Thank you to the everyone who came on our Take Back the Tracks rally at Stanage Pole on Saturday. About a hundred people joined us to call on the Peak District National Park Authority to get tough on off-roading.
There were mountain bikers, families with children, dog walkers, and countryside lovers of all ages walking from Redmires and Dennis Knoll and along Long Causeway beneath the iconic Stanage Edge. They came to show their solidarity against 4 x 4s and motor bikes carving up green lanes in the Peak District.
Ironically horse riders who had turned up to show their support had to turn back because Long Causeway is so badly damaged by off-roading. We were filmed by TV and documentary film crews.
The rally focused on Long Causeway, because this is just one of many sites in the Peak District that is being eroded and trashed by off-roading. It is currently legal to drive on Long Causeway, so off-roaders aren’t breaking the law. However – knowingly or not – they are eroding and carving up this green lane.
We want to see the Peak District National Park Authority make it illegal to drive on Long Causeway, and other tracks in sensitive places. Our Take Back the Tracks rally gave people who want to protect the Peak District the opportunity to come together and express these concerns, and to demand that the Peak District National Park Authority takes stronger action.
We held the rally before it meets on Friday 15 July to review its policy about how it manages off-roading in the National Park.
At Stanage Pole, Anne Robinson, Chair of the Campaign for National Parks, sent a rallying cry to the Peak District National Park Authority: "Get tough! Just managing the damage caused by off-roading is not good enough – we don’t want the damage in the first place! We want a pro-active approach not a reactive one. Use all your powers from a total ban to limited access by permit. Stop off-roading on all the routes that can’t sustain use by 4×4 and trail bikes whether or not they are damaged. And you can start with Long Causeway and the Roych.”
Lord Roy Hattersley – former Friends of the Peak District President, and Great Longstone resident – also sent a message of support: “You have my whole-hearted support. Indeed, thanks to the desecration of Chertpit Lane, I doubt if there is anybody from Great Longstone who is not totally behind you. However, we are not in the fight to take back the tracks just to keep life tranquil in our own “back yards”. We are battling to save the park for visitors as well as residents, future generations as well as those of us who are lucky enough to live in the Peak now. Signs are that the Authority is beginning to see sense. Congratulations on keeping up the good work.”
Photo of rally by John Beatty, photo of Anne Robinson by Simon Jacques