At the start of the year Scottish Land & Estates and Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) presented a joint paper to the National Access Forum (NAF) on the emergent construction of unauthorised mountain bike trails and the impact these can have on land management practices and the environment.
Following the presentation of this paper a site visit organised by FCS was undertaken this week by members of NAF to further discuss this subject and to look at examples of unauthorised mountain bike trail building in the Tweed Valley. The consequential impacts of these unauthorised trails on forestry and wildlife management operations and their impact on the environment was discussed at length as too was the subject of occupier’s liability and health & safety with regards to who is responsible for these trails once they are discovered by the landowner.
The site visit highlighted the expanding nature of unauthorised mountain bike trail building not just in the Tweed Valley but across Scotland, with case studies being presented for other regions. There is a clear need to address this growing ‘trend’ in construction of unauthorised trails/structures and it is anticipated that a working-group will be established at the next NAF meeting to take forward work on addressing this.