Do you ride on footpaths?

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  • Do you ride on footpaths?
  • Premier Icon wwaswas

    I ride ‘cheeky’ stuff all the time – some of it’s footpaths, some just tracks through the woods.

    I avoid busy paths at peak times and would probably avoid taking large groups down some stuff during the day to avoid any issues but it it’s a rideable route then I’ll take my bike down there.

    Premier Icon ahwiles


    i can appreciate the need for ‘no bikes at the weekend please*’ paths, but the current segration isn’t based on reason.

    (*some paths do get very busy, some paths are very steep)

    don’t ride like a dick, say hello, stop and get out of the way if it helps, find quieter trails – there are LOADS of peachy footpaths, with no-one using them.

    Premier Icon kayak23

    As with many laws, they are made for people who lack common sense, or just don’t care about anyone else on the planet.
    For the rest of us, footpaths are great! πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    where are the bog trotters when you need them?

    60+ mtbers on a footpath led by sfb in his short shorts.

    As a rights of way officer for too many years I have come to the conclusion that either (1) we stick with the current legislation and put the staff in place to implement it; or (2) the law is changed in many areas of access so that the low levels of staff have a chance of implementing it. Neither is going to happen, ever. So I ride on footpaths, respectfully and carefully



    agree with polite/cheeky approach – also agree with the ‘people can ramble etc etc etc etc because of civil diobedience’ attitudes, and hope that when challenged people remain calm and argue their case politely and constructively.

    “Bridleways are ‘as seen’ for us, just because your recreational vehicle of choice can’t cope with the prevailing conditions is not horse-riders fault.” Well when it was vehicles on RUPP/BOAT – ie totally legal they would get TROd(banned) for damaging the route (fair enough IMO if damage prevented other users – but I think with vehicles there was a lot of politics as well), I think that it’s ignorance and wrong (of any type of user – including cyclists) to damage the surface beyond the use of other users and for me there is a problem with horses (and rather too many horse riders attitudes) on this one. Horse riders seem to expect consideration from others – maybe consideration needs to work both ways ?

    In England and Wales
    Walking – 100% plus (*all ‘tracks’ plus r2r and some open access)
    Horse/cycling 21% of ‘tracks’
    vehicles 3%ish of ‘tracks’ (down from 5%)

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    where are the bog trotters when you need them?

    60+ mtbers on a footpath led by sfb in his short shorts.
    Out riding on footpaths? Forgot to check properly when following one of their routes – the route line was drawn very heavily down a FP when we got there (thankfully mid week) there was a huge NO BIKES Sign reinforcing that it was a footpath. Yes the more fun way down but a great way to annoy people.

    Premier Icon weeksy

    As long as it’s ‘public’ then i’ll ride it… footpaths don’t even come into the equation.

    That said, i’m very lucky where i live in the fact that a very small percentage of riding will be on footpaths.


    where are the bog trotters when you need them?


    Premier Icon martinhutch

    Horse riders generally have even fewer options than us when it comes to ROW access – they often can’t just nip along a busy road to join a couple of BW sections, or link up using a short section of footpath if there are stiles, steep sections or locked gates.

    While it’s a nuisance when ROWs are chewed up, we should be thinking more in terms of how we could help horse riders as well as ourselves by developing and extending the BW network. If anything, despite the relatively small numbers of horse riders, they are better served in terms of organised lobbying power, and a potentially useful ally.

    And yes, I ride various footpaths when it’s necessary. Normally to avoid very boggy bridleways in winter or to link up sections of BW that would otherwise be out and back routes.


    Yes thanks, and I’ve not had any problem what so ever. Even the farmer I stopped on the edge of Cheddar Gorge who, when I stopped for directions, said I shouldn’t really be walking there, was fine when I said, “I know, it’s a bit cheeky but I walked through where your cattle was so as not to spook them”, and wished me a good ride.
    Actually, the only bit of grief I’ve had was off a late teens horse rider who decided that I shouldn’t be on a footpath (that was covered in hoof prints). I did stop and debate that for a while, but mainly due to the tight top and jodhpurs she was wearing as opposed to a sense of right and wrong!


    My commute takes me on a footpath every day, I think I have only seen one person in the last eight years using that footpath and he was cutting the grass πŸ˜‰


    yes, but mainly because Sheffield CC / Derbyshire CC insist on sanitising the bridleways round these parts!

    Ride politely and on your own / in very small groups and live and let live in my opinion!


    No because the footpaths here are just as dull as the bridleways, again I’d rather stick to the roads where I can at least get a decent speed and workout πŸ™‚


    Of Course…and whats more Iv never hit anyone either
    I only adhere to rules that make sense


    I have and I do from time to time. Its very hard to avoid it. I’ve had very few altercations with walkers because I try to be considerate and polite. However, there have been occasions when I’ve been confronted with comments like. “This is a footpath”. I tend to reply by either saying. “Oh, thanks for letting me know’. Or. “Thats OK, I’m travelling in meters”.


    I ride wherever I like but try to be sensitive to other users and ground conditions. Won’t ride busy footpaths on a sunny weekend in the middle of the day for instance.

    i do and mainly because the FP’s by us are better than the BW’s simple as that, i dont feel im doing anything wrong, its just the countryside at the end of the day (fair enough if your riding on someones private land on a FP as a right of way) but natural peak/lake stuff with FP’s i cant physically/mentally see how im doing anything wrong, its just countryside FFS no one owns it, its just there

    thats my phylosophy anyways, granted its pretty selfish, but most of the time i dont get any grief at all, most if not 95% of people i see are friendly as hell, probably more so than fellow mtb’ers, then you get the grumpy odd rambler and the odd red coat ranger that likes to tell you how you are committing the worst attrocity in the world!

    all in all im happy riding them and happy to get a telling off for the pleasure if need be

    what does annoy me more than anything is when i see dogs off the leads on FP’s, letting them run wild shitting everywhere and not bothering to clean it up, then have the arrogance to tell you your not supposed to be on here, but then they have a dog roaming around shitting everywhere thats not suppose to be off the lead!!!! ive used that argument lots of times

    and also a FOOKING DOG has more rights to be on there than a human being on a bike?!?!? seriously whats that all about? πŸ™

    that said i do try to be careful when i ride the extreme cheeky stuff, ie i dont do it on a sunday day time nor a saturday afternoon….but as its been so nice lately i got up early AM sat and did all the cheeky stuff by 11 am, saw a few people and most were friendly, generally weekends ill stick to ‘allowed’ stuff but this weekend just gone i couldnt resist, it was to nice and running to well to not do it…mostly the mega cheeky stuff we do at night so it avoids the masses (ie we dont see a soul!)


    Of course I do, again ride with a bit of common sense and avoid certain busy paths or ones that can be damaged depending on the conditions, why not? Its a path, its not my fault the definition of what I can ride on was defined by some bod in an office 50 years ago.
    Rarely get any aggro. Did get my path blocked a month ago by an indignant old buzzard who asked me if i knew it was a footpath, yes I do thanks. Then preceded to have a debate which ended with me being wished a broken neck and me wishing him a pleasant walk (which apparently I’d ruined anyway). πŸ™„

    Footpaths, bridleways, woodland trails – if you can ride a bike on them I will. Like many have said previous if you employ a bit of common sense and courtesy I really don’t see a problem. I’ve had a couple of run ins with walkers on FP’s but nothing that has ever made me think twice about using them
    hahaha @ gears “traveling in meters” I’m having that one ;D

    Premier Icon unklehomered

    I keep it to a minimum, to avoid annoying others.

    yup, certain ones at certain times of day, typically evening, always considerate.

    Yes I ride footpaths.

    I live in Essex, have a look at the link below, it shows rights of way. You’ll see BWs are few and far between and hardly any of them join up. This is why I ride footpaths

    As an aside, there are a few canals around here where the towpaths are ‘footpaths’, which seems bonkers to me as they pretty much only existed for horses to pull barges originally!

    Premier Icon jam bo

    what does annoy me more than anything is when i see dogs off the leads on FP’s

    what if I ride down a footpath with my dog off the lead? does that cancel out your anger or make it twice as bad?

    Premier Icon chakaping

    All the bridleways round here have been churned up by horses.

    Or covered in sand so that you’d be quicker walking.

    employ a bit of common sense and courtesy

    Exactly, just behave as if we already have the access law that we should have – and it’ll probably help us get it in the long run.

    what if I ride down a footpath with my dog off the lead? does that cancel out your anger or make it twice as bad?

    not at all but at least if they are going to have a go at me for doing something i shouldnt be doing, then they really need to practice what they preach right??? AND STICK TO THE RULES that so obviously annoy them

    i dont mind dogs off the lead, it doesnt bother me as long as they are’nt biting childrens faces off, or shitting everywhere, i do mind when the arrogant owner has a pop at you, but clearly doesnt follow the rules themself!

    in fact i just hate dog owners!

    Premier Icon miketually

    Recording as a footpath doesn’t mean higher rights don’t exist . The old turnpike is a good case in point.


    Plus, being recorded as a public footpath protects the rights of the public to use it on foot and that is all. It doesn’t make it illegal to ride a bike there, but that right isn’t protected and so the landowner or their agent can ask you to leave or can erect barriers/signs.

    Premier Icon tomaso


    Premier Icon Lifer

    It’s a civil matter, hactually. And there’s never any excuse for J***s P****t.


    I tend to ride cheeky trails of dubious status, but mostly avoid them if they are actual footpaths or waymarked walking trails, especially if there are no-bike signs.
    There are plenty of options available without upsetting other countryside users where I ride.


    Mostly ride bridleways but do ride some footpaths plus a number of trails on ‘open access’ land which strictly are for walking but I’ve never had anyone question my riding on them and have seen lots of horses using them.

    Most of the local footpaths are a drag as there are so many field boundaries with stiles or kissing gates.

    On the topic of dogs – got covered in dog poop again at the weekend due to another lazy dog owner (and no it wasn’t from a fox πŸ™„ ). Frankly sick of the number left on local cycle routes and bridleways. I’d make it an offence not to have a poop bag with you when walking the dog. Doesn’t guarantee it will get used but might help.


    1. Glib response to forumites:

    where are the bog trotters when you need them?

    :Waves back to Gary_C from the footpath:. Are you out tonight? It’ll be 10% bridleway : 70% footpath : 20% no right of way whatsoever.

    2. Honest response:
    I ride where I like but treat everyone that I meet along the way with courtesy and respect.

    Incidentally, the most vocal red-socks I’ve encountered were on a bridleway.
    A close second was the guy who was completely off-piste yet failed to see that he had no more right to be there on foot than we had on bikes.

    i watched a person let his dog shit on a FP last saturday, he let it shit right in the middle of the narrowish path, not a problem for me to ride round, but i saw kids further up the path, walking with the parents towards it, and the kids were a bit in front so by all accounts probably would have stepped in it as they were chasing each other and generally being kids whilst the parents let them….

    i then as i went past the guy told him, excuse me you’ve just let your dog shit right in the middle of the path, and his reply was ‘well i havent got any bags to clean it up’ – the **** prick, i then said you could have at least dragged the dog into the side to let it shit off the path, or kicked the shit out of the way, and his reply was, why dont you do it if your so concerned πŸ˜†

    i called him a few choice words and he just walked off mumbling and the dog shit remained there, some lovely folk about, i let the family with kids know that there was a pile of poop up ahead

    You should have picked it up in a big leaf, shouted ‘Hey! You dropped something!’ and chucked it at him 😈

    Premier Icon ir_bandito

    I ride on footpaths if they’re worth riding on (ie an enjoyable trail or link other sections together). But not all footpaths (and not all bridelways) are worth riding on.

    I’ll always give way to pedestrians, as I would on a bridleway.

    If a path goes across properly private land, such as a garden, I’ll perhaps walk across it, carrying the bike – no point upsetting the landowner too much. If there are big “no cycling” signs, I’ll pre-walk the track on a seperate occasion if I don’t know it to check for farms with big dogs and guns. And if it crosses something like a grouse moor, I’ll certainly not ride it in shooting/nesting season; I’ll happily ride bridleways across moors any time but I believe owners of grouse moors can properly screw you for “trespass” if you’re not on a legal RoW.

    On the whole though, I figure Northumberland is near enough to Scotland that we can borrow their access laws. πŸ™‚


    dogs can be trained not to shit on paths etc– but the bag thing can be odd, they are often left hanging in trees/bushes like some faecal shrine…

    I live on the Isle of Wight which has a lot of bridleways and a lot of footpaths. I do ride on footpaths, but like most of the previous comments I use common sense. The IoW is a walker magnet and there are several small companies set-up for walkers, using footpaths, so I avoid the more used ones during ‘normal’ hours mainly to avoid unnecessary conflict with rabid, Daily Mail reading OAPs.

    However I do take umbridge at people not caring about the example they set as a rider; if everyone took this view we’d be screwed. In my eyes it doesn’t take a lot to set a decent example and show others respect while out riding. This doesn’t mean avoiding footpaths, but does mean not acting like an utter tool when riding or caught on one.

    By ‘not caring’ you’re essentially cutting off your nose to spite your face, because any anti-MTB action on both a local and national level will affect you in one way, shape or form.

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez

    Why do some people get so worked up over this? It always amuses me when someone who isn’t the landowner and who hasn’t been put out in any way goes into a piss-boiling frenzy because someone is riding a bike on a foot path. Why do they care?

    Premier Icon ir_bandito

    It always amuses me when someone who isn’t the landowner and who hasn’t been put out in any way goes into a piss-boiling frenzy because someone is riding a bike on a foot path. Why do they care?


    Its when you’re faced with the landowner, or the landowner’s agent/gamekepper holding a gun that I get concerned.

    Premier Icon annebr

    IMO a polite and considerate cyclist on a footpath does more good for the public image of cyclists than keeping everyone separate from each other.

    So yes I will ride a footpath because it may be the best and easiest route for where I want to go. But I’m always considerate of the other users of the paths no matter what the designation of the path.

    Premier Icon oldagedpredator

    Things can always change, link goes to British Mountaineering Council website. Text below is lifted from it:

    The government is planning to make trespass a criminal offence under the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill currently before parliament, claimed a leading countryside campaigner at the first-ever Spirit of Kinder Day on Saturday (April 27).

    Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: β€œThe Bill threatens to make trespass a criminal offence by creating public spaces protection orders – in fact, exclusion orders – applied to places like open country and village greens, where the public currently has the right of recreation.”

    Premier Icon unklehomered

    However I do take umbridge at people not caring about the example they set as a rider; if everyone took this view we’d be screwed. In my eyes it doesn’t take a lot to set a decent example and show others respect while out riding. This doesn’t mean avoiding footpaths, but does mean not acting like an utter tool when riding or caught on one.

    By ‘not caring’ you’re essentially cutting off your nose to spite your face, because any anti-MTB action on both a local and national level will affect you in one way, shape or form.

    This, I have in the past tried to disassociate myself from people I’m riding with out of embarrassment. I’ve said this before on similar threads, just be incredibly nice to miserable ramblers, they hate it, they really do because your failing to live up to the stereotype of mtber they would otherwise be able to spend the rest of the day complaining about, and there’s no collateral damage by way of unpleasantness to the nicer people in the group. Its a true win win.

    I often stop if I see walkers gawping at a map and ask if they need any help. This is worth doing, it’s very funny as they never admit it, even if you have heard them say they don’t where they are as you approach. But a good conversation starter and allows you to break the mold of negative expectations.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    To give an alternate point of view…..
    having grown up on a farm and my folks still own it and have a tolerant approach to ROW’s but when you get a bunch of farmers together over some beers the stories come out πŸ™‚ wandering through farmyards (not on ROW’s), trampling crops (Not on ROW’s), leaving gates open, letting dogs chase animals (problem with owner not dog) the list goes on…….

    Farms and agricultural land is a workplace, you can make the ROW safe but people keep straying off them, you can’t expect a business to have to worry about randoms wandering round where they should not be.

    Couple that with the farmers nightmare of being next to towns/estates etc where kids roam through fields with bikes/motorbikes etc. One family friend had to fit metal detectors to his Combine Harvesters due to the amount of scrap thrown into the fields (costing Β£1000’s to repair machinery)

    Looking at UK access from Oz it’s amazing and you don’t know how lucky you are!


    Like many on here, I do but try to be as polite as possible don’t charge past walkers etc.

    There are quite a few cheeky trails around Wyming Brook that I ride very early when visiting family (and used to ride very regularly when I lived there). I keep bumping I to this old bugger who bollocks me and tells me that I shouldn’t be there because it’s an area of scientific interest with rare birds…all whilst his two digs are off the lead, rummaging around a long way from the path. Pretty sure his dogs will do more to the ground nesting birds away from the path than I will be riding one little slither of track.

    The sense of entitlement that people have gets me the most…it’s theirs and not to be shared. No it’s not. I don’t litter and do my best to be considerate…why shouldn’t I be allowed equal access to the countryside? Seems to work north of the border.


    The law is stupid and outdated when it comes to RoW.

    There are stupid people out there as well though and an inconsiderately ridden mountain bike can be very intimidating to other countryside users especially if dressed like a storm trooper.

    But mountain biking is here to stay, various countryside use surveys suggest mountain bikers make up a large proportion of countryside users but we don’t seem to have a particularly big voice when it comes to being heard πŸ™

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