- Peak District Route Closures – Next Phase
As a local Peak rider I too have been shouting about this for some time and received a mostly apathetic response. Where is our organised lobbying group? We have a good economic case to retain access as riders coming into the park bring money and create jobs. But Peak Horsepower have well connected and influential allies. If they succeed we will have only our own indolence to blame.Posted 4 years agohubertMember
As you will probably be aware, the Peak District National Park Authority are pushing through their programme of closing up to 30 routes to vehicles. The Roych will close as soon as Derbyshire CC finish their repairs, Long Causeway likewise and Chapel Gate soon after. The current consultation is on Leys Lane at Great Longstone and about 1 a month after that. Despite opposition from the local Land Access Forum (LAF) they are pressing ahead.
These closures are being accompanied by drastic flattening of the routes and filling in with either tarmac scalpings or limestone chippings making them as interesting as tarmac to ride as just as fast.
I have been saying for ages that once the motor vehicles had been banned in the Peak Park that we would be the next target, and I have taken a lot of stick for this, but read on….
The primary protest groups leading the anti-vehicle actions are GLEAM, Friends of the Peak District and their allied horse group Peak Horsepower. Peak Horsepower have been very pally with the committee making the closure decisions. The committee Chair, Christopher Pennell, shares the same name as a Christopher Pennell who appears as a “Gold Guardian and enthusiastic supporter” on the FotPD website. They may not be the same person as he has not declared an interest when the closures have been discussed, but he does not deny it.
Just last week, the secretary of Peak Horsepower addressed a local horse riding group thus: “Now that we have the vehicle bans well under way, we can turn our attention to removing dangerous fast cycles from bridleways. Only when we have done this will horse riders be safe in the countryside”. Peak Horsepower want to establish “horse only” loops around the Peak District including Chapel Gate, The Roych, Black Harry Lane and surrounding areas including Leys Lane. Nice flat featureless surfaces are in preparation for this.
To reinforce and celebrate their achievements to date, Peak Horsepower are holding a “Black Harry Ride” on Sunday 20th October with all money raised going towards their campaigns. Starting from Cavendish Mill from 09:00 they will be working their way around the adjacent lanes that they want to be exclusively for horses.
I intend to join in on 2 wheels just to show them that there is no problem sharing routes and no justification in their arguments.
They are already planning to hijack forthcoming legislation to make it simple for local authorities to remove access rights on routes without consultation, including removing all vehicle rights from all unsurfaced routes in the land at a stroke.
I hope you will join me on Sunday and help demonstrate that the general public do not support these cranks. Please don’t tell me you weren’t warned if they get their way.
Details of their intentions are here, the ride details are on the home page:Posted 4 years ago
Ok worsecase scenario. I’m banned from riding footpaths. I still do it.
IF we are banned. Whats the worse that they can do? **** all. Combative but sorry its conjecture to me. The council are not nasty folk. I’ve witnessed 4×4’s on Roych. I was gobsmacked at how two vehicles ripped it up and a circa 1ton rock was cracked infront of our eyes.Posted 4 years ago
Hora – go ride Chapel Gate or Brough lane and tell me that they are better for having been sanitised.
Admittedly they are a hell of a lot faster to ride (if you can bunnyhop kerbstones and drainage channels) but if the likes of Peak Horsepower do get their way there are a lot of stables around here who are looking forward to much more group trekking on sanitised loops.
The two groups have conflicting requirements, they want trails that are easy for horses not the challenging routes that we may like to ride.
Riding cheeky footpaths round here is just another stick with which they can beat us in the great access debate that seems to be brewing.Posted 4 years agoOnzadogSubscriber
It’s a very clever plan. They’re not trying to ban us. They’re just trying to turn it into somewhere we don’t want to be.
I wonder if these new sanitised tracks will catch them out though. I ride down the beast a lot slower than I do down Stanage causeway now. (although I give way to horses whatever the trail).Posted 4 years agotowzerMember
fao hora and everybody else
ps breaching a byelaw is a criminal offence
http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/290647/trails-management-plan-summary-2012.pdf (*search for the word bike)Posted 4 years ago
Details of their intentions are here, the ride details are on the home page:
Is there a bit there where they outline their proposals to ban mountain bikes and establish horse-only networks? Maybe I’m just being naive, but it seems unlikely that that’s every going to happen in a National Park.
Riding cheeky footpaths round here is just another stick with which they can beat us in the great access debate that seems to be brewing.
Where is it that we’re being beaten with a stick so far? I don’t have an axe to grind either way beyond being a mountain biker, walker and climber. I think I’ve just missed all the anti-mountain bike stuff somehow.
I’m just a little confused by it, the anti-mountain bike conspiracy seems to be very discrete, I guess. I’m more minded to think that the horse lobby is not unreasonably pushing for surfaces which are suitable for horse-riding rather than doing it as a stealth method of removing mountain bikes from the Peak Park. And just because they want something and have connections, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.
And finally, all the gravel/hardpack stuff rips to shreds in a year or two anyway, look at the Roych for evidence of that one.Posted 4 years ago
Potential conflicts of interest aside, there’s a risk here that we’re appearing to deny, for one group of legitimate bridleway users, the enjoyment of a shared resource that we want exclusively for ourselves. The politics of the playground? What can be an engaging trail for mountainbikers can be impassable/dangerous for equestrians and also novice bikers. What we call “sanitisation” other legitimate users may call “making reasonably safe/useable”. The primary purpose of rights of way is to function as effective rights of way for all legitimate users?While I can see that I might be possible to resurface trails in a way that also maintains interest for bikers I xan see that this is expensive.Posted 4 years ago
While I can see that I might be possible to resurface trails in a way that also maintains interest for bikers I xan see that this is expensive.
That’s basically what happened a few years back on Cut Gate. It’s changed the character of the riding slightly in a few places, but as trail restoration goes, it’s a pretty decent job, but it was a long and expensive project I think.Posted 4 years agoantigeeMember
problem is that both mountain bikers (not that I like that term but it does differentiate from leisure cyclists) and horse riders lack quality facilities and have inherited a shared trail system that works for neither – the main issue shouldn’t be fighting over this minimum legal access right but increasing access rights for mountain biking – doesn’t need a change in the law – all it needs is large landowners to give permission for mountain biking on their land – lets start with the National Trust who own substantial areas of the Peak District, followed by the like of Yorkshire Water – if mountain bikers had access to all CROW land then sanitised bridleways just become access routes to a host of more interesting stuff – meanwhile a bit of organisation helps like Ride Sheffield – see point 1 in the following -nobody seems to have told the Eastern Moors Partnership that the new Bridleways should only be for HorsesPosted 4 years ago
I’d also argue that the notion that trail sanitisation dangerously increases speed (as has appeared in similar threads) is rubbish and does us no favours. If a motorist made the same argument there’d, rightly, be outrage in this parish.
It might not do us any favour but unfortunately its true. smooth wide tracks will lead to greater speed then narrow bumopy ones. that’s why FE started building trails in the first place…Posted 4 years ago
@antigee – it would be the most sensible idea, however, that’s going to be one bitch of a fight to get any agreement on. I used to part of the group that runs the Wolf’s Pit Fell race and just to allow additional access for one day a year took months of negotiations, cajoling and ‘persuasion’ to keep the race going over private land.
Agree that the starting point should be the FC and STW (the water lot not the riders).
@BWD – there’s quite a bit on the internet on various forums if you try google,
But more important than who’s trying to get whom banned, is that thee does not seem to be a visible and coherent voice for mountain biking.Posted 4 years ago
If we, collectively as bikers, can’t control our speed within safe bounds on shared trails, and are happy to admit as much, we deserve to be banned from these trails on safety grounds. And stupidity.
Imagine the car driver that admitted the same thing with regard to the 20 mph zone outside their local primary school. “I’m sorry officer, the road’s so straight and the tarmac is so smooth I can’t possibly stick to the speed limit”.Posted 4 years agomrmoMember
What speedlimit is there to ‘obey’? Given that these ‘roads’ are not lit then the lowest any enforceable speedlimit can be is 40mph, and there arent that many places where MTB’s exceed that.
There are no speed limits on bikes, end of discussion.
The closest parallel is cycling furiously which is a totally subjective opinion of what is reasonable and what is not. Whether is applicable to unsurfaced tracks I don’t know.
So one person could claim 10mph is ok but another 20mph.Posted 4 years agojohn horscroftMember
Interesting thread with some cracking points. I guess if you’re looking for a campaign group, it’s either PMBA or Ride Sheffield. I’m involved with the latter and we’re attempting to make contact with Peak Horsepower. I’m tinkin’ that it’s best to sound them out first and try to win them round – not easy I know but no harm in trying. I firmly believe that all user-groups need to get on and it’s already happening in my experience when they’re brought together as they’ve been at the Eastern Moors Stakeholder Meetings. I’d urge everyone to get involved in one of the current lobby groups. We’re learning as we go, and there’s a shit-load to learn about rights of way legislation, environmental concerns, land management and the rest and we need all the help we can get!Posted 4 years ago
Chrismac/MrMo – I’m not really arguing a legal point about whether enforceable speed limits exist on bridleways in the same way they do on roads. I know they don’t. Just the sheer stupidity of arguing that the nature of the trail surface somehow makes riding at unsafe speeds an inevitability. I’ve seen this point argued on similar threads and it’s bone-headed nonsense that does our claims for wider access no favours. End of discussion. :-/Posted 4 years agoantigeeMember
rogerthecat – Member
@antigee – it would be the most sensible idea, however, that’s going to be one bitch of a fight to get any agreement on
……there does not seem to be a visible and coherent voice for mountain biking.
i’d go for the bitch of a fight … did access work years ago for BMC and stuff on climbing walls and people never never asked for enough – asked for limited, permit access or we’ll have a bbq and build it ourselves and it will be sh!t and we’ll keep it quiet… fighting over individual trails with horse riders ain’t going to sort anything …. coherent voice – well national bodies have to make the effort to be representative and to encompass all facets – CTC should take on this role and local campaign groups should be affiliated (BMC/Ramblers style) and policy needs to be driven up not downPosted 4 years ago
@BWD – will dig some out when I’m home later, we used them for the fell race discussions.
Ride Sheffield – do they cover the entire Peak Park?
PMBA – who?
I am inclined to agree it should be the CTC as this is not the only National Park and it won’t be the only one facing these issues. And, there are more routes outside national parks that need some form of voice. Do they have the stomach for a “bitch fight”? 😀Posted 4 years agomrmoMember
@grittyshaker, i’ll accept where your coming from but the problem is subjective. my idea of fast, or specifically inappropriate speed will differ from some one else. If you make the track smooth, what speed is appropriate, the safe for me speed? which will rise, the conflict speed, which will barely change?
IMO I can safely ride past a walker on a reasonably wide bridleway at 20+ mph, obviously a horse is a different situation! But many walkers jump if you go past them at more than walking pace. Bikes are pretty quiet afterall.Posted 4 years agoOnzadogSubscriber
All this discussion of speed is a bit of a distraction. It’s not about the speed we ride at but how that speed is perceived by others.
However, smoother trails will lead to higher speeds. This is why local authorities employ traffic calming. We like chicanes and speed bumps even if they do slow us down.Posted 4 years ago
I agree that speed is a bit of a hijack and the real issue is one of effective representation. So this is the last I’ll say, I think…
@MrMo – I recognise the idea of “safe speed” and “conflict speed” too (though you’ve introduced me to that last term, thanks). It’s mildly irritating when walkers leap in the air or shout “look out everyone” as you trundle past at a considerate speed. 🙂 I also know about the headless chicken effect of taking walkers by surprise where it seems as likely they’ll jump into your path as out of it. I’ve seen riders barrel past other users at speeds where luck has played the greater part of avoiding a collision. I’d suggest that an appropriate speed is that which reduces the chance of collision to as close to zero as possible and minimises the potential for conflict as much as reasonably possible. Bikers are nearly always the least vulnerable users of bridleways and speed is always a conscious choice. To blame the trail surface as some (but not you, I note) do is stupid and damaging to the wider access campaign.Posted 4 years agonbtMember
To blame the trail surface as some (but not you, I note) do is stupid and damaging to the wider access campaign.
Sorry I don’;t have time for a full debate but you really are coming at this from the wrong end. the issue of inappropriate speed is not one that’s been raised because of trails – trails have been built becasue of inappropriate speed. The very frst MTB trails at Coed Y Brenin were built becuase cyclists were going at what seemed to be a reasonable speed, only to find that due to the surfacing and trail design, they were unable tp control their bikes, leadin to some serious injuries. Dafydd proposed that to slow cyclists down, they should be encoiurage into the forests by giving them trails where speed coould be controlled by trail design. It seems to have workedPosted 4 years ago
Not sure that the same ideas of design shld apply to shared use bridleways as to trail centres where the main risks presented by bikers are to themselves. Bikers need to demonstrate responsibility on shared use trails. Otherwise there is a risk that we’re perceived as effectively saying, “Ban us. We can’t be trusted”.Posted 4 years ago
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