Trail clearing legalities
So ir_bandito and I had a fun evening yesterday clearing fallen dead trees from a nice bit of singletrack (*cough* footpath) that had been ruined and doing a bit or pruning. It was a great bit of upper body workout to go with the ride and a job well done (IMHO). All the cut timber was left by the side of the path, and a few stones were moved upstream.Posted 4 years ago
On my return home, I was questioned by my wife along the lines of – ‘are you allowed to do that?’
I have no idea, can anyone enlighten me…
short answer for riding not without the landowners permission.
but they have a duty to keep footpaths clear enough for walkers so if you couldn’t have walked it I guess you could argue you were making it legal.
Cutting bits off trees is fairly obvious as trail clearing goes…Posted 4 years ago
Sure the footpath association appreciate the helpPosted 4 years ago
Big society innit. (I got told off a while back for clearing overgrown brambles off a built path- most path users were just walking round and had eroded a muddy hole beside the path. Apparently that’s better than taking an hour to open up the proper path. People are weird.)
Haven’t ridden it lately but I’ve been in a sort of cold war with some stickman arsehole locally, he puts logs on the path, I take them off. We’ll probably never meet- if we do, we’ll be dead british about it I’m sure and he’ll put logs on and I’ll instantly move them and he’ll move them back and we’ll never make eye contact. I might tut, though. I might even sigh loudly.Posted 4 years ago
I was asked by a bloke and his son (who seemed genuinely puzzled / intrigued that effort / maintenance goes into paths and access) if I was paid by the land owner to do it?
Not sure who came away from that conversation more bemused: Me wondering how some people can be so unaware of how the world around them works or him convinced there must be something wrong with me for doing ‘work’ without being made to or paid to.Posted 4 years ago
we’ll be dead british about it…. I might tut, though. I might even sigh loudly.
On the other hand I ride with guys who are averse to any sort of trail maintenance, which annoys me to no extent.Posted 4 years ago
Cold war with a stickman; I like that. I have a similar going on on my offroad commute route. I think the trail blocking (including part of the Tran Pennine cycle route) is really aimed at the local dirt bikes but I seem to be the only person clearing the trail when the logs have been piled up. Others just seem to ride or walk around them which makes the path wider and muddier. I thought he’d given up recently but two large branches had to be launched down the hillside last night. Good cross training!Posted 4 years ago
If I ever lay eyes on my local stickman, I won’t be following your lead Northy, however admirable!Posted 4 years ago
It is often easier to ask forgiveness than permission…
…plus smiling at them while holding a big saw / axe / shovel normally helps them to agreePosted 4 years ago
Clearing fallen logs isn’t a crime. You’re doing the landowner a favour in keeping the right of way clear. Whether you choose to ride your bike along there at a later time is unrelated. If you were cutting down healthy trees in a commercial first it might be a bit different.
Besides, how’s it riding?Posted 4 years ago
AIUI you are allowed to clear obstructions you find on official paths, though not generally allowed to go around cutting down someone else’s vegetation. Don’t see “illegal” cycling (yes I know it’s not illegal) per se being relevant, if a footpath is obstructed you can clear it.Posted 4 years ago
I was asked this morning by as a passer by if I was being paid to clean up some singletrack
I replied, nope, just doing it so everyone can enjoy the trails whether walking, rambling, running or ahem..cycling (which is banned in the area)
nothing more epic than raking back the winter leaf fall, removing deadfall (sometimes cutting through a tree trunk when its fallen right across the path) and scraping back mud build up or at times altering drainage to prevent puddling and mud pits
its a good few hours work that past 2 days, but I know I will get the benefit from having better quality riding, and everyone else can enjoy it too!Posted 4 years ago
For the OP, you need some camoflague so you can do this stuff invisibly. At the very least, a green fleece/softshell. If you want to be even stealthier, get a dirty hiviz vest. Only downer is, people will keep asking you for directions.Posted 4 years ago
Based on the stuff I learnt back in the day as an IMBA rep, what you’re doing is technically illegal. It is against the law to go out with tools for the specific intention of removing a blockage on a trail unless you own the trail / have permission etc. However if you happen to come across an obstruction while you’re out, and happen to have a suitable tool on your person which allows you to clear that blockage, you are perfectly entitled to do so. that’s why I carry a folding saw ni my pack, I don’t yet have snips for snipping barbed wire but I recall so few occasions where it would have been useful I don’t think its necessary.
You can do a lot with a folding saw – mine was £2.99 from Aldi
[url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/n_b_t/albums/72157633198047878]Hard at work[/url] by Notoriously Bad Typist, on FlickrPosted 4 years ago
NBT is almost there
Removing an obstruction from a bridleway etc. Would fall into the ancient common law right of ‘abatement’, which is generally viewed from a self aid position, it blocked your path and you removed it. Making a special tooled up trip is more of a grey area.
On ‘trails you don’t have permission or lawful right to ride’ then technically you could be committing criminal damage, but it would be an open question as to whether the fact and degree of what you had done constituted ‘damage’ and whether it affected the value or somehow affected the interests of the owner.Posted 4 years ago
So what if you were helping a trail that is neither a footpath nor bridleway? And you happen to have gone for a walk carrying sandwiches, litre of tea, expensive Japanese saw, spade and a mcleod?Posted 4 years ago
I clear some stuff on local trails, should probably do a bit more.
There was a stick man locally a while back but every log or stick put on the trail landed about 100ft away and I guess he got bored walking all that way to put them back. Either that or one of the other cyclists caught him in the act 😉Posted 4 years ago
If it’s private land, and not a right of way and you don’t have permission then it comes under criminal damage, thus technically illegal. Yes it’s a fallen tree or whatever but technically it’s the land owner’s property and maybe they want it to remain that way. Unlikely though.
Riding it, no worries on legality. It’s not illegal. Landowner could take you to court though, but this is very rare (and possibly has never been tested in terms of cyclist trespass).Posted 4 years ago
[video]https://youtu.be/mjheO4xVj4I[/video]Posted 4 years ago
Thanks for the responses. We used a folding and a silky pruning saw (that just happened to be in our packs) to clear several trees across a right of way. The silky was amazing, but the blades are fragile. So I guess we’re in the clear, and the trail is running sweet as…Posted 4 years ago
I keep a section of local path clear on the basis that I probably use it as much as anyone else and it makes my ride nicer.Posted 4 years ago
The person actually responsible has passed me their thanks as it saves her limited budget.
I’ve just had a thought….Is it ok to chainsaw up cars that are parked on pavements?
asking for a friend…Posted 4 years ago
Besides, how’s it riding?
Bloody fast 🙂Posted 4 years ago
Some of my local bridleways will get rather overgrown soon, any recommendations for chopping, ideally something like aPosted 4 years ago
brush-hook strimmersickle, but that won’t fitbe concealable in my back pack???
a folding and a silky pruning saw (that just happened to be in our packs)
I wouldn’t go with that story; 4 years max sentence for having a bladed article for no reason.Posted 4 years ago
Technically probably naughty if you use a tool as there might well be H&S rules for that land owner. EG council owned land would be no. Also you can clear as is reasonable for the status of the RoW so as point as you can walk along it, the footpath you were on, you can do no more.Posted 4 years ago
None of what you were doing seems bad. Indeed it all loks helpful but much of it could fall foul of several laws in the wrong circumstances. Been into this very very deeply with RoWs and motorbikes.
Of course if its private then no one has any right to be there without direct permission and most definitely not damage. I wish the tossers who take a spade to the deer tracks in the FoD would abide by that.
Land managers I’ve spoken to seem to be more concerned about the insurance implications of trail maintenance than the legality. If you’re clearing a trail and cause an accident, because you’re working round a blind corner or because you left a cut end of a branch sticking out into the trail corridor, it could be their arse in the window.
For the stealth trail builders who make new lines by raking, depending on the site it may be a problem. If it’s an ancient woodland for example, then a lot of the ecosystem depends on the piles of logs and mulch on the floor. Disturbing some of this might raise eyebrows with the people in green jerseys.
Having said that we’re all (nominally) adults and we can make our own decisions. I’m not aware of anyone getting in trouble for trail maintenance, much less being prosecuted, and even the folk digging jumps tend to be seen as more of a management issue than a reason to get the cops involved.Posted 4 years ago
I’ve just finished clearing a long section of my local route after the recent stormy weather. As i was cutting the last of the fallen tress away (brought a proper saw, none of this folding crap) i was met by a couple of families out for a cycle. I was surprised as it’s not really a kid friendly section of trail until it dries out (they were walking at this point). The adults all thanked me for clearing way, as did an eXtreme jogger who passed a few hours earlier. I was doing it for myself but it was great to see others using the trail. The legalities of it never crossed my mind. Just like they don’t when i’m making new trails or building features/jumps. I’d put it down to ignorance on my part as i’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble for clearing/building trails. This is all a bit dramatic really – 4 years for carrying a folding saw? Wise up.Posted 4 years ago
Silky saws are great but let them do the cut and resist white knuckles or twisting them to prolong the life of the blade.Posted 4 years ago
Oh, and be careful. A silky cut bleeds for ages but scars nicely!!
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