Ranmore this time.
Riders in Surrey have been damaging ancient woodland near Dorking by building ramps and cutting back trees.
That’s according to The Surrey Mirror, which reports that Natural England has criticised the building of unofficial trails on Ranmore Common, near Dorking, Surrey.
The website site says that Jamie Parsons, a National Trust ranger, reported the new trails to the Mole Valley Cycling Forum (MVCF) at their meeting on January 26.
The main bone of contention seems to be that these new trails pass through ancient woodland and an ancient boundary ditch, in what is a Site of Special Scientific interest. “Natural England has requested that action is taken,” Jamie Parsons is reported as saying.
Trails with gaps and built wooden jumps have existed on Ranmore as long as most of us can remember, so it’s unclear whether these new objections are part of a crackdown on mountain biking on Ranmore.
Nationwide trail tensions
The MVCF’s response was to the unofficial Ranmore trails was to suggest mountain bikers and land managers work closely together to create sanctioned trails.
“Similar situations have in the past arisen in Redlands Wood and on Holmbury Hill and Leith Hill and the issues have, to a large extent, been mitigated by working with mountain bikers,” it’s reported they said.
If it’s erosion that the authorities are worried about, perhaps they needn’t be. Mountain bikers actually create less erosion than other trail users do, according to research studies on the topic, with water causing the most damage.
The most effective solution is to introduce Right to Roam access to let mountain bikers share paths with walkers, spreading out the load of wheels, feet and hooves more equally.
We’ve looked into trail erosion issues in the past and found that it’s education that’s needed most to protect trails and paths.