Dear Robert (robert.greatorex AT derbyshire.gov.uk) and Peter (Peter.White AT derbyshire.gov.uk),
I took part in the Hope Valley Mountain Bike Challenge this September and we were warned at the start of the event that there had been some changes made to a portion of the trail that leads down to Hayfield. Having ridden this route many times I was aware of the need to repair what had become a rutted narrow bridleway.
The reason we were “warned” is because of the way these repairs had been carried out. It seems that Derbyshire CC have seen fit to dump tons of fist sized chunks of granite onto this route. Not large enough to stay put and not small enough to create an even surface, it would seem that DCC have chosen this particular size of rock because of its ability to damage horse’s hooves, turn over walkers’ ankles, whilst remaining impenetrable to wheelchair users.
From a mountain biker’s perspective, riding this bridleway used to be challenging and fun, I would now liken it to riding a pneumatic drill over a carpet of marbles. The ironic result of your “improvements” is that you have made the route unrideable at a safe speed, as going slowly over this surface only makes the experience longer and the bike harder to control.
It seems to me that even the most capable 4×4 would struggle to cope with this terrain. Who are you doing this for? I suspect the answer to this is that you don’t know. You have hired a contractor who has done the work in such a way as to make the most money from the project and there has been no effort to uncover the needs of those who actually use the routes.You have already sanitised Stanage Causeway and I am led to believe that you plan to do the same to Rushup Edge.
You must stop this vandalism. These historic bridleways are part of the fabric of the Peak District and the UK mountain biking scene. They draw tourism from around the country and whatever your opinion of mountain bikers you cannot deny the sport’s contribution to the local economy and individual fitness, both things you are supposed to be promoting at local government level.
You clearly have no idea what a valuable and unique asset you are destroying, the reason for this is that you have not asked for the opinion of those who actually use these bridleways. I urge you to postpone all further work until you have entered into a consultation process with mountain biking groups and other users of the Peaks.
Links to this story:
Chap from 18bikes being interviewed, forward to 1:15
A great letter from Cy at Cotic
Derbyshire County Council Speaks