Monday, 25 August 2014

Cumbria County Council Letter

Below is a copy of the email I've just sent to our local council, I'm fed up of hearing nothing but negative comments from certain organisations who all seem to have a bee in their bonnet about off road drivers & riders.. yeah sure there a few bad apples out there, but tell me an avenue of life where there aren't these days?? why is there so much angst against a group of people who have decided to use the outdoors in such a way?? When it comes down to a conversation about costs, how much have the huge stone footpaths cost in the lakes, with the quarried stones coming from various parts of the UK in trucks, then helicoptered in to the site, then hand laid... mmm that was cheap! but this seems to be acceptable compared to the lanes that actually need no maintenance, repair themselves most winters & are also looked after by the group of people who use them. The people who practice these sports aren't exactly short of either commitment or enthusiasm, they spend hours making their machinery suitable for the tasks, take my mate Gaz for example, his bike is a 1983 Yamaha, it cost about £500 to buy, he's spent thousands on it to make it what it is today, a great green laning tool... why should that effort & money spent be perceived as a negative thing?? I really don't understand people in the UK these days, they seem to lack any kind of tolerance lately!! 

Big grins in a great setting & with good company!

Feel free to compliment your local council when they provide such an excellent resource!

Dear Sirs

I would like to offer both my thanks & my compliments for the website information that you have provided concerning the off road driving & riding in Cumbria. Managing & promoting this activity in an organised way is a much more pro-active method of dealing with the pressures involved. Cumbria is one of the few Council’s where this information is openly available & long may that continue.

Several of our little group live in Cumbria, my girlfriend & I plus a variety of friends who are from various parts of the UK, (They all visit the Lakes & surrounding areas to enjoy the countryside & ride all of these lanes on a regular basis), use this information to access the lanes that we enjoy so much. 

We make every effort to stay within the boundaries of what is perceived as socially acceptable behaviour whilst out, shutting gates, riding quietly, giving way to walkers/horses etc. That is very rarely a difficult task, (although we have encountered a couple of 'interesting people displaying some odd behaviour over the years). 

We also devote some time to cleaning up less used lanes up, trimming back overgrown vegetation etc. This is after all a past time that requires a lot of energy, some financial investment & a love of being in the outdoors & challenging oneself in multiple ways.

One thing I would like to add to my thanks is that I always seem to hear only negative comments from certain bodies who seem to be very antagonistic against all of the off road community, from my point of view, as someone who has both earned my living & enjoyed all forms of outdoor activities, (Including walking, climbing, mountain biking, caving etc), around the UK & much further afield is that I have yet to meet any person practicing off road activities that has acted in any way other than respectful of the areas they use for their leisure activities. I am fully aware that there are individuals who are far less respectful, however in my experience I have found that the odd piece of antagonism that I have personally experienced has come from outside sources who do not even use the areas they are complaining about. 

Most of the folk I’ve encountered practicing these sports are 40 & over, they bring revenue to the region as tourist visitors or live here, they prefer the lanes to be unmanaged so that they can ‘test’ themselves & their machinery, so there is little cost in the form of maintenance for yourselves, (although I am aware you must have some legal requirements to meet). They deal with any mechanical failures themselves as they are generally in small groups & carrying the necessary equipment along with having specialist knowledge to render a solution efficiently.

On the whole I have found the people I’ve met are ‘normal’ people, they earn a living, they pay their taxes, they try not to break the laws of this land & they just want to enjoy the pastime that they have found. 

I thought I would send you these positive comments & post them onto the Trail Riders Fellowship forum so that for once there are some positive comments for your efforts instead of the more common less positive statements that seem to be the norm in the UK. So thank you again for all of your efforts to make this an accessible past time for all.


Reply 26 August 2014

Mr Stout

Thank you for the feedback but as a rule it is mostly positive feedback we receive regarding the web-site and vehicle use in Cumbria. From the start of the process we decided it was important to give a ‘yes’ message rather than telling people what they cannot do.

I’m afraid that Cumbria CC cannot take all the credit for the information supplied and credit must also go to the TRF, who’s volunteers collate the information and monitor the routes on the ground for us.


David Gibson | Senior Countryside Access Officer| Strategic Asset Management | Parkhouse Building |Kingmoor Park | Carlisle | CA6 4SJ |