The campaign is headed by OpenMTB and CTC
Following the launch of a consultation by the Welsh government on July 2, a campaign has been formed to bring about a change in access rights for mountain bikers. The campaign is hoping to open up more rights of way for mountain bikers in Wales as well as putting pressure on England to follow suit.
The Trails for Wales campaign is fronted by CTC and Open MTB. CTC is a British cycling charity and OpenMTB is a group composed of journalists, guides and other interested parties that was formed after the opening of the consultation.
To contribute to the campaign, you can sign an editable letter on the CTC website. The letter will be sent to the Outdoor Access and Recreation Team of the Welsh government and urges it to, “adopt the right to responsible access similar to those created by Scotland in the Land Reform Act 2003.”
Scotland currently has ‘presumed access’. This means there is a presumption of “responsible access”. It is believed that mountain biking currently generates between £236.2m and £358m a year for the Scottish economy.
The letter is fully editable so riders can add their own experiences in the Welsh countryside. Tom Hutton, a member of OpenMTB said: “it would be great if different parties could write different letters. The experience of a local bike shop is going to be different of that of someone from the Midlands who rides in Wales once a week.”
The campaign will be on the CTC website until October 2. Sam Jones of CTC said: “There’s no exact science as to how many numbers are needed to convince them to take notice, but a large number of supportive voices is always very helpful for any campaign.”
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As it stands, only 21 per cent of Wales’ Rights of Way are accessible to mountain bikers, Hutton believes the campaign could open “thousands of kilometres” more.
There is also a belief that if Wales became more open this could put pressure on England to do the same. Jones said: “Part of the difficulty of encouraging people to take part is that most will think Trails for Wales will only benefit the Welsh. It will, there’s no denying that, but it will also benefit all those who travel to Wales to use the trails, and more importantly it will put more weight on England to adopt similar forward thinking Rights of Way.”
You can support the Trails for Wales campaign by submitting your response here