We all ride on some cheeky land from time to time. Its not cos we are daring or want to wreck it, its because mostly we are limited to the spots we can ride. We are very lucky to have many trail centers in the UK but we have many more miles of wild countryside that we simply can’t legally explore or ride on bike.
Currently in Wales, the Rights of Way system is based upon recorded historic use of routes instead of suitability. As a result, cyclists have rights to use just 21% of the network, with permission to ride along narrow rocky sheep tracks on steep ground but denied access to thousands of miles of public footpaths lying on metalled farm and forest roads.
In Scotland, following the Land Reform Act 2003, it is very different. Scotland enjoys ‘presumed access’. This means there is a presumption of “responsible access”, subject to exemptions laid out in the Outdoor Access Code (e.g. forestry operations). Consequently, Scottish off-road and leisure cycle tourism are booming and contribute between £236.2m and £358m a year.
On Friday 10 July, the Welsh Government launched its consultation “Improving opportunities to access the outdoors for responsible recreation”, seeking the views of stakeholders on how best to maximise the “health, environment, social and economic benefits” of outdoor recreation.
CTC, together with Open MTB (the new English and Welsh national trail organisation), have put together their joint response to the consultation, and are principally calling for the adoption of similar rights of responsible access as enshrined in Scotland’s Land Reform Act, under the banner of “Trails for Wales”.
Read more and do your bit by showing your support on the CTC website.