Can I build some jumps in your front garden?

stumpyjon Posts: 4,069
edited September 2010 in MTB general
We've had a spate of threads recently asking where it would be ok to build trails. Well the simple answer is nowhere unless you've got the land owners permission and every scrap of land is owned by someone. This includes council land, waste land, FC land and any other 'public' land you can think of. Just because it looks unused to you doesn't mean it's not got a colony of rare slugs living on it or that no one else has more legitimate activities taking place on the land.

If you do build anything you leave yourself open to being sued for trespass at the very least, might be criminal damage or even worse if someone gets hurt as a result of what you've done. On a more practical note everytime mountain bikers go and build something unofficial we risk alienating land owners even more.

What can I do about the state of my trails? Not much legally, it's the land owners responsibility to keep rights of way open which is enforced by the council. In reality cutting back the odd bit of vegetation is unlikely to cause problems but it's a very fine line between one persons trail clearance and another's vandalism. Putting a spade into the ground or actually building a structure is definitely on the wrong side of the line.

If you are desperate to build something find out who the land owner is but don't expect a particularly sympathetic response. The fear (rather than actuality) of getting sued is enough to stop most people voluntarily opening up their land for others.

Your best bet is to get involved with an official trail building group. They are always happy for extra help and you know what you've busted your back to build is not going to get flattened next week. There are groups all over the country, Singletraction in Yorkshire, Gisburn Forest Trailbuilders in Lancashire, Bristol Trails Group, Glentress Trail Fairies and many others.
It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
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