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Ridgeway[750 x 562 jpg]
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|Description ||The Ridgeway near to Waylands Smithy after sunset, February 2005, showing just what a terrible state it has been turned into. Thankfully it was all frozen, and so walking along it wasnt too problematical.
Those who insist on driving their 4WD vehicles all over everything say they are not destroying things, and that walkers, mountain bikers and horses cause as much destruction.
I'll let the viewer be the judge.|
|It does look in a sorry state & sadly this happening to many of our ancient trackways. Some forward thinking authorities have banned motorised vehicles from using certain trackways, Mastiles Lane which runs from Kilnsey to Malham in N Yorks has such a ban in place. |
|The problem lies with ancient rights of way as codified under the Rights of Way Act 1990. The Ridgeway (or this part at least) is defined as a Bye-Way which means motorised vehicles can use it. To ban such use requires the local authority to change the definition of the ROW to, say, a bridleway but the process is lengthy requiring consultation with all interested parties as per a list provided by the Home Office. Needless to say, most authorities can't be bothered or, dare one say it, have a vested interest in the status quo.|
|Sections of the Ridgeway are sometimes closed to vehicles, but they barely recover before being abused again. Changing its status to a bridleway would help, but horses cause almost as much damage. Walkers and even mountain bikers cause minimal damage and its absurd to equate them with 4WD destruction. Motorcyclists have been seen causing deliberate destruction by dirt track racing and "spinning" their rear wheels in muddy ruts to create showers of goo!|
|Lets put this in context:
walkers can use 100% of the rights of way network
4x4's/trail bikes can use 5% of the rights of way network.
If anyone says that walkers dont cause SERIOUS errosion i suggest they look at the paths up Snowdon, Catbells and High Spy in the Lakes and across parts of Kinder Scout - then, get back to me on the subject.
If TRO's can be introduced on places like the Ridgeway, why shouldnt they be introduced on heavily eroded paths? Oh yes, groups like the Countryside Nazi's sorry, the Ramblers Association, would never allow it.
This is a prime example of white, middle class, middle income, middle aged bigotry. Their simple logic is if they dont do it, then it should be banned.
|Since when did the Rambler's Association have the power to act in this area?? They are an interest group and have the right to protest - but they don't have power to disallow anything. A serious discussion could have been had up on your comments up to the point where you say "...heavily eroded paths?" but then you go off into a rant showing that there's no point in talking. There's none so deaf as bigots.|
|It is important to remember that tracks such as this have *always* been mires. For thousands of years. They were constructed this wide in order that another section could be used whilst the other recovers. By far the worst damage to the Ridgeway has been caused by farm and forestry vehicles (see the section immediately East of the A34 for example). The section photographed by 'The Captain' is often abused by forestry vehicles - I have personally witnessed this. The fact that 4x4s cause this damage is largely a myth. Thorgrim is right to single out trail bikes as being the main culprits and extensive research has been carried out on this subject, only to find that 4x4s responsibly driven can actually strengthen a track surface with a steam-roller effect, whereas trail bikes and horses cause by far the worst damage with far higher pressure and breakage of the surface. One final word - the section of Staine Street Roman Road in Surrey which was closed to 4x4s in the early eighties has now evolved into a single track footpath / bridleway. For the first time in 2000 years, the character of this road has changed almost irreversibly and (axled) wheeled traffic cannot use it. If this had been a listed building, the council would have been prosecuted for destoying its character. Oh, and water erosion has continued just as seriously as before.|
|why oh why is everyone blaming everyone else? we all want to use it, ramblers are not content with the 95% access they already have, granted some idiots do break the law on bikes and 4x4's, but saying all 4x4's should be banned along with bikes is total idiocy? would you close the M4 just because a minority drive too fast? no, so why dont you people stick to what you have already got and leave us recreational motorists alone? You really are a pain not to mention how you look!!!!!!!! idiots|
|This is precisely the attitude that gives 4X4 drivers their bad reputation. The Ridgeway is a National Trail & should be passable for all users. That some stretches of Byeway have become almost impassable for walkers in wet conditions is nothing less than a scandal. The answer to this problem lies in better management of the trail. There is no reason why the worst effected stretches can't be segregated to restict vehicles to one side with other users on the other side, better maintenance would help. In any case it is largely the bikers, often riding at dangerous speeds who do the bulk of the damage. Speaking as a walker, I object to your attitude, walkers are not idiots. Rights of way are precisely that, an entitlement to use 100% of the network not 95%. If you deny walkers access to even a short stretch of path, this can result in disaster, leaving people stranded late in the day for instance. So instead of indulging in the same blame game that you yourself objected to, perhaps you should instead come up with some sensible suggestions that would help everybody to use the trail iin harmony rather than denying the rights of other users.
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