Who are the Trail Action Group
The Trail Action Group – TAG has been set up by a group of local mountain bikers that would like to retain mountain bike access on Minstry of Defence (MoD) land and are concerned about the potential for loss of this access due to both the disruption to army manoeuvres and environmental impact.
The reason that we have formed TAG is because we, and we hope you, wish to continue to be able to use these areas to ride bikes.
What will TAG do?
TAG’s principle aim is to work with the MoD and conservation bodies to ensure that responsible use of MoD land can continue. We will achieve this by:
- Engaging with the relevant bodies and providing a voice of advocacy for continued recreational cycling use.
- Working with wider mountain biking community to introduce a Code of Conduct that supports the needs of both the environment and the MoD and will allow continued use of the land for mountain biking.
- Maintaining the mountain biking trail network and working with conservation bodies to minimise the environmental impact of mountain biking.
Why is this necessary?
Many people may not know that much of the MoD land in the Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire border areas is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and in some cases Special Protection Areas (SPA’s). These are National and European protection statuses and as such their standing is taken extremely seriously.
MoD land has long been used and taken for granted by the public, however, its main use is for military training and we need to respect and realise that this is its prime function.
Public access to any of this land that is not a marked right of way is a privilege not a right.
The key mountain biking issues seen by both the MoD and conservation bodies are:
- Mountain bikers riding through training exercises without regard to soldiers and the activities being undertaken;
- Mountain bikers riding through highly sensitive, protected habitats causing damage and disturbance to wildlife;
- Riders becoming abusive and obstructive when asked to leave active training areas; and
- Areas being dug up and trees cut down to make jumps and features without regard for safety, the land or the habitat it provides.
If the current situation continues we are under a very real threat of losing our access to this fantastic area of land as riders continue to ignore the land owner’s wishes and the privilege they provide us.
TAG is working with the MoD and Conservation Groups to ensure we can continue to enjoy the local MoD land into the future, and ensure mountain biking is seen as a model, legitimate recreational group. Moreover we are aiming to be able to maintain and build sustainable trails that do not impact on the conservation requirements of the areas or the MoD’s ability to effectively train their personnel.
For more information or to register your interest in TAG please contact – firstname.lastname@example.org