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Offroading and fighting a losing battle


sparg
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Having just had a run-in with an extremely bigoted and foul mouthed runner (and I had two 13 year old lads in the car - still, they've probably heard that language before), I was thinking... - I'd pulled to a stop to let him past as it was quite muddy - and received an offensive hand signal and "f**k you" as an acknowledgement. But actually, I think his basic point might have been sound - I'd got half-way along the ol' Roman road just SW of Sheffield - and it was in a terrible state - damn near unwalkable. And it had indeed been dug up by earlier 4WD visitors, who obviously found it hard going because of the meltwater. It's a delicate environment indeed, and when it's soggy, it's hard to avoid ripping the ground apart. I drove out carefully, and decided not to revisit 'till it's a lot drier.

Now, whilst walkers have far more mileage of footpath than we do carriageway, so they can hardly be allowed to assume they own the countryside, one landrover used carelessly can do more damage than a hundred walkers. In this particular case, I wouldn't have travelled the road if I'd realised what a state it was in half-way along (which admittedly I might have been able to work out if I'd stopped to think about it some more).

Eventually, I reckon we're going to need some kind of open/closed indicator at each end of many green lanes (like swiss mountain passes) and some online system to check with before one sets off.

thoughts?

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Having just had a run-in with an extremely bigoted and foul mouthed runner (and I had two 13 year old lads in the car - still, they've probably heard that language before), I was thinking... - I'd pulled to a stop to let him past as it was quite muddy - and received an offensive hand signal and "f**k you" as an acknowledgement. But actually, I think his basic point might have been sound - I'd got half-way along the ol' Roman road just SW of Sheffield - and it was in a terrible state - damn near unwalkable. And it had indeed been dug up by earlier 4WD visitors, who obviously found it hard going because of the meltwater. It's a delicate environment indeed, and when it's soggy, it's hard to avoid ripping the ground apart. I drove out carefully, and decided not to revisit 'till it's a lot drier.

Now, whilst walkers have far more mileage of footpath than we do carriageway, so they can hardly be allowed to assume they own the countryside, one landrover used carelessly can do more damage than a hundred walkers. In this particular case, I wouldn't have travelled the road if I'd realised what a state it was in half-way along (which admittedly I might have been able to work out if I'd stopped to think about it some more).

Eventually, I reckon we're going to need some kind of open/closed indicator at each end of many green lanes (like swiss mountain passes) and some online system to check with before one sets off.

thoughts?

According to the Snowdonia National Park website (to take a random popular bit of the countryside)

"Millions and millions of feet walk along the paths of Snowdonia every year. Every year millions and millions of feet wear down (erode) the paths."

I suspect this damage costs milllions of pounds to fix/repair, yet walkers seem to think it is their God given right to cause this damage and have someone (I am not sure who, but possibly charities/taxpayers/europe) pay for it. Maybe if we got a little of this cash our green lanes would not be in such a terrible state.

Don't get me wrong - I am not defending any idiot who damages the environment either willfully or through ignorance but to suggest every landie driver is a menace to the countryside is wrong.

How would they like it if we suggested rambling should be banned because every walker is a firestarting, litterbug with a sheep worrying dog.

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cant you ring the local council and ask them weather it is open or not?

I think that the OP was referring to some voluntary arrangement based on ground conditions, not whether the situation had got bad enough for the LA to put a TRO in place.

It would be a nice idea but I fear it would be ignored or even used to find muddy lanes by some people. It would also need someone to go out and make a judgement on each lane and to maintain and update a website. Nice idea, sadly not workable IMHO. :(

Chris

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Having just had a run-in with an extremely bigoted and foul mouthed runner .........

And thats the problem. You / we are never going to win over closed minded sad little ***** who are legends in their own minds.

I always tend to be friendly, and polite whenever I meet others be they runners, Mbikers, Horses or even ramblers, most are just as polite back, a few, a very few are not,......Those few tend to then hear exactly what I think of their attitude, arrogance and sad narrow bigoted rude views

To coin that fine phrase "You can't polish a T*rd" so don't try - but 99% of the time politeness and a smile and what you did IS appreacited by those with a brain and not an agenda

Nige

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I do think you have a point sparq - sometime in the interest of preserving what we have and not ripping up already vulnerable areas - a system which updates on a daily basis, providing users with road and surface conditions/information would be a great idea.

I'm guessing it would have to be a private endeavour though, perhaps getting GPS involved and some enthusiastic volunteers or community members (runners, mountain bikers and walkers could also be involved and also benefit from this service)...

Sounds like a pretty cool business opportunity right there!!

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Just say to them, why do they walk/run down the middle of a road when you do not drive on foot paths?

As above most are fine to take to and some you could talk to till you can not speak any more and it would do no good.

You could get a group of people togeather and offer to do some work on repairing the lane?

Paul

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From bitter experience in the Yorkshire Dales NP I'd suggest that the last thing you want to do is start pointing out lanes that need repair or a temporary closure. It won't take very long at all for someone to use that as "evidence" that the lane should be closed for good.

For decades we've been pussy footing around limiting numbers in groups, following codes of conduct, worrying about possible damage to lanes etc... and what has it achieved ? It's achieved absolutely b***er all. In return for our efforts we've been handed down closures and nothing in the way of compromise. The ramblers and mountain bikes have destroyed a path, no worries, we'll helicopter in supplies to repair it so they don't get their feet muddy. A 4x4 has left a tyre print, no problem, close the road.

Frankly I no longer give a f**k what impression I give to other RoW users because those other users stopped worrying about my rights years ago. Nothing we can do will stop lanes being closed and nothing we can do will keep them open. LARA tried their best but sadly our other representative groups were far too busy threatening each other with legal action to focus on doing anything to fight closures. I'm always polite to other RoW users but I don't worry myself about their view on whether or not I should be there any more.

If a route is drivable, even if that means using a winch, drive it and enjoy it while you can. If other users get aggro ignore them or film them and post them on youtube so everyone can see how they behave.

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oooooh Dave - thats naughty! But kind of true to.

although i dont agree with the extreme of winching and purposeful damage of driving a very poorly maintained or waterlogged greenlane, i do with agree with the rest of your points.

I think although we have a responsibility to be mindful of the damage we make to lanes, and to drive considerately to protect the environment of the lane - we should not be completely pistol whipped into being afraid to engage difflock!

I love stanage, burbage and some of the other lanes in derbyshire - and i regularly drive whats left of the lanes in Yorkshire. Many of them require difflock/low box and some require a bit of right foot and committment to get up! All good enjoyable fun. yes i am sure i count towards the errosion of the lane, but thats why i pay road tax, council tax, vat, income tax, stamp duty, fuel duty, [insert all the other taxes here] and the lanes should be maintained! And I'll be damned if i'm going to let some lefty liberal looney townie do-gooder tell me to f*ck off whilst driving a perfectly legal vehicular right of way!

We have access to roughly 3% of the unsealed network and yet we do not get 3% of the national maintanence budget for the unsealed network! Also we do get ANY of the budget for road maintanence! Cycle paths and bridlepaths received almost 80% of the maintanence budget in 2007, the rest went to canals and footpaths (found that out whilst a member of wakefield ROW forum).

The vast majority of people i meet are friendly enough and happy to stop and have a chat. Those that arent get spoken to in exactly the same way they speak to me, I aint a big scary mountain of a man, but i can express my displeasure very eloquently and more often than not they go away with their tail between their legs.

Sod them all, drive your lanes and enjoy! We WILL lose all our lanes no matter what we do, its only a matter of time. So while we have them - use them!

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I don't consider winching to be extreme, a winch is just a way of covering the ground while keeping damage to a minimum. I'd rather use a winch than try and drive a bad section assuming there's a suitable anchor point or I was certain that a pin anchor would hold.

One of the lanes we used to drive before it was closed had a "mandatory" winch and waffle board section over an area of bog. We could get 3 vehicles over the 20 yard section of bog and you'd be hard pressed to tell we'd crossed it 30 mins after. Using momentum rather than a winch would have resulted in big holes and mud flung everywhere. The bog wouldn't be there at all had the route not had a raised section put in by the council for the ramblers that blocked off the drainage. (It was so the ramblers didn't have to walk through a puddle caused by a natural spring, the "contractors" decided that putting a row of wooden posts across the head of the natural drainage channel for the spring and back filling it with compacted soil would resolve the issue).

That was a lane we drove annually and nearly every year the land owner would come out and watch and if there were any trees getting in our way he'd cut them back for us with a chain saw. We were normally the only vehicles he saw drive the lane each year and was always happy to see us drive it and give us a hand to keep it open.

Hmm, I don't think this thread does us any good in an open forum, really helps the other RoW users cause, well done.

Show me a piece of evidence that shows where the 4x4 community "showing restraint" has led to a right of way staying open or a ramblers group supporting our right to use a right of way. We could, frankly, be using rights of way to save baby seals from being clubbed to death and the other user groups would still be demanding our rights are removed.

The lanes will all be closed eventually anyway, better to enjoy them now than sit on a forum metaphorically wringing your hands about how it looks to people who have no regard whatsoever for your rights or opinions. I regret not using the lanes we had in this area more regularly but I always took the view that if it was too wet or we'd damage a lane we'd turn back and let it rest and as a result probably only went laning a third of the times I could have. In return for restraint, repairing lanes, clearing fallen trees, repairing walls, limiting group sizes, helping lost ramblers find their way, transporting tired and injured ramblers to the nearest town/village, keeping as "low impact" as possible nearly every lane I have driven is no longer a right of way as a result of people who at no point gave a f**k about my views or rights.

It's a few years since I last drove a byway myself but those that do still enjoy it should be encouraged to do so while they still can. Don't feel guilty for upholding your right to drive and don't let the rambler drones "win" by stopping you driving them before they can legally close them.

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well, I think we have to talk, either collectively or individually, with other ROW users. Obviously, there's just no point in arguing with bigots - they just are that way in whatever argument they're having (technically, they tend to be people who score highly on "Rokeach's Dogmatism Scale"). Equally, we shouldn't be guilty of the same thing - in other words, we shouldn't assume that all walkers are grumpy just because the last one we met was.

I quite like one suggestion which was that we chip in, in some way, toward some basic repair strategy for some routes. I know that might not be popular, but when you look at what you spend on a car, with winches, special tyres, rollcage, etc - a couple of quid's worth of something whenever you use an ROW wouldn't be the end of the world. Some boggy areas might ust require some limestone chippings, or whatever, to prevent wheel churning in key places.

I wonder if that is what it will come to, eventually...

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just had a barmy idea - we could, collectively (in some way...)accept subcontract work for some basic maintenance of key areas - my bet is that we could do it more cost-effectively than the local council, and it could give us some 'ownership' in that other users could hardly complain if we're actually helping to make the route more passable. there are many pitfalls, but in principle, I wouldn't mind a bit of graft every now and then...

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My favourite analogy for democracy goes something like...

"Democracy is a pack of wolves and a sheep sat around a table trying to agree what to eat for dinner"

We are the sheep, trying to negotiate our way out of the inevitable. We can buy them all vegetarian lasagne today but will that help us tomorrow ?

Councils already get paid by us via taxes to maintain rights of way but they choose not to spend it. In the same way as our "road tax" and fuel duty goes into funding almost anything except the roads and public transport I fear that some sort of "toll" would simply lead to that money being used to fund the legal bills for implementing a TRO.

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just had a barmy idea - we could, collectively (in some way...)accept subcontract work for some basic maintenance of key areas - my bet is that we could do it more cost-effectively than the local council, and it could give us some 'ownership' in that other users could hardly complain if we're actually helping to make the route more passable. there are many pitfalls, but in principle, I wouldn't mind a bit of graft every now and then...

What you are suggesting has already been put in place by the likes of GLASS, CRAG and LARA.

I've helped out on a couple of lane clearance days with GLASS in the past and they have been hard graft, but good fun.

CRAG seem to have been very active maintaining lanes, especially around Wales, while GLASS and LARA seem to be in court quite a lot these days.

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i have a problem with some people ,i have a right ofway through my field for these walkers and i fenced it for them as the exercisers think they can go any where.My lad rides his mx bike in the next field and they look at him in disgust i have even had them get ****y with me for doing what i want on my land so i say f,,k them ,one day they will cross me in a moody then get dropped....one even knocked on our door for a rag as he got dung on his boot

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How about we all get rooftop signs made, saying something like ROW survey, or ROW rescue, something like that. a couple of orange spinning lights (they don't have to be wired up). Could even go on the offensive and use a clipboard, interview people along the road about their usage habits - even accept complaints about other users. Look official.

(just seen a nice old white lwb safari for sale at Calver - that could look nicely official)

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How about we all get rooftop signs made, saying something like ROW survey, or ROW rescue, something like that. a couple of orange spinning lights (they don't have to be wired up). Could even go on the offensive and use a clipboard, interview people along the road about their usage habits - even accept complaints about other users. Look official.

(just seen a nice old white lwb safari for sale at Calver - that could look nicely official)

How about some of those Highway Maintenance stickers to accompany the spinny light? Maybe we should wear hi-vis jackets to help with the authorative look :lol:

Agree with Rick about looking like you own the place/work there.

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and i fenced it for them as the exercisers think they can go any where.

I think they are legally permitted to go anywhere, something about the right to roam as set by the gov. Better yet, you're liable should they hurt themselves on your land. :(

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I think they are legally permitted to go anywhere, something about the right to roam as set by the gov. Better yet, you're liable should they hurt themselves on your land. :(

I think right to roam only applies to certain areas, certainly not on someones private land other than within the limits of any RoW running across it.

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