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Wild trails removed from Setmurthy Woods

Updated 19th June 2019

On 18 June Forestry England removed dangerous and unauthorised mountain bike trails at Setmurthy Woods in Allerdale. 

Setmurthy Woods is a beautiful woodland managed by Forestry England, and is enjoyed by walkers, runners, horse riders, schools, nature enthusiasts and mountain bikers alike.

Forestry England has supported mountain biking trails at Setmurthy for many years, and we appreciate that trails are much loved by the mountain biking community. However, as mountain bikers have been looking for new and more challenging bike routes there has been an increase in the number of mountain bike trails constructed without permission from land managers including Forestry England. 

This has resulted in damage to the natural environment and led to numerous complaints about damage to trees and woodland. It has created dangerous hazards for which Forestry England could be held liable if any injuries were suffered by forest users. On these grounds alone we had a duty to remove the wild trail in question.

Adrian Jones, Forestry England Recreation and Business Manager, North Lakes and West Cumbria said: “Wild trails that are not part of our authorised mountain bike trail network will be actively closed and rehabilitated to protect public safety, mitigate visitor risk and to protect the environmental and cultural heritage values consistent with our legislative responsibilities. We have a duty of care to remove trails that we consider are a risk.

“Forestry England in Cumbria is taking a zero tolerance approach from today – all unauthorised trails have been removed. They are inherently dangerous to inexperienced riders who may inadvertently stray on to the course. The features are not of a type that we are prepared to accept because the consequence of serious injury - or worse.”

“We offer a fantastic network of purpose-built mountain bike trails where people can unplug and recharge in the outdoors, connect with nature and enjoy mountain biking.  We also have a large events programme at Whinlatter and Grizedale Forests that allow mountain bikers to get involved in exciting events and competitions. Whinlatter has four biking trails, including the Altura trail – the longest purpose built single track bike trail in the Lake District, and the new Gorse cycle trail which opened on 1 March 2019.”

Forestry England will continue to manage Setmurthy Woods to ensure it is an enjoyable and safe place for everybody.