If you’re a Peak District local or interested visitor, then you’ve probably already noticed the social media uproar about the current trail works being carried out by Derbyshire County Council (DCC) on the Rushup Edge byway.
The byway, with its sunken lane and sandstone steps, forms part of the classic Edale/Roych/Jacobs Ladder loop, which we featured as our Classic Ride back in issue 70; it’s one of the UK’s finest all-weather rides with a unique character, drawing riders from all over the country, all year round. While it falls within the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA), DCC are responsible for its maintenance as a right of way. Last week work began to level out the trail’s surface, filling in the many bedrock steps and slabs with aggregate that will eventually be covered with planings, turning the trail into a wide and featureless descent which encourages excessive speed and is more dangerous for inexperienced riders than a trail with natural features.
Leading the outcry is Peak District MTB (PDMTB), which was set up at the end of 2013 to provide a voice for mountain bikers within the National Park. Unfortunately DCC doesn’t have the best track record for consulting concerned user groups prior to commencing works on mixed-use trails; see the Wigley Lane debacle for a recent example of the contempt in which it appears to hold most trail user groups. Despite apparent intent on the part of DCC to engage with PDMTB earlier this year, it seems that the council still isn’t interested in consulting the trail user groups (including equestrian and walking groups, as well as cycling bodies) prior to carrying out destructive work like this on historic routes. It’s also worth noting that these works are reported to cost £70,000 – a significant amount of money to spend on what many believe to be unnecessary works when DCC have been told to cut £70m in the next three years.
In an attempt to gain a pause in the works while proper consultation is carried out, members of PDMTB and local (and some not-so-local) trail users have today held a Picnic Protest at the site, gathering to ride the byway and pause for a peaceful picnic while surveying the damage that’s already been done to the much-loved route. Dave and Dan have been representing Singletrack at the protest today, so we’ll update this story in due course with any further information and – hopefully – a response from DCC. We’ve contacted several members of the council giving them the opportunity to put across their side of the story, but so far haven’t received a reply.
If you’re concerned about the destruction then PDMTB suggests you do the following to make your voice heard:
Tweet DCC on: @DerbyshireCC
Post on their Facebook wall: Derbyshire County Council
Email them on: firstname.lastname@example.org and Peter.White@derbyshire.gov.uk
Phone them on: 01629 533190
Whether you’re a local resident or an infrequent visitor to the area, if you use or care about these trails then let DCC know what you think.
While you’re at it, join in the discussion on our forum: http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/rushup-edge-resurfacing
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In Ride Sheffield’s experience Peter White is the problem, and acts with impunity and is not swayed by lobbying or complaints. He’s a council officer, not an elected official and as such there’s no electoral accountability. We are now turning our attention to the elected officials (councillors in other words) and complaining to them as it’s their job to hear the views of the people who elected them and carry them forward. If you live or work in Derbyshire then please find your local councillor here using your address to find them http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/council/councillors/ and write to complain. I’ve already complained to the one who represents where Cotic is based as that’s in Derbyshire. If you’re not from Derbyshire, but visit and care, then contact the general email on that page and let the elected representatives know that they must do something to change the Rights of Way department policy.
Cy, I have a bit of contact with MP Andrew Bingham, have you got something I can send to him that sums up the whole tale ? He is High Peak, but DCC are also in same area.
excellent article on wider implications for all users here –
Simon, I’m going to post the letter I sent on the Cotic news page tomorrow morning. Feel free to copy that when it’s up.
Not had time to read the long thread in the forum. As I understand it councils usually subcontract this sort of work to engineering firms, large or small. If one of the bigger ones was used, then they tend not to like the reputational damage from public backlashes like this and they may be able to moderate the situation. Do we know who the firm doing the work actually is?
I was told by Peter White that it was DCC workers rather than contractors. He also told me he wanted horse and carts to go up Stanage Causeway. You can decide for yourself whether he’s a credible witness.
Cllr Joan Dixon is the one to contact – her portfolio covers rights of way:http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/council/council_works/cabinet/cabinet_members/jobs_economy_transport/default.asp
You all need to see who you are up against, and how well organised they are…
Click on ‘repairs’ on the right, and check out that this all fits in with their new long distance route – and Jacobs ladder is listed in repairs…
Also try pointing out to the Peak District National Park Authority that this is damaging tourism and innapropriate use of road planings that are considered a contaminated waste material in a natural environment.
I have emailed them today but the more people who do so the more likely we may get some action.
As previously stated the DCC highways department are unresponsive. We must put pressure on the polititians who they answer to.
This pressure as stated by others above is best coming from Derbyshire residents (voters) but also the PDNPA who have an interest in attracting people from around the country.
Just had a look at this link from above:
They’ve had alot of success in getting what they want! Someone in there must carry some weight with ‘the powers that be’ or know someone that does!
How long before they get mountain bikers banned!