility to take a more national approach so I can’t say for others.

    As for cheeky trails on the sites in our area, as long as we don’t get a string of complaints on our answerphone, our conservation work isn’t undone and groups aren’t too big, it is the least of our worries.

    A bit of common sense, manners and an understanding and respect of the land should keep everyone happy. If someone wants to whinge, they’ll do it regardless of where you are. There are plenty of numpties on the road that we are all to ready to complain about for their lack of the above, but they are entitled to be there.

  29. I find myself agreeing with TJ on this. I admit to riding footpaths occasionally, living in a particularly barren area for legal bike rights of way. I do ride differently on a footpath, taking even more care than usual to be of minimal impact.

    I am on the edge of the Peak District though and I simply cannot see how the “honeypots” of the Hope and Derwent valleys can support bikers on the footpaths. There’s simply too many people in too small an area. Even speaking personally, I would prefer to be able to walk off Hollins Cross with my children knowing that a mountain biker should not be ragging up behind me in a dubious state of control. For me the answer is reclassification of footpaths to give us more riding, not a free-for-all.

  30. Strange that in both articles and the majority of this thread, hardly anyone has mentioned the person who owns the land.

    Few people seem to understand that land, in most cases, is not a public play park, it’s actually a factory, producing food and other essentials. Maintaining a footpath is a legal requirement on the land owner which is, in some cases quite expensive. Take a field of corn, with wheat at £165 a tonne, figure out how much a path 1 metre wide by 300 metres long is going to cost the farmer in lost production. Or take the case of an incredibly rare black grouse lek destroyed by a mountain bikers who had no idea what he was doing. I stopped the guy riding around and over this little patch but we never say the birds again!

    I think it’s all about respect and understanding and that seems to be something lacking with a lot of mountain bikers.

  31. What about somewhere like Epping Forest which is all owned by the City of London and has no PRoW across it as far as i know (quick look at OS map shows PRoWs stopping at the forest boundry) but MTBers are able to use this area along with horse riders & walkers without so much as a problem or conflict.

    The City of London as the land owner has granted permission for bikers, horse riders and walkers to have access to their land and I don’t believe there has ever been an issue with bikers and horses using the same paths and trails as walkers. Why can’t all access be like this?

    This is a small (much smaller than it used to be) area of woodland on the edge of one of the biggest cities in the world. Surely if it can work there it can work anywhere.

  32. The Key is responsible use. I would agree that the community would have a responsability to educate its members.

    Reclassification processes are drawn out, and costly. While it would be great if they happened more easily, they are rare and given current financial state of the UK, i would imagine a no flyer from the start. There have been very few that i’m aware of. Also, a bridleway will bring trail changes, to make them suitable for horses etc… This would mean gates, possible widening, and further cost to land owners.

    Another point to consider, though difficult to quantify, is that a relaxing of restrictions would spread riders out across more paths. So current frequencies of use for the tracks currently permitted, would probably not be relevant.

    On the crop loss point i don’t really follow, if theres a path through the field now, then that path would be used. Most arable fields with ROW through them, have the ROW also used for farm access (tracters etc), and the path isn’t sown in the first place.

    Furthermore, not every path is going to get ridden, a path that just goes through lots of fields, and over lots of walls, isn’t going to be very appealing to riders.

  33. A mountain biker pedalling through a field of corn is….lost!

    Peter, what would it take to facilitate the responsible use of your land by mountain bikers?

  34. It was in the Lib Dems manifesto to bring in a Scottish access type policy. They are ‘apparently’ in power so lets get the CTC on to it.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about getting total access and then all the footpaths being sanitized, because there is no money at the moment!

  35. Dave, where’s the original thread that you started on the forum to get the comments that then went into Part 2 of this? Got a link to it please?

  36. Rocky Robin, I’ve been pondering that for years ever since the horse racing community succeeded in closing a RoW near Middleham.

    I have started to wonder about an access pass similar to those used on British Waterways canals etc. We happily pay to use the car parks at trail centres, perhaps land owners would be more amenable if there was a cash return. How much would you be prepared to pay for access on, for example Bollihope moor. Freedom to use all the paths rather than just the bridleways. A system perhaps run by the County Council would issue a tag to be displayed on the bike with funds being distributed to the participating land owners. Anyone found off path without a tag would have their bike confiscated.

    £50 a year for North Yorkshire would be worth it. It might also encourage land owners to develop their land for MTB. At present it seems that very few have recognised that the MTB community, unlike the ramblers, are prepared to pay for their fun.

    Wotcha fink?

  37. A few thoughts.

    Living in Warwickshire there cannot be a less accessible county in the UK, and it frustrates the hell out of me that I have to travel far afield just to enjoy this sport of ours

    I think Peter Kinsella’s post (#38) has some merit

    Lastly, we need to organise our thinking and ensure that a single, well supported organisation make all the representations. I would have thought that the door is slightly ajar and a well supported case would be given air. However, which organisation is that? A few hundred members here and there with slight differences in argument stands no chance. I’m happy to put my money into the right membership, but I dont know where that lies at the moment.


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