Last Friday (March 23rd) representatives from Cheltenham & County CC and Bigfoot MBC reached what we considered as a workable riding agreement with Natural England and the forestry manager (representing the landowner) for accessing Buckholt Wood. The attached document provides the details of this agreement including a code of conduct that we request all riders that access this woodland to respect and abide by. The agreement is not a formal signed document but a statement of how the riding community will conduct itself.
It was felt by NE / forestry manager / the landowner that riders should consider contributing to some of the important conservation work that is needed in Buckholt Wood and we will be asking riders to volunteer and assist by helping out at "work parties" during the winter months. Riders have in the past assisted with work parties on Leckhampton Hill and this has been much appreciated by FOLK.
BUCKLE AND CRANHAM WOOD
Please be aware that Buckle and Cranham Woods (owned by Mr and Mrs Tyson) are NOT in this agreement. Tracks in these woods include The Shrine, Spooky Wood etc. CC-CC and BMBC will not be taking official club organised rides through these areas and we urge riders to respect the landowners wishes. If we can engage in access negotiations with them we of course will pursue this but we cannot make any promises on getting a similar agreement in place soon. Since the rider consultation meeting at the Royal William on March 8th and a walk of some of the trails a week later, we did get NE to make some compromises to their original agreement proposals. "Teachers" is now within the agreement, as well as the trail that runs parallel to the small stream at the bottom of it. Additionally it was agreed that we did not need anyone to SIGN an "Access Agreement". The trail known to some as "Bunny Run" we tried hard to get but on this occasion it didn't happen. There is a wider track near to Bunny Run that we have agreement to ride and we will be leaving it to NE to clearly mark this route up so there is no confusion. We hope in time after the landowner gains confidence with our partnership we could approach this again.
WHEN CAN WE RIDE IN BUCKHOLT WOOD?
As from Good Friday (April 6th) riders may access the tracks identified in the agreement. This is just the start of our partnership with the landowner of Buckholt Wood and so we will continue to keep as many local riders informed as possible about issues in this and neighbouring woods. Please take our requests seriously and prove to NE that we are a responsible user group in this woodland. And of course thank you all again for your support in this whole process since it started in October last year. Personally I would like to thank Mike Purnell and Graham Foot from Bigfoot for their time, persistence and great input into the negotiations.