Forestry sell off – The end?

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  • Forestry sell off – The end?
  • Premier Icon Anne

    Is this the end of Mountain Biking as we know it? Private owners will not be interested or tolerate access by mountain bikers. This includes charities which would ‘conserve the woods’ but always restrict access. Anyone seen the barbed wire covered fence put up around the non Forestry Commision part of Leigh Woods near Bristol?

    So the article of the year in singletrack was about trail access. Puts that into perspective. This government sell off will hugely curtail our access to the countryside.

    Anyone know of a campaign against this short sighted government sell off?

    Premier Icon Mark

    Llandegla is a privately owned forest so I wouldn’t write off private owners completely – although I’m sure it won’t improve matters.


    Some of the more greedy owners may start to view the forests as a little earner and charge for permits etc, others will I’m sure go down the get orrrf moi land route but I expect that most will coninue as is.
    I’m reserving judgement but then where I ride is mostly privately owned and the Hurtwood people seem really committed to the MTB scene.


    My worry is that Forestry trail centres helped cause an explosion in the number of mountain bikers, and any closures will increase pressure on real trails, increasing conflict potential.

    On balance I like it the way it is, with the hoi-polloi being spoon fed their gerbil loops. 😈

    Premier Icon Stoner

    The only remedy for non-aggravated trespass is damages…


    Do ppl really think that there going to miles and miles of 10ft chain link fenses going up overnight, if this ever does happen? Really?
    Do you not ride anywhere that slightly cheeky now?

    Locally the forestry commission officially do not sanction mtb-ing in the biggest forest in the area, though have never done anything to stop it other than put up silly signs (what could they do?). Do really you see these supposed new owners caring about a some cheeky cycling going on, so much so they’ll have 24/7 security patrolling forests and there outlying perimiters (like that would work 😈 ).
    Either way if the land has a public right of way already, then a new owner will not be able to change this…


    It will be fine – it will all become cheeky which will add a little excitement to the ride 🙂


    I think that there were a lot of us mountain biking in th UK before all these trail centres opened up. Very few private woodlands manage to keep their fences in order I can’t imagine that any new owners will be any different.


    Golspie and Drumlanrig are both on private land.


    I think on the whole not a lot will change for the time being. Some will be shut doors others will exist in the way they do now, be it cheeky or not.

    Trails will become less managed and for the general public, visitors centers, car-parks etc will close. And of course some will be brought for Timber.

    The problem I have with this issue isn’t just the fact it’s being sold off but yet again this so-called ‘greenest’ government is back-tracking in considering this as well as opening up off shore drilling around Shetland.

    It’s just not necessary in the grand scheme of things.


    In the Forest of Dean we had 3000 protesters matching as part of the HOOF campaign (, there was a call for MTBer to join in but only a hand-full turned up.

    My take on it is that it will provide opportunities in the area, which at the moment is restricted by the FC. As long as the correct measures are put in place to allow access and prevent over development etc. This, I understand, will only come out in the white paper and that will need amending or whatever.

    As far as MTBing in the FoD, the FC charge £3.50 to park next to the only 4.5km XC trail they endorse which was built and is maintained by volunteers and last summer they allowed loggers in to destroy sections of it.

    If this all goes through hopefully some entrepreneurial MTBers will lease an area and provide some great trails the FoD deserves, I wouldn’t mind paying a few quid to ride there.


    It’ll be good news of you like golf or Centre Parks!


    provide some great trails the FoD deserves, I wouldn’t mind paying a few quid to ride there.


    Are there 2 FoDs? The one I know has miles and miles and miles of fantastic free singletrack already thanks…!


    It’s all very well clicking a few buttons for an online petition (which I’ve done and also encouraged others to do), but realistically where is that really going to get us?

    I would urge anyone with not just a personal interest, but also with an interest in protecting access for our children and grandchildren, to write to their local MP. If apathy reigns then we will likely lose the access we currently enjoy. A few online clicks for a petition is unlikely to change that. But write to your local MP and we stand a better chance. This page puts together some useful points about half way down.

    It needs more than just a few people going ‘oh someone else will do it’. No. It needs ALL OF US. 😐


    Are there 2 FoDs? The one I know has miles and miles and miles of fantastic free singletrack already thanks…!

    yes I know, but the FC only allow you to ride on stone tracks, most of the quality single track is built and maintained by locals, the FC don’t like it and will destroy any wooden structures,

    the rest can be there one day and gone the next due to logging, there are loggers in Sallow Vallets now ripping up the Enduro Track (there were plans to make this trail into a family blue trail),

    we should have something on par with Afan or Cwmcarn,

    Premier Icon jj55

    The golden age of free ,artificial, trails are over, funding will become very hard to source, budgets at FC will dwindle. But we will survive ………… oh yes, we will survive

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    As most of the trees are worthless and the land not much use for anything else and 50year investment cycles for the actual wood I can see the appeal of the revenue from car parking, cafe lease, bike shop lease. Not sure how the economics will work out but Llandegla charges less for car parking than Whinlatter. Go Ape seems to keep the money coming in and people visiting. I have heard they will be obliged to keep the footpaths open though.


    Anne, maybe you can recall days when FC land was out of bounds totally—well hasnt that changed! Although a few new owners may go to restrictive access I hope that most will see the trees for the wood and continue any trail centres etc, they are after all quite good earners in a timber industry where UK timber isnt making much. New owners on the whole will be looking for a financial income, so a succesful MTB centre should be maintained. Even if conservation bodies buy up the woodlands the track record of for example Natl trust is now quite good, look for example at Long Mynd in Shropshire and joint exercise with MTB groups to promote MTBing on their (NT) land using not only bridleways but also other and permissive routes. Despair not 🙂 (hopefully)


    Why worry, look at how good a thing the privitization of the Rail and the Water was 😯

    Let me explain how politics works, a bunch of funny dressed idiots dance and prance about, while everyone watches them, the rich rob you blind.

    Politics is just a front, look at what is happening behind the scenes, more and more public owned assets are being sold off!

    How exactly is it cheaper to run a resource for example the water, with profits going to the rich?

    You’re adding in the running costs and then slapping profits on top, we should simply be charged the amount that it costs to run the facilities or resources.

    As long as we have fools in charge of the world and by that I mean the rich and powerful, the future for us all is bleak!

    Riding will no doubt continue but trail centres will start to charge more as FC are introducing charges or increasing existing ones. Someone told me today it is now £6 to park a van at Glentress.

    They are also increasing charges for organising events on FC land and introducing a per head charge which organisers need to pay, so expect race or event entry fees to go up too.


    Whoo Hoo capitalism at work, WE’RE ALL DOOMED!!!!

    Edric 64

    FC don’t like it and will destroy any wooden structures,

    As they should who wants to ride on board walk rather than off piste through the trees?


    “As most of the trees are worthless”

    errr not really. The timber market is more bouyant than for many years, with UK sawmills taking an increased market share – good news in these doom laden times, and the industry supports jobs in the fragile rural economy.
    Most of the riding I do is in private forests – not much sign of being chased.
    Probably not much interest to the urban masses…….


    Forestry Commision still love MTB?

    FC MTB News


    Anne – Member
    Is this the end of Mountain Biking as we know it?

    nah ….

    Folks will just have to start using maps again …. Simples !


    Edric 64 – Member

    FC don’t like it and will destroy any wooden structures,

    As they should who wants to ride on board walk rather than off piste through the trees?

    Apart from the ones at glentress, laggan etc etc

    Premier Icon colp

    Looking at it from a business perspective.
    UPM already owned Llandegla before they started building MTB trails etc.
    They got a lot of funding from the FC for the project, so the MTB trails, cafe etc were a nice extra earner on top of timber.

    Now say you were a company looking to buy Delamere for instance.
    Assuming you have to borrow the capital to buy it, let’s make up a purchase price, 50 Million? Might be miles out but it’s a starting point.
    Let’s call the interest on that 5%. £2.5M interest a year?

    You get about £30,000 a year rent from the cafe, maybe £200,000 from Go Ape at a guess, car parking at 250,000 visitors a year, even if every single visitor drove themselves and parked, take the average price of £4 gets you another £1,000,000 (very optimistic!)

    So about 1.2 Million a year turnover tops, which has to cover all of your running costs and service the debt.

    Anyone seriously believe a private company is going to come in, buy massive amounts of land and build trail centres?

    Heard through the grapevine that some woodland has already been sold in the north somewhere, and the new landowner has already erected fencing.

    I dont believe that we as mtb’s will suddenly be kicked out or land fenced off but what I do believe is that there will be a reduction in the number of new trails being built as Colp has already pointed out; there bloody expensive and woul’dnt in all honesty probably cover the costs of building it(certainly not quick enough for a private company)

    secondly and more worryingly I reckon all these private buyers will be buying the patches of forest simply for the financial return of what they can get for the timber (shocker I know!) But what I mean is I reckon not only will they not really care about developing riding they will just fell and move on using the forest solely as they were originally designed as plantations. Thats what happened to my local woods from back in the day, North West Water sold the logging rights, they came in felled all the trees and havent replanted.

    Now I understand why and it makes business sense but the problem is ultimately that the FC were a govnt agency who would use mtb (amongst with all the other recreational forest users) as a reason to justify the FC’s continued existence and lack of profitability. seeing as when they are sold the bottom line of the new owners will be the priority all other uses will fall by the wayside. There will be promises (like when a large new housing development scheme goes up) to ensure the continuation of all the other activities in the forests but eventually once the paperwork is signed they wont give a s**t.


    Almost all of the trail centres have been built with EU money anyway so if I’d just bought a chunk of land and could put forward the appropriate funding submission to increase my turnover and asset value I’d be an idiot not to.

    “and last summer they allowed loggers in to destroy sections of it”

    That’s the essence of the problem for me. Discrete cheeky riding is great; I don’t even mind when the built trails get worn and more challenging. But in the process of logging, they wreck trails with mud and debris. They don’t care about the trails.

    Presently, one of the main public bridleways used in clic24 is virtually unridable due to destruction by harvesters.

    hey ap I did’nt know that? Does that mean that those subsidies will continue?


    If its a bridleway it will have to be restored.

    has anyone else seen the ad on this thread for a treeripperupper machine and mulcher being advertised on nationwide hire from a company called treeclear uk? How Ironic!!!!!

    “If its a bridleway it will have to be restored.”

    Yeah, two weeks is the deadline I think, but it wont happen. Might monitor it and email Somerset Country Council.

    Premier Icon stumpyjon

    What a lot of people don’t realise is that a lot of FC land has already been sold off. They own lots of small unprofitable bits of woodland, these will be the first to go, not the large forests that many people think of. Some have already been declared off limits for selling such as the New Forest and Sherwood.

    Stuff will happen, we’ll just have to wait to see what it is. Other bodies are also supporting trail centres, look at Lancs CC with Cragg and Lee Quarries.


    The most important question is will they maintain the exisiting trails or let them go to ruin? I have been biking for about 20 years now and of course it was all on natural trails and fire roads till the trail centres opened and although I loved it at the time, looking back the riding was crap. The trail centres have revolutionized biking, I get far more of a buzz now thanks to trail centre’s jumps and berms etc. fact is the riding at trail centres is far better than natural trails so the important concern is will they maintain the trails and will they build new ones.

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