‘Beyond the Green Belt’ might sound like a leafy wander through the Home Counties but Cycling UK’s campaign briefing document has a more serious message. It is looking at aspects of cycling in the rural environment. The CTC has led the way in gaining rights for cyclists from the use of Royal Parks in 1885 to the right to cycle on bridleways and some long distance country trails in 1968. But, currently only a fifth of public rights of way in England and Wales are available for cycling.
The document says, ‘Look at a map and you’re bound to find paths morphing from bridleway to footpath simply because they’ve crossed the boundary into another county, or other jurisdiction.’
Three local examples –
CASTERTON, bridleway (bw) from 625 785 changes to footpath (fp) at county boundary 625 779
COCKERHAM, bw from 464 522 changes to fp over Berries Head at 474 533
HEST BANK, bw from 472 657 changes to fp at railway 463 654
Any path not recorded on a local authority definitive map by 1 January 2026 will be legally lost to the public. Although this seems a long time in the future we have no idea how long the highway authorities will take to process our submissions and hopefully act on them. Equally we might feel we don’t use off-road routes very often but future generations may be grateful of our efforts as cycling and interests change.
It would be helpful if members could volunteer to spend an evening or two by the fire and search their OS maps (other mapping systems exist) and find other ‘morphing points’ we can forward. The areas we could cover include Lancashire to the Wyre and Bowland, South Lakes towards Kendal and Grange and North Yorks ie Ingleton and Dent. If you are interested drop me an email.
Brian Greenwood Campaign Co-ordinator