Forestry Commission adamant that Wharncliffe trails are to be destroyed

Long-standing but unofficial mountain bike trails in Wharncliffe are being threatened with destruction by the Forestry Commission.

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As ever, ‘unofficial’ trails are something of a controversial area and the Forestry Commission are looking likely to remove the famous trails in Wharncliffe (near Sheffield), citing safety as one of the reasons.

The trail builders have, in this instance, held up their hands and even “apologise[d] humbly” for doing things behind the backs of the Forestry Commission (see statement below).

The builders have started an online petition. The main aim for the immediate future is to show the scale of community backing” for the Wharncliffe bike trails. The hope being that, after this, there will be a crowdfunding campaign started to rebuild/amend the existing trails to satisfy the Forestry Commission’s requirements.

Here’s the wording from the campaign page

Save Wharncliffe Mountain Bike Trails on

The unofficial trails in Wharncliffe are under threat of destruction. There are safety issues identified by the forestry commission, and that they were built without permission in an area of plantation that is due for thinning every 5 years. 

Photo: Andrew Whitham /

The Forestry Commission may not be aware of how popular the trails are in Sheffield and the Wider UK, and the community that surrounds them. Known to some as Wharncouver, Wharncliffe trails are an important cultural hub within Sheffield, attracting a vast user group of thousands of riders. It is our belief that they should remain as a community asset to benefit the whole of the Outdoor City.

The trails have been built with love by a wide array of volunteers, creating a spirit that helps give Wharncliffe Woods its unique identity. Wharncliffe is also home to the likes of 50to01 and Steve Peat, Worldwide mountain bike legend and local hero.

Dialogue has opened between the builders and the Forestry Commission, who are currently adamant of their destruction. However, there is a very real capacity to cooperate productively to address the issues on site, removing liability to retain the facilities for all and work towards legitimisation as official trails. As builders, we apologise humbly for all previous lack of productive discussion, and are willing to work with the FC in any capacity. 

if agreed upon, areas around the trails will need immediate work to satisfy Forestry Commission requirements. This can be achieved through crowdfunding, saving the Forestry Commission the money planned for their removal.

However, right now it is important to show the scale of community backing their retention. So please sign, share and do whatever you can to support the cause!