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Guidance on unauthorised mountain bike trails published

22 November 2018

A new guide tackling the issue of unauthorised mountain bike trails has been unveiled at a national conference.

The document has been published by the National Access Forum at the three-day Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018, which begins today in Aviemore.

The guidance is in response to a growth in the unauthorised construction of mountain bike tracks and features.

These can lead to a range of issues including potential environmental damage and injury to mountain bikers and other users, and also raise liability concerns for land managers due to their duty of care to those on their land. 

While Scotland’s right of responsible access includes cycling, it does not extend to the construction of trails without permission from the land manager.

The guide stresses the importance of dialogue between land managers and bikers in order to find solutions to problems on the ground and makes positive suggestions for the future.

These include the adoption of trails by land managers or agreements with volunteers or mountain bike groups. 

National Access Forum Convenor David Henderson-Howat said: “This guide should provide a useful starting point for land managers and mountain bikers when they sit down together to discuss the potential future for mountain bike trails in the context of their particular circumstances.”

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska added: “Scotland has a fantastic natural environment and we want everyone to be able to share it safely. 

“I’m delighted that this guidance has been produced to ensure that mountain bikers and everyone else enjoying our exceptional outdoor space can use it safely and sustainably. 

“The process of producing this guidance is a great example of everyone recognising the value of Scotland’s wonderful natural resources, the needs of others and the benefits of working together.”