Trails For Wales – update

Remember Trails For Wales? If you are wondering where it got to and what’s next, read on.

It doesn’t seem like two-and-a-half years since OpenMTB joined forces with CyclingUK (with support from British Cycling), to generate the largest response to a consultation paper the Welsh Government has ever seen. But it is. And while all may have seemed quiet for a while, a lot’s been going on beneath the surface.

Tom Hutton
Tom Hutton

So we’re pretty stoked to announce that on Monday, OpenMTB’s Tom Hutton took part in the first of a series of meetings that will draw up the exact shape of the proposed Welsh Access Reforms, along with Duncan Dollimore and Kieron Foster from CyclingUK.

It will work a bit like this.

Firstly the changes have been broken down into three separate areas. The first dealing with changes to CRoW (Countryside Right of Way) Access Land. The second concerned with Flexibility on Public Paths, and the third will be charged with communicating these changes (and other access issues) to the public.

All three areas could have very positive outcomes for mountain bikers/mountain bike access.

As announced in Summer 2019, there is definitely an appetite for change. What needs to be decided is the detail.

To flesh these out, three expert groups have been formed – with an overall steering group that will act as an umbrella to ensure consistency.

The expert groups, each consisting of 12 members plus a chair and secretariat, are made up of an equal mix of recreational users, landowners/managers and public sector workers. And through Tom, Kieron and Duncan, we’re pretty psyched to have a seat on each table – giving mountain biking/cycling representation equal to the Ramblers Association and the British Horse Society.

View from Snowdon
See any trails you fancy riding?

We’re also pretty lucky to have Adrian Walls, fellow MTBer, Downhill Commisionare and Rights of Way Officer at Denbighshire Council, sitting on the steering group.

A timescale has been drawn up. The final proposals from these groups should be finalised by July 2021, with changes then going through the processes required to make them law.

So it just remains for us to wish the fellas luck in the long meetings ahead (we know they’d rather be out riding their bikes). And to promise to keep everybody updated as things progress.

Watch this space.

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