Story idea – Dartmoor
DNP have been frowning upon mtbers venturing off piste for some time and now it seems they’re lumping us in with the van-lifers and the free party folk and preparing a book they can throw. Story on Devon Live (sorry) about them seeking new bylaws to fine riders on paths to which they do not have a legal ROW, ban overnight camping in vans, as well as camping in undesignated areas in too large tents or too large groups.
Should you be allowed to ride wherever you want?
I’d be getting involved with that and offering a compromise – come up with a list of the appropriate paths you want to be converted to permissive bridleways and let them ban the rest.Posted 1 week ago
In the context of areas of generally much more open access than England’s norm, I can’t help but bristle a little at the way cycling is lumped in here with motor vehicles and/or what is clearly irresponsible behaviour. “No person shall without reasonable excuse drive, ride or propel any mechanically propelled vehicle or any pedal propelled vehicle on any part of the Access Land other than on a highway where there is a right of way for that class of vehicle”. It has long felt to me that DNP is quite strongly anti mountain biking.
There must be a good case to be made, using Scottish land access as an example, that demonstrates the benefit of education and giving people responsible access, rather then implementing restrictions and reducing access. As an overall set of rules, Dartmoor open access areas have a fairly Scottish set of access rights. The main exception being by bicycle, for which the rules are exactly as per the rest of England.
“Responsible” in the Scottish access example (happy to be corrected but my point is about the broad principle only) is about how you behave, not about bicycle vs shoes. Here, the disposable barbecuers, van campers and off-bridleway cyclists are essentially equally irresponsible in the eyes of many, because they’re breaking the rules. Seems pretty unreasonable when one of those groups is (accepted there are exceptions) trying pretty hard to behave well and responsibly with regards to the environment, farming and other users.Posted 1 week ago
Should you be allowed to ride wherever you want?
Good question. Shouldn’t we? Using a bit of sheep track or footpath won’t get you a £1000 fine in many areas of the UK I don’t think?
let them ban the rest.
Why? Who are we preserving Dartmoor for? In what state of aspic would be appropriate? The miners, the farmers, the mod’s useage? (A large swathe of the moor is a firing range).Posted 1 week ago
Given they don’t enforce any of the current bylaws, I won’t be paying much attention to the new ones.Posted 1 week ago
“No person shall without reasonable excuse drive, ride or propel any mechanically propelled vehicle or any pedal propelled vehicle on any part of the Access Land other than on a highway where there is a right of way for that class of vehicle”.
Given they don’t enforce any of the current bylaws, I won’t be paying much attention to the new ones.
Hmmm – sounds like they’re picking up the military byelaws and applying them to the whole of Dartmooor. The military lands around Farnborough/Aldershot have had a similar clause in the byelaws for years that was never enforced, then after a bit of back and forth there was an agreement struck that permitted responsible riding on established trails. But now the DIO (military office that manages the land) has unilaterally decided to ignore that agreement and we get stopped by people in pickup trucks and lectured about where we can and can’t ride (even when you’re on a ROW), they have fenced off huge parts of the land for ‘safety’ but do not then open the gates when there is no training taking place (they are required to allow public access when there’s no training) etc.
So just because it’s not been applied do not take this lightly – we’re losing access to loads of good riding round here and there’s seemingly nothing that can be done to make the DIO engage with cycling groups.Posted 1 week ago
I stumbled upon this point of view, not reference mountain biking as such, but he makes the point that the irresponsible actions of a few are both dealable with under current laws and should not alter the rights of many responsible acting folk:
And as he says, the people dropping litter etc aren’t going to take any more notice of new bylaws than they do their existing responsibilities.
Whether it’ll do any good is another point but…
Posted 1 week ago
You can comment on the Camping Bylaw Changes by writing to the National Park at email@example.com or by mail to Dartmoor National Park Authority, Parke, Bovey Tracey, Devon
DNP has responded to the UK climbing article. See here:
It could really make a difference if a mountain biking body engaged in a similar way.
Climbers are pretty well catered for in these laws I guess, before and after. As regards mountain biking they are being used only to police our not straying from bridleways.
DNP response says “While Dartmoor has remained constant, our lives have continued to change. Advances in technology, changing legislation and changes in how people access open spaces are all having an effect – both good and not so good.”
The bridleway network precedes our sport by many decades, so perhaps the discussion could be opened around how what we do is another change to how people responsibly access open spaces.
I’ll write in myself, but I’m only one voice, and not a particularly eloquent one.Posted 1 day ago
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