Enough is enough!
At least it is for most users of the moor.
Most people who visit Crompton Moor leave nothing but footprints on a rainy day. Many people leave the moor better than they found it by picking up litter and putting it in the bins provided.
There is however, one section of the community that plagues the moor and has repeatedly demonstrated their lack of respect for this shared space and resource.
I was looking recently at a map dated 1885 that clearly shows this wall standing well over a hundred years ago. Many of the walls on Crompton Moor date back to the General Enclosures act of 1845, some may even pre date that.
They have stood through fire and flood, wars and industrial revolution but never have they suffered as much as the past few years when they have been indiscriminately torn down by mountain bike riders for materials to build ramps on their illegal trails.
Here we can see logs used to lever out the stones near to a section of track that seems to be being constantly rebuilt and upgraded.
It does not seem to be enough that there are already close to twenty ramps and seven trails built through this plantation alone, they want even more.
The earth used for this construction is quarried from holes in the woods often leaving trees dangerously undermined.
Litter is left lying everywhere that the construction continues or it is buried in the ramps and holes themselves, only to reappear when a ramp is later knocked down and rebuilt bigger than before.
North West Riders say they have an “agreement” with the Rangers.
“Our agreement with the Rangers in order to keep the existing track until such time that a new one was professionally built was that no walls would be damaged, no trees cut down, no litter left and that no new building would happen.”
Nobody has yet been able to tell me who actually made this agreement and what authority they had to do so.
Even if this agreement is legitimate, which I doubt, it is being flagrantly broken by the bike riders on an almost daily basis.
The council’s response to this illegal activity is to say that they cannot control it, so they propose to give the cyclists exactly what they want.
History has demonstrated many times before that “appeasement” never actually works. Give people like this what they want and they will simply come back for more.
What assurances do we have that a purpose built track will stop this kind of building on other parts of the moor? None whatsoever.
NWR repeatedly state that they cannot control the actions of other riders and this is obviously true. However, if that is the case, how can we expect this situation to change once new track have been built.
The truth is it’s likely to get worse. If “official” tracks are put in it will inevitably attract more riders and that will include more of the rogue elements that are currently so “out of control”
The continuing existence of the unofficial trails simply serves to encourage yet more trail building in a process that never ends and is destroying the wild character of the woods and moorland.
It saddens me to say this, as I genuinel believe there is room for everyone on the moor, but I can now see only one way that this destruction will ever end. The illegal tracks must go.
If the tracks are completely removed and a zero tolerance approach to new building is adopted by the council, then these rogue builders will have to go somewhere else and take their wanton destruction with them.
We have no objection to cyclists riding on the designated bridle ways but the destructive and illegal building of ramps has to stop.
If the mountain bikers insist on turning the moor into a wasteland, then give them some existing wasteland somewhere else to build on. Crompton Moor is far too important an environment to be treated this way.
The current “arrangement” is not working and “appeasement” is certainly not the best way forward. There is a very good reason that governments the World over refuse to negotiate with terrorists, it is a really bad idea to reward destructive and illegal activity.
Let us see some real proof that the mountain bikers can act responsibly and honour their agreements. We want to see some solid evidence that these rogue builders can be controlled and made accountable for their actions before we will even entertain the idea of building official trails and attracting more of them.
Alternatively you could ask the ghost of Neville Chamberlain where the policy of “appeasement” leads.
Post Script: At the last CMUG committee meeting I asked what the so called “agreement” was? Who made it? and what authority they had to do so? The response from the rangers is that there is no such “agreement” and never has been. The response from the NWR representative was that they are no longer “officially” riding the trail. They are no longer “officially” maintaining the trail and that they were now staying away from it all until an official trail could be built.
A recent reply to some of our concerns from Greater Manchester, Merseyside & Cheshire Health and Safety Executive said.
“The cycle jumps are built unauthorised any which are deemed unsuitable will be dismantled the council are at present seeking further solutions to manage these trials in a safe and sustainable manner.”
So the question I have to ask now is: Why is the illegal trail still there?
Contact the Rangers on 0161 620 8202 (Strineside Centre) or 0161 627 2608 (Tandlehill) Other contact details
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