Forest MTBing's impact on birds and wildlife?.
What siort of woodland is it and what sort of trails, who owns it and does the owner support cycing and understand what they would be letting themselves in for if they officially toperate or support it? Is is a sssi/aonb or in a national park?
yes we have had big and protracted tangles with this (small blue graded surfaced/armoured trails, ‘ancient’ but actually post industrial mostly broadleaf woodland, next to suburbia and not particularly protected but owned by NT who wanted the trails and applied to do it properly), and my experience of our local “friends of” was that it didn’t matter what research/science, reports/opinions of proper wildlife agencies etc and incredibly detailed local knowledge we suppled them with they still chose to ignore pretty much all of it. 🙁
…and the ‘friends of’ went for large amounts of canvassing locals with misleading or just plain made up stuff on leaflets and in the local paper: after unsuccessfully trying the angles of parking (as in cars) and safety, they seemed mostly to settle on wildlife. As it was a planning application and the applicant (in our case the National Trust) dealt with it very professionally and throroughly, we had the satisfaction of seeing the council deal with it in a more scientific manner and the leader of the ‘friends’ (who was by this point well known in the loocal press as a magistrate-turned-eco-nimby) look a bit of a plum at the actual planing meeting where it was approved.
It probably won’t get you anywhere, but you may find some amusement in digging them out some reports on the effects of dog walking (esp off leads) on wildlife esp deer, and doggy doo on soil quality. (iirc someone from the fc had a moan in the media about this a few years ago). You may find some stuff on coppicing and clearing strips of better daylight (“rides” but not in the bike sense) that actually supports doing somehting with the woodalnd as it can in some cases encourage biodiversity. But it really does depend what/wher/how though. Then there is that american reasearch about trail erosion from boots/hooves/tyres. Youtube videos of 3 year olds riding GT blue always amuses too. 😆Posted 4 years agojulianwilsonMember
You might have a council cycling officer (we have, and he is a proper mountain biker and top bloke *waves at Caveman Brett), may be worth contacting them and if poss showing them round the trails as they are ridden at the moment. Since the locals will be making a fuss there is little point keeping any secret trails a secret from them anymore!Posted 4 years agobuzz-lightyearMember
What impact from Woodland Trust tractor tearing up the access trail, spending weeks tracking through the wood sawing trees with chain saws and leaving the debris all over the forest floor?
But they don’t like the occasional cyclist discretely riding through, oh no!Posted 4 years agoscousebriMember
Yes night riding will have an impact on wild life., but so does daytime riding. I have been a keen bird watcher for about 30 years now, have over 400 uk birds listed, i have also been a keen nature watcher in general for most of those years. In the UK we don’t have that many nocturnal animals, Badger and fox being the most common.Owls mainly at dusk and dawn and of course mice and voles. If a trail is used alot at night then personally i think the wildlife become used to the noise of bikes, brief glimpses of lights. I don’t think these things alter the animals behaviour or desturb them as much as some claim. Try 300 twichers clamering to get a look at some poor bird , camera’s clicking away, directions being shouted but still the bird stays put. Often wildlife issues are used to deter/ stop certain area’s being used. The country side is for everybody not just the chosen barber wearing few.Posted 4 years ago
Has anyone had to deal with this issue from their local Friends of…..society?Posted 4 years ago
Anyone got any words of wisdom to argue against them?
They are also complaining that night riding will impact on nocturnal wildlife.
I suspect it’s more a case of “we don’t want MTBing in our park!”, but they have presented it as a concern for wildlife.
Is anyone aware of any studies or research of MTBing impact on birds/wildlife?
As Si says, local council owned Estate, local council(labour) are pro cycling, council woodland manager is pro cycling and wants these trails, local Friends of… have complained to the local ward councillors (conservative) using these arguments. We want to give the woodland manager as much ammo as possible to negotiate with the Ward Councillors.
Simon, one of the Ward councillors is Baroness Z£$*%!! her address is Cott***ley Woods, so will be interesting to see her opinion on MTBing in the local woods.
nbt, cheers for the links passing them onto the relevant people.Posted 4 years agoOCBMember
I generally don’t go in the woods at night, and certainly not in the winter … I don’t have any scientific data to back it up, but err, just from doing it I’ve found that my nocturnal activity always disturbs creatures (be it running, riding or just rummaging about).
It’s not *so* much of an issue in the warmer weather, but in the dead of winter when most little birds / creatures are right on the limit in terms of food consumed during the day vs energy required to stay alive at night, it’s just not right that I should disturb them just because I can, rather than being somewhere else where my presence isn’t an issue.
I’m primarily thinking about the small birds – Goldcrests and the like, as they really are on a knife-edge some nights – but it’ll be hard on animal / bird that has to move once settled / roosting, as that effort’ll burn through calories that could be otherwise used for fuel during the night.
Having discrete areas away from disturbance may be a useful buffer; and if it’s a big enough area providing a suitable mix of environments, creatures will move to where it’s quiet … and that might give you a position to try to reach a compromise from – but the deal has to be that nobody goes in that bit and opens up sneaky trails.Posted 4 years ago
Thanks Dave@singletrackworld, I will email you for a view.
OCD, they are focusing on deer, owls and badgers. Badgers are fairly easy to deal with as setts are obvious and easy to avoid/wide berth during trail building. Research appears divided between little impact (bikers at night moving at speed and not stopping, always staying within the trail margin) and impact (moving at speed means more likely to catch roaming wildlife unaware).Posted 4 years agomrelectricSubscriber
Paul, as you will be seeing, most Friends of x don’t currently take a wider view, even where it makes ecological sense etc to encourage cycling. There is a good deal of old prejudices simply covering as conservationism around that need to be answered with evidence.
I suspect bikes are in and out too quickly and quietly to disturb bird life, which in woodlands are less ground nesting than in moorland . This would be seasonal of course, as should then be all access.
Whilst there is a Bambi effect, deer are very destructive of new tree & shrub shoots, which is just what you don’t want in a regenerating woodland. As a non-expert, I’d guess the numbers of all species present would drop with many such higher mammals present and no natural predators.
We work closely with Bradford Ornithological Group and I can pose the general question.
DavidPosted 4 years ago
Chair, Friends of Baildon Moor
CTC Right to Ride volunteergusamcMember
do some googling etc, I’m (nearly) sure I saw some American research (*it was on tinternet) that indicated bikes were ‘better’ for wildlife than dogs/ramblers as they went through the area more directly and more quickly causing less disturbance, esp than dogs which tend to area criss cross etc and will chase something that moves etc.Posted 4 years agomrelectricSubscriber
^ yes that was mentioned in the link in the OP (which was good go see again).
I can say that on moorland, dogs are far more disruptive to ground nesting bird life than other users, especially when not under close control . I had some RSPB stuff on nesting distances from paths; I think it was 5m with no hounds, 50m with. Not sure whether these Friends stance on dogs might be consistent….
A formal trail network discourages off piste trails and wildlife can adapt.
There was a post some months ago to the effect that ground nesting birds appear to have moved their nests nearer to the new trails. One surmise was that they then felt safer from predators.Posted 4 years agobigjimSubscriber
Hmm tricky situation. I’m a lapsed ecologist and even though I work in environmental impact assessment I just don’t do this kind of thing any more, so can’t provide any profeshunal input like
I think I’d take it from the angle that there are far fewer mtbers than walkers, and walkers will have dogs running around too, so are they going to ban dogs and control numbers of walkers, noisy children etc too. If not can they provide evidence for discriminating against one user group over another.Posted 4 years agodannyhMember
A potentially interesting side-point about badgers……
Our local free magazine last week ran a story about finding evidence of badger-baiting in local woods. If more people rode at night, maybe our presence would be a deterrent to the vicious, backward low-lives that did this.
Like anything in life, it is not a one-way street. Not so easy to get away with fly-tipping either if woods are regularly ‘patrolled’ by night riders. All it would take is a noted-down registration number on a van or a car, and the perpetrators would be likely to get a visit from the rozzers. It just makes illegal activities more difficult if there are more people about more of the time.Posted 4 years agoamt27Member
live in the FoD and do lots of night riding, last night ran into lots and lots of boar, deer and a few badgers,
very rarely get any issues with wildlife brigade unless it is on designated nature reserves,
in my opinion there is nothing natural about any of Britain’s landscapes, the Forest Of Dean is a managed forest/woodland planted on top of an industrial wasteland,
one area we are frowned at from riding is a moorland/heathland area set in the centre of the forest, which is looked after by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, if you Google what heathland actually is, it is a habitat created by human clearing of woodland, man-made in all but namePosted 4 years agosession88Member
Our respectable walking society don’t talk to us about issues. They stick up fishing line at head height. Pull trees across the trails etc.Posted 4 years ago
In all fairness the Ramblers (I assume that’s who you’re referring to) would never ever advocate such behaviour. People who do this are ramblers with a small r, often the bitter miserable looking sort who never say hello even when you’re on foot.
But we’re drifting OT. the badgerbaiting point is a good one IMO.Posted 4 years ago
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