Buckholt Wood access agreement
Natural England have published an updated leaflet about Buckholt Wood, CC-CC have put one on their website here or you should be able to pick up a copy from the boxes at the entrances to the wood.
Update 31/03/12 – agreement
The Buckholt Wood trails we can ride are shown on the map:
I think these trails will be known to most Bigfooters, but the approximate grid references for the start and end points are:
- East-West trail, SO 9032 1337 to SO 8921 1352
- Link from old Sanatorium Road to start of Wall trail SO 8920 1352 to SO 8869 1354
- Wall trail SO 8869 1354 to SO 8832 1308
- Teachers trail SO 8941 1360 to SO 8960 1327
- Return route to East-West trail SO 8960 1327 via SO 9002 1316 to SO 9036 1341
The access agreement also includes:
- An unnamed (shared use) trail which runs approximately from SO 893 130 via SO 890 132 to SO 884 130
- An unnamed (shared use) trail which runs approximately from the Portway at 880 129 to SO 877 127
We have proposed a simple code of conduct:
- Please be considerate towards other trail users – slow down near walkers, dogs, horses etc, let them know you are there and pass them carefully. This includes trails considered as singletrack – cyclists do not have exclusive use of any trail
- Please do not build new trails, jumps or other constructions, dig berms, cut down trees or remove branches
- If there is a problem with a trail please get in touch with Roger Smith email@example.com so it can be resolved through Natural England and the forestry manager
- Cycling on the trails in this National Nature Reserve is with the landowner’s kind permission, and with Natural England’s agreement. This does not imply any right of way
- Cycling is not allowed on the permissive horseways in Buckholt Wood – these are not bridleways with associated rights of way
- Other trails in Buckle Wood and Cranham Wood are not covered by this agreement
We intend to review this agreement after a period of time – at this point we can assess how it’s working and whether any changes are needed.
We will continue to use the lines of communication established between the cycling community, Natural England and the forestry manager to resolve problems or make changes. This might include:
- Where seasonal or temporary variations need to be made, for example during forestry operations
- Where the precise route of a trail needs to be modified
We agreed it would be good to give something back to the woodlands we ride in – we intend to help Natural England with their volunteer working parties in Buckholt Wood through the winter months (say monthly or every two months, October to March). So make sure you all know where your wellies are.
All CC-CC and Bigfoot members taking part in organised club rides will have third party insurance (provided by CTC or equivalent).
What happens next?
We will need a few more days to agree the precise content of the code of conduct with NE and the landowner, but we don’t expect this to change massively.
We should be OK to start riding the trails again from Good Friday.
Natural England will sort out the signboards, leaflets and trail waymarks in due course.
Roger has published the draft agreement we drew up on Singletrackworld
Also more stuff here.
We had a successful meeting with NE and the landowner’s forestry agent today, we believe we have the basis of a workable agreement which includes a good number of singletrack trails in Buckholt Wood. As part of our side of the bargain we will draw up a code of conduct so it’s clear what’s expected – nothing too onerous, just common sense and good manners really. We also agreed we would help with Natural England’s volunteer working parties through the winter months – it was felt that giving something back to the woodlands we’re riding in would go a long way to establishing good relations with the landowner.
We need to draft the code of conduct over the next couple of weeks and get it agreed with the landowner of Buckholt Wood, and NE’s land agent for the parts they own.
At the public meeting on 8 March we were given until Easter to get this sorted out. Please continue to honour this by staying away from the area while we get the agreement finalised. Thanks.
Following the public meeting, here’s the response sent to NE.
V.quick update 09/03/12
As Jason says in our forum – excellent turnout at the Royal William last night, plenty of discussion and ideas. Really nice to see locals there too, both riders and non-riders. As you probably know by now, NE and the forestry manager, acting on behalf of the owner of Buckholt Woods, have offered us some shared use trails (bridleway/leisure rider type stuff), plus the Wall. Clear message from last night that we must do better, so off we go again with NE. I’ll be drafting something over next couple of days in conjunction with CC-CC & the SlamMan.
Couple of points to note and set context:
- The scope of the NE discussion was Buckholt Woods only, so for us that means the main East-West route, Teachers, Wall, Bunny Run, Resurrection. Land covering Shrine, One Who Waits, Spookywood, Racetrack was not up for discussion.
- We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that NE, the forestry manager and the owner have a responsibility to take care of these woods, which are European level important, rare Beech Woods. I don’t fully understand all the designations and assessments, but this wood is not just like other areas we ride.
More over on our forum, and wider chat on STW. More to come later.
CC-CC and Bigfoot will meet Natural England on Monday 5 March to hear their proposals, and hopefully negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement.
There is a meeting scheduled for Thursday 8 March 7.30pm at the Royal William where we’ll explain the outcomes of the meeting with NE – good, bad or indifferent. Please come along to discuss what happens next.
See Roger’s post: ‘Meeting Invitation’ at http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/groups-riding-cranham-woods/page/5
NE met the land agent as planned, they have given us a reasonably positive holding statement and have a few actions to follow up before meeting us in early March. Given this is quite some time away and everyone will want to know what we can do as the weather improves, Roger is asking NE for indicators on how the discussion went, and to see if we can meet earlier.
So in the meantime your continued patience would be greatly appreciated. Repeat after me: ‘calm is king’…
Following an email from Roger yesterday, NE tell us they are meeting the land agent towards the end of January, so they should be able to give us a decision soon after. Nothing more than that yet, so we don’t know how things are looking or how much more discussion will be needed. Don’t start buying those stealth ninja jersey/short combos just yet.
In case you haven’t seen them, here’s one of the signs CC-CC Roger has put up in the woods:
Original posting: Hi all,
A brief update on the Cranham access situation: discussions are ongoing between Natural England, Cheltenham & County Cycling Club and Bigfoot. NE have agreed in principle to examine a number of the singletracks we use to see if they are appropriate from their point of view. If NE think they are OK we then have to speak to the land agent about possible access agreements for a number of our routes (but don’t assume all). This would not give rights of way like a bridleway, but it would place access on a better footing. Any agreement would likely be on a trial basis to see how it goes.
So next step is for CC-CC and Bigfoot to map a number of trails and examine them with NE.
Part of the solution to this is for Bigfoot and CC-CC to show NE that we represent and can communicate with a reasonably large part of the MTB community in the area, can work with NE on an ongoing basis and can act responsibly. Activities like building jumps etc are unacceptable.
CC-CC have already asked their members to stay away from Cranham during the next couple of winter months while we continue negotiations with NE. Bigfoot normally reduces use of Cranham during the winter, but in addition we are now asking you not to arrange any rides in Cranham for the time being. This covers Buckle Wood, Cranham Wood and Buckholt Wood (both sides of Sanatorium Road), plus the area between the Royal William, Portway and A46 (marked Pillow Mound on my map).
In addition we would be grateful if you could pass this message on to anyone you know who rides in the Cranham area but who isn’t part of Bigfoot or CC-CC, as it’s important we get the word out about the current situation and the steps being taken to attempt to agree access for the future. Please point them at this article if required, they can contact the club through the email addresses below if they would like more information or to add their support.
This seems to be a positive first step, but there’s a lot to sort out and no guarantee of success, so don’t start buying me lavish Christmas gifts just yet I hope you all can understand the sensitivities around access to this rare and important Beech wood, and be patient while we try to sort out some kind of mutually acceptable solution.
I think Jason will route the next intro ride (26 Nov) away from Cranham.
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