This is probably only ‘news’ if you had your head in a social media-free black hole last week – but just in case you missed it/were on holiday/don’t do Twitface, here’s a story from Ride Sheffield about the flattening of a well-known, well-used bridleway in the Peak. We know it well, and are *quite* annoyed, too…
Wigley Lane Flattened!
Mountain bikers have been left furious once again after another Peak District trail is flattened in the name of ‘safety’. Wigley Lane runs from Longstone Edge to the village of Rowland and posed, until recently, a decent challenge. Now, exposed limestone bedrock has been covered with road-planings by Derbyshire County Council and technical singletrack has been converted into a flat, wide, all but uncontrollable descent.
Furthermore, many outdoor enthusiasts were left mystified as to why DCC are able to bring entirely alien surfacing materials such as road-planings into an area of outstanding beauty and great environmental significance. Wildlife Trusts, the Eastern Moors Partnership and other land managers all ensure that they use the correct materials by liaising with Natural England. Are DCC somehow exempt?
Cy Turner of Cotic Bikes is particularly incensed as the track forms part of a favourite circuit. “It was obvious that the track needed some work to make it safe for other users, particularly horse riders, but this is vandalism. DCC have managed to destroy the challenge that existed and create a trail that is actually more dangerous for all users. The surface is breaking up and the unwary may find themselves travelling too fast and unable to stop on three inches of loose gravel. Surely it is in DCC’s interests to consult with user groups to prevent this kind of ill-conceived maintenance?”
The most depressing part of this is DCC’s high-handed attitude. The DCC website is full of fine words about consultation and involving all user groups but in this instance and recently on Stanage Causeway, there has been little if any consultation and an inevitable outcry has been the result. Ride Sheffield has made a number of overtures to DCC offering to consult at a moment’s notice when work is being considered, but they have been rebuffed at every turn. Is this any way for a public body to act?
To add your voice, chip in to the comments below, and keep an eye on Ride Sheffield for updates.
UPDATE – TUESDAY 17:40
We’ve had this response from Derbyshire CC via their twitter account @derbyshirecc
“@singletrackmag 1/3 You can’t always please everyone. Some people prefer a rocky route while others prefer a smoother surface”
“@singletrackmag 2/3 We had complaints about the poor condition of Wigley Lane. We can’t consult every time we carry out work”
“@singletrackmag 3/3 We work with Peak District NPA, Natural England & local access forums which give advice on access issues”
Of course, what the author behind the @derbyshirecc account has failed to recognise is that had they actually consulted on this work before hand they would have stood a fair chance of avoiding work that has patently made this trail more dangerous than it was originally.