Walkers and horse riders have accused mountain bikers of ruining Cardinham woods near Bodmin in Cornwall.
Cardinham is home to the recently opened 12km long Bodmin Beast – a blue-graded, dedicated trail with two red graded extensions – while walkers have four of their own trails. Locals say the influx of mountain bikers has spoiled their enjoyment of the forest and it is claimed some of them are even boycotting it.
The Cornish Guardian reports that walkers have complained to the Foresty Commission and even a local MP about the problem. Lucy Thomlinson, a Cardinham local, said: “A lot of local people are no longer going to the woods because the mountain bikers are ruining their enjoyment. They tear around at excessive speed, and it is no longer safe for people to walk there. They spook horses, litter the woods with their energy drink cans and generally have no regard for others. It is simply no longer a pleasant place to go for a great many people.”
Local riders have quashed the idea on social media claiming that there is no opportunity for “extreme” biking at Cardinham woods and that the bigger problem is walkers encroaching on mountain bike trails. They also highlighted the positive economic impact mountain bikers have had on the area.
The Forestry Comission admitted that conflicts do happen but seemed to fall on the side of mountain bikers. John Ebsary, the area forester, said: “Cardinham Woods is a busy recreation site and with lots of people using the forest for different reasons. We work hard to communicate with all our visitors and encourage everyone to be considerate of other users.We recently made some changes to our Lady Vale trail to alleviate clashes between walkers and cyclists which has made a positive difference.”
It may be easy to snigger at a few do-gooders raising their voices at mountain bikers but trail rights and access are real issues in the mountain bike community – as recently show in California. Remember to keep it considerate out there and if a walker is on your trail kindly point them to an area they are allowed to walk instead.