As mountain biking grows in popularity, a new forum has been established to look at conflicts between trail-builders and landowners

While the vast majority of riders who access rural land do so responsibly, incidents have been on the increase. Landowners and land managers are experiencing problems relating to unauthorised trail building, with the discovery of deliberately engineered (as opposed to created through use) tracks and structure developed without consent.

A National Access Forum sub-group on mountain biking and enduro activity has been established to identify potential solutions to the growth in unauthorised mountain bike trails, which continue to present a number of serious issues for land managers.

The sub-group is tasked with developing guidance including the development of a spectrum of models for managing user-built trail construction, appropriate planning considerations, addressing environmental concerns and construction essentials. The sub-group is keen to hear from mountain bikers and landowners together to contribute to its work and to discuss the content and structure of the draft guidance at a series of workshops on 6th, 7th and 8th August at Glentress, Birnam and Banchory.

David Henderson Howat, Convenor of the Scottish National Access Forum, explains:

“The issue was brought to the attention of the National Access Forum by two of our members: Scottish Land & Estates and Forestry Commission Scotland. They have identified that the number of trails being constructed is unsustainable and they are a serious issue due to the safety concerns for mountain bikers and other users, environmental considerations and the potential liability incurred by the landowner/managers. Through engagement with Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, event organisers and mountain bikers we understand that there are positives from user-built trails including health, sport and economic benefits. We hope that the guidance will help lead to a common understanding of the issues and benefits of these trails, and will provide advice on how both parties can work together to find common solutions.

“These evenings will be a crucial step in helping the sub-group develop the guidance and gain feedback from mountain bikers and landowners.”

Attendees will be sent the draft guidance in advance of the meeting.

To attend the evenings please sign up using the links below:

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