Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Paths of Bygone Days

Some routes on Blacka have still not been discovered by bikers.

This reminds us that hundreds of paths in the area used to be very similar to this, genuine walkers paths that never got past a basic level of erosion if it can be called that; some might describe it as a benign compression that remained much the same from one year, even one decade, to the next.

The hope that this one (below) would remain the same - much as it was when I first walked it and continued for nearly 30 years - has long since gone.

This is one of the stretches that has held up best to date but close looking reveals a steady decline following increased biking and a lack of regrowth of surface grasses. Meanwhile other sections of the same path further along have developed deep ruts and then serious widening even deltas. Once it becomes obvious that bikers are ignoring the 'walkers only' signs as it already has, then it becomes open season for others even horse riders.

We will then finish up with similar ugly repairs to those carried out on the Devils Elbow and the Wimble Holm Hill bridleways, changing their appearance permanently and for the worse but with the advantage for the managers that it gives them something to claim credit for  in their reports which is why they do nothing to prevent the situation developing.


I've been told that an item appeared on a BBC TV programme that I never watch called Countryfile recently in which there were scenes of Wimble Holm Hill. I understand it concerned the repair of footpaths in which case it will have been about the bridleway I've posted pictures of.  My informant tells me it was presented as if the bikers were not the cause of the erosion. It wouldn't surprise me at all. There's been a coordinated propaganda campaign not just from bikers groups but also from land managers like those of EMP and SMP.  They are adept at using press releases as you have to be if you spend your time excusing the indefensible. The true situation speaks for itself but only to those who actually see it. Press releases and propaganda are addressed to those who have no first hand knowledge.

Before the bridleway repair you could hardly make out the path when looking up from the north. Now it looks like this:

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