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FC land - shared trails?

phzphz Posts: 478
edited September 2017 in MTB general
Can't find anything about this on the FC website, so hoping someone here might know.

Didn't it used to be the general case (subject to local agreements/bylaws) that trails on FC land, whether waymarked or just well-established, were open to all users?

And then wasn't there a hierarchy of who gives way to who (IIRC bikes give way to horses and walkers, horses give way to walkers)?

Or have I invented the whole thing?

Posts

  • You only have automatic rights to use bridleways. Most FC land has loads of logging tracks which have no formal rights of way but as long as you take note of any closure signs then no one will ever stop you riding them.
    Permission to build and ride trails varies depending on the FC management for the area. Rowberrow near me allows no building or riding off the logging tracks. 20ish miles away at Triscombe, the FC communications with riders and, within reason allows trail building and riding and they like to speak to trail builders about plans and they'll post on the riders facebook page about harvesting works.
    For priority and who has to give way, bikes give way to horses and walkers although often, they'll give way first. Be polite, say hello and don't be a d1ck.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    And of course some FC trails have a specific single user such as the MTB trails at trail centres or the Segway routes for Go-Ape, as its private land FC can set any restriction they like on anything but denoted bridleways, BOAT and public footpaths.
  • phzphz Posts: 478
    And if no obvious designation is made? Neither with signage, on the FC website or at the visitor centre / maps?
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,899
    phz wrote:
    And if no obvious designation is made? Neither with signage, on the FC website or at the visitor centre / maps?
    Then you can't(legitimately) ride it unless it's on an OS map as a designated BW/BOAT etc.
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 4,844
    phz wrote:
    Or have I invented the whole thing?
    I don't think you're imagining it.
    I think it used to say on the FC website whether or not a forest was "open access" which meant you could go anywhere (within reason) and there was a "forest code" which said give way to pedestrians or horses.
    They have changed their website and the information doesn't seem to be there any more.

    This came up in the search: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-6xle6d but it only applies to the North of England if you read the detail.
    Access along most tracks is allowed although there may be some restrictions due to timber harvesting. There are purpose built singletrack trails at Kielder, Hamsterley, Whinlatter, Grizedale and Gisburn (N Lancs)

    Edit: As an example, there is an area of forest near my house with Forestry Commission signs up, but also signs saying "no cycling" and "walkers must keep to the public footpath". I remember looking it up on their website at the time and it said that there wasn't "open access" to this forest.
  • phzphz Posts: 478
    phz wrote:
    Or have I invented the whole thing?
    I don't think you're imagining it.
    That's a relief...

    Have seen something on their website that says the FC is applying to make all their land Open Access, but that legally only applies to walkers, not cyclists or horseists.

    So, in the absence of information as to whether a given forest / woodland is currently Open Access or not, do we reckon that it is unless otherwise stated, or that it isn't unless otherwise stated?
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,899
    phz wrote:
    phz wrote:
    Or have I invented the whole thing?
    I don't think you're imagining it.
    That's a relief...

    Have seen something on their website that says the FC is applying to make all their land Open Access, but that legally only applies to walkers, not cyclists or horseists.

    So, in the absence of information as to whether a given forest / woodland is currently Open Access or not, do we reckon that it is unless otherwise stated, or that it isn't unless otherwise stated?
    There's your answer.Same as non FC land.Open access for walkers only.
    If it isn't stated you have to assume it isn't.
    Whether it is or not is irrelevant to cyclists anyway.
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 4,844
    ibbo68 wrote:
    There's your answer.Same as non FC land.Open access for walkers only.
    If it isn't stated you have to assume it isn't.
    Whether it is or not is irrelevant to cyclists anyway.
    Maybe the information has been removed from the FC website to avoid confusion. I think they had something that they called "open access" to some of their forests which also allowed cycling and horeseriding, which was different from designating it as "open access land" under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. I even recall you being able to click on a map and it would tell you whether or not you could access it.

    Here's a link to the info about designating land as open access land. Obviously this is only for walking:
    https://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-6glkge
    I guess this has come about because the government tried to sell off the forests and there was protest about the potential loss of access.
    However the Ramblers say that the Forersty Commission has already dedicated all their land as access land, which isn't the same as "we have started the process of designating our land..."

    A bit of googling has also come up with this:
    https://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-7rufp5#access
    "We allow free access on horseback or by bicycle to the majority of the [forestry] estate."

    If there's a specific location, it's probably best that the OP gets in touch with the FC to ask what the deal is.
  • phzphz Posts: 478
    A bit of googling has also come up with this:
    https://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-7rufp5#access
    "We allow free access on horseback or by bicycle to the majority of the [forestry] estate."
    That's a handy link. Cheers.
    If there's a specific location, it's probably best that the OP gets in touch with the FC to ask what the deal is.
    If and when it becomes a real issue we probably will. Currently just gathering information following a couple of anecdotal encounters between FC rangers and club members.
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