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Rider Rights Hotline EXCLUSIVE

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Save Our Forests

* Once woodland has been sold, the public will no longer have any automatic "right to roam" on the land

* The "right to roam" laws do not include riding

* Selling public woodland will dramatically reduce riders' rights to ride, force more and more riders on to increasingly dangerous roads and even force many riders to stop riding altogether.

Saving our forests is seeing the wood for the trees

Ramblers welcomes rethink on England's forests

Says the Ramblers Association

Says the Ramblers AssociationThe Ramblers welcomes government moves to scrap the consultation on the future of England's Forests but cautions that the campaign to save the woodland walk is not over.

In Caroline Spelman's statement, she apologised for the government's approach and announced that following discussions with the Ramblers, environmental charities and responses from the public, the consultation will end and instead an independent panel - 'with access at its heart' - will be set up to debate the future of England's woodland.

The Ramblers welcomed the news and the government's admission that a 'fresh approach' was needed but also emphasised its commitment to protect and enhance access to England's forests and that the campaign to protect the woodland walk would continue. The charity looks forward to the details of the panel and working with government to ensure that access to England's woodland is secured.

Tom Franklin, Ramblers Chief Executive, said:

"We welcome today's announcement to drop the current forest sell-off plans and start afresh in thinking about the future of our woodland.

"The Ramblers called for the consultation to be changed and for the clauses relating to the Forestry Commission to the removed from the Public Bodies Bill and we are pleased that our requests were listened to.

"We call on government to protect, maintain and increase access to all our nation's woodlands and our campaign to save the woodland walk will continue.

"As the walking experts, we are looking forward to engaging with the government to ensure that access to our forests is protected now and always."

The Government can't cedar wood for the trees !

Who's right ?

Steve Yalland or The Ramblers?

Say The Ramblers on their web-site,

Say The Ramblers on their web-site,"How wide should a path be?
The path should be whatever width was dedicated for public use. This width may have arisen through usage, or by formal agreement, or by order, for example if the path has been diverted. The width may be recorded in the statement accompanying the definitive map (see Q3) but in many cases the proper width will be a matter of past practice on that particular path (see also Q18 and Q20). Note the width of the right of way itself may be greater, or sometimes less, than the width of any track or hard-surfaced strip along the route."

" Is it illegal to plough up or disturb the surface of a path so as to make it inconvenient to use? Yes, unless the path is a footpath or bridleway running across a field as opposed to running alongside the field boundary. In this case the landowner can plough or otherwise disturb the path surface provided it is not reasonably convenient to avoid doing so. The path must be restored within 24 hours of the disturbance, or within two weeks if this is the first such disturbance for a particular crop. The restored path must be reasonably convenient to use, have a minimum width of 1m for a footpath or 2m for a bridleway, or the legal width if known, and its line must be clearly apparent on the ground."

Says Steve Yalland

Says Steve YallandIt poses the question to me -does grazing and thus collateral footpath damage constitute "otherwise disturb footpaths"? The aim of the law appears to be the avoidance of obstructions to legal access. Cattle stop access frequently wet conditions where 'pinch points'exist and the current 'lust' for HLS grazing appears to discount the clearance of 'pinch points' whilst increasing the risk of turning footpaths into impassable mires!

If I am correct the implications are enormous.

Have your say.
Who do you think is right, The Ramblers or Steve Yalland? Send us your views here

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