Public Meeting 8pm Wed 17th September St. John’s Hall, Cove

PUBLIC MEETING: As you may be aware it’s recently become apparent that recreational cycling access to the local MoD lands is under threat. The Trail Action Group (TAG) are holding a public meeting on the 17th September to discuss responsible use of this land and what local cyclists’ next steps should be. Please attend and let your voice be heard!

Where: St John’s Hall, 14 St John’s Road, Cove, Farnborough, GU14 9RQ
When: Wed 17th September 8pm for prompt 8:15pm start

Church Crookham Meeting

It was good to see so many passionate mtbers at the meeting in Church Crookham with the Army last night, whilst the atmosphere did get a little spikey at one point, lots of moderate voices were head and I hope it will act as a wakeup call to the powers that be at the MoD and they will now engage with MTB groups such as TAG.

My main takeaways from the meeting were:

  • The MoD have had legal advice that if they’re ever asked they must reply “cycling off metalled tracks is illegal under the 1976 byelaws and the definition of a metalled track is a tarmac road such as Bourley Road”
  • Whilst they have to repeat the party line, they did say they would be enforcing it by requesting riders to move on. If the rider was disruptive “again and again” then a ‘warning off notice’ would be issued, if it happened again, another ‘warning off notice’ would be issued but it’d be up to the police to do anything more (they share the notices with the police)
  • The primary objective of the meeting from the MoD point of view was to warn the local population about increased use by troops following the return of guys from Germany (27k in total, presumably not all coming to Aldershot) and more importantly there will be several new battalions in the locale who will have very large military vehicles
  • They were particularly worried that their trainee drivers would be driving badly in 29 ton Mastiff vehicles with poor visibility and flatten a cyclist / dog walker
  • The main impacted area will be the driving training area in Long Valley that is likely to see improved fences etc and enforcement (to be honest this area isn’t that great for MTBing)
  • The Army are restricted as to which areas they can use as they’ve given a fair amount up to developers as ‘SANGS’ (when they build houses they have to provide green space proportionate to the residents) and they can’t use the red flag areas if shooting is going on
  • There is a consultation on the byelaws that will happen in due course but they couldn’t tell us when or the route by which our views can be made known
  • They are considering ideas about how they manage public access – zoning was mentioned. They will appreciate they will need to consult on these following last night.
  • Whatever they think about mtbers it’s nothing compared with how much they dislike dog poo!
  • 140 mtbers turning up made an impression (some good some bad!) on the MoD and they’re probably puzzling about how they deal with the issue

TAG has got the Lt Col.’s email address and we’ll be trying to engage him directly about a way forward (if nothing else to show him some singletrack so he knows what he is dealing with). We’ll obviously keep everyone informed and we’d welcome hearing from anyone who wants to be engaged.

Finally I’d like to ask all local riders to read the Code of Conduct that is on the TAG website – if we all follow this we will be able to reduce conflict to a minimum and hopefully avoid draconian measures.

Ewan (TAG Chair)

www.trailactiongroup.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/trailactiongroup

Hi everyone,

As you may be aware 6 months ago TAG wrote a position paper setting out what we saw as the potential management options for MTBing on MoD land around Aldershot. We did this primarily to set our cards out on the table and to better understand MoD’s official position.

We have now had a response from MoD which is attached to the bottom of this post. As you will see, whilst it is not a wholly negative response, it does not significantly move the discussion towards sustainable use of MoD land by MTBers.

So, what are the next steps for TAG – there are three areas we intend to pursue:

  • Continue to be available to the MoD if and when they decide they wish to engage with the MTB users.
  • Provide information to MTBers of any news or information that will encourage sustainable use of the land, for example by promoting the Code of Conduct
  • Act as a key lobby group when the Aldershot Military Lands Byelaw review is undertaken to formally provide submissions advocating legal recognition of cyclist use of the land beyond the current restriction to byeways and made up roads.

Whilst TAG appreciates this isn’t great news, we will continue to pursue the above areas with vigour. We would of course welcome any feedback from MTBers on the position paper and MOD’s response.

Thank you for your support,

TAG

Mountain Biking on the Aldershot Military Land

DIO Response to TAG Paper

 

Cycling ban on Hankley Common

TAG is disappointed to hear that the MoD has decided to issue a ban on cycling on Hankley Common. Full details can be found at the link below and we urge mountain bikers to follow the following advice if you meet a patrol or LandMarc agent:

  • They have the right to stop you
  • Be polite regardless of provocation
  • If asked to leave the area, then do so (don’t just go round the corner as this is likely to provoke them)
  • If you have an incident at a specific location then don’t return to that location as repeat offending is most likely to result in confiscation
  • If property confiscation occurs then ensure you see their accreditation (military ID or LandMarc ID)
  • Notify TAG and your local councillor of any incident as soon as possible
  • Remember that everyone including the military read the websites, so think about what you post

http://www.surreycommunity.info/elsteadnews/hankley-common/cycling-ban/

We will continue to press for the MoD to recognise mountain biking use of the Aldershot Military Lands – please note that the situation is slightly different on Hankley Common in that the byelaws only allow cycling on bridleways rather than bridleways and fireroads as on the Aldershot Military Lands.

EDIT: Please note, that riding on the bridleways is still permitted.

Riding on military land

When riding on the Defence Estates training areas it is important to be aware of the byelaws that apply to cyclists and how this might affect you. The following is TAG’s considered advice to everyone using the military land for cycling. Please do not mistake the following as legal advice – it is not.

The byelaws mean that it is legal for any member of the Armed Forces (with military ID and of NCO rank or above) or the MoD land managers (LandMarc) to request that you leave the training area; this is at their discretion. There are no rules for this, so if they say go, you go or face the consequences. So if this does happen then leave with good grace and ride somewhere else that day.

Ultimately, the above officers have the right to seize your treasured bike and take it into custody for subsequent crushing. You have no right of appeal or compensation if this happens so don’t escalate any confrontation forcing them to take this step. Generally, any enforcement patrol will start with a warning and then escalate it only if you continue to offend in the same training area.

Should the worst happen, they are required to provide you with a ‘Warning Off’ notice in writing and confirmation that they have confiscated your bike.

Enforcement patrols for the training areas can occur at any time night or day.

So, if you do meet a patrol or LandMarc agent, please remember:

  • They have the right to stop you
  • Be polite regardless of provocation
  • If asked to leave the area, then do so (don’t just go round the corner as this is likely to provoke them)
  • If you have an incident at a specific location then don’t return to that location as repeat offending is most likely to result in confiscation
  • If property confiscation occurs then ensure you see their accreditation (military ID or LandMarc ID)
  • Notify TAG and your local councillor of any incident as soon as possible
  • Remember that everyone including the military read the websites, so think about what you post

TAG day – 28th Jan – thanks to everyone!

Well done to the T.A.G. trail workers. When 10am dawned on Saturday morning and there were only 5 people at the meet point I must say I was worried that we had lost your enthusiasm. But lo and behold within 10 minutes another fifteen people had appeared and the final turnout for the day was a record twenty two people and a few assorted children of various sizes.

The weather was generous and stayed dry for the day, although woolly underwear was a good idea as it was a bit nippy in the woods. The team split into two work parties and set off for a day of tidying up in the area of Bunker Buster where winter rain had created some erosion problems.

Everyone pitched in and the path culverts were cleared out including some incredibly smelly bits (well Stan swore it was the drains). One trail that had got very muddy was re-routed to more stable ground and the old route closed off.

The tea break was greatly improved by the cake donations from Jo and others.

Where the route crossed ground that was inherently very wet, some low level boardwalk was installed to stop any further erosion while protecting the drainage.

We finished off at lunchtime with a visit to the Tweseldown pub to refresh adults and children alike.

A big thank you to everyone who came along including…

The ‘A’ team – Bob, Dave and Lee (great skills guys)
Dave B, Ned & Lucia, Stan L, Wheezy Steve , Lesley, Jo F and family, Pants and small
Pants, John, Bazz , Irish Rich and Family and dog, Ewan, Jo M (hope your shoes dried out)
Mike ,Kate , Rachy and family, Gayle, Simon(Sandy Hill) and son.

Well done all!

Trail Maintenance Day Saturday 28th January

On Saturday 28th January we’ll be at Caesar’s Camp doing a variety of tasks including general trail maintenance and fitting a couple of bridges. Please come and get involved – you’ll need clothes you don’t mind getting dirty in and garden tools (including bow saws if you have one). Special request for long nails / screws if you have any!

Meeting point: The fire road gate near to the junction of the B3013 and the A287 – you’ll be able to park on the fire road (http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=482104&Y=149678&A=Y&Z=115)

Time: 10am