Ashdown Forest is the largest public access site (2,500 hectares) in the South East. It is the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
We perfectly understand that our countryside definitely does need to be preserved and protected, and we of course are not saying that everyone with a mountain bike should be able to ride wherever they like. But is seems that because of a few so called "conservators" that are so concerned about thier own agendas, they have forgotten that places like the forest IS common land and access was once granted to all.
Below is the exact text taken from the Ashdown Forest Conservators website.
"Can I ride my mountain-bike over the Forest?
No; the Conservators have decided that mountain-biking is an activity incompatible with maintaining the Forest as a quiet and natural area. (You can ride your bike along the Forest Way cycle route at Forest Row or at Deersleap Park, East Grinstead)."
If you read the text above, it actually denotes that "the conservators" have decided about the rules regarding riding on the forest, not the government.
As responsible adults who like to live a healthy lifestyle and have a passion for riding, we think that organisations like the Ashdown Forest Conservators should be encouraging outdoor sports, especially as this would appeal to all ages of the family. Even the Forestry Commission and National trust are realising that mountain biking is not only a popular way of raising revenue, but also raises public awareness of preservation in Areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The international mountain biking association (MBNA) have a collection of studies that have been conducted in the reaction to mountain biking erosion and natural environment implications, the conclusion was:
"A body of empirical, scientific studies now indicates that mountain biking is no more damaging than other forms of recreation, including hiking. Thus, managers who prohibit bicycle use (while allowing hiking or equestrian use) based on impacts to trails, soils, wildlife, or vegetation are acting without sound, scientific backing".
If you would like to contact the so called conservators of Ashdown Forest click below:
Or put your comments in writing to:
The Ashdown Forest Centre