With some confusion over the access rights we currently have for riding around the Cranham/Buckholt Woods area we thought we’d better summarise what’s what.
Basically the new landowner of Buckholt Wood and Natural England expressed concern that mountain bikers were causing erosion and disturbing the area which is classified as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Because of this Bigfoot MBC and Cheltenham and County CC got together to meet with them and agree access to certain trails.
This is the current agreement we have with Natural England as of March 2012.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
You can read up more on the Natural England page for the woods: http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designations/nnr/1006044.aspx