Anston Parish Council Considers Ban on Mountain Bikes in Anston Stones

In a move of almost “what foot shall I shoot myself in next” proportions Anston Parish Council decided tonight to move forward to study the possibility of banning bikes (of the push variety) from Anston Stones.

Some Councillors thought the idea ludicrous with at least two confirming they took their bikes there regularly. Others thought the sites SSSI protection (Site of Special Scientific Interest) meant that mountain biking was a form of criminal damage.

Deliberately damaging a SSSI is indeed a criminal offence but the gentle erosion caused by cycling (not to mention walking and horse riding) makes this tenuous at best.

One Councillor expressed surprise that groups of twenty cyclists were using the woods at time and wondered what would happen if such a group ran roughshod over a family group in one of the tunnels.

Cooler heads pointed out that cycling has been going on there for decades and it’s not happened yet (as far as anyone seemed to know)

It transpired that this all came about via an email sent to the clerk. A group of 20 (horror!!) cyclists were recently making their way through the wood and one of them ran out of talent on a tricky descent. An ambulance had some difficulty getting to him and were helped by a local contractor familiar with the layout of the Stones.

This led the Council to ponder whether the woods are suitable for cycling at all and they resolved to go away and fact find before bringing it back to a future meeting.

They also resolved to consider:

  1. Banning fishing in Anston Stones
  2. Banning Dogs from pay areas and playing fields on the rec ground.

This led to further questions about how such bans would be enforced and what could be done about the sheer amount of dog poo littering the local area. As the meeting ground to a halt no one had any answers but they resolved to meet again soon and discuss.

What do you think about banning cycling from the Stones?

Do you ride there? Have you ever sliced a family in half with your front wheel?

What about fishing?

And do you clean up after your dog? If so well done, if not a plague on you and your house!

Please feel free to comment below.


10 thoughts on “Anston Parish Council Considers Ban on Mountain Bikes in Anston Stones

  1. Helen Scriven

    My husband was in the group riding with the unfortunate young man who came a cropper while riding his bike in Anston Stones. Did the other bikers leave him? No…to a man they all stayed and made sure he was well looked after and that the emergency services got yo him. Accidents happen. Isn’t it a good thing that community spirited riders should be able to carry on riding there…those with respect for others. They are not vandals, mindlessly damaging the environment. They are community spirited cyclists promoting a healthier lifestyle and enjoying nature’s finest surroundings. My message to those thinking of banning cyclists from Anston Stones… Get a grip….A handlebar grip!!

    1. Becca

      I don’t think it should be banned at all, it was my brother who broke his collar bone! I think he’d be gutted to know he couldn’t ride his bike there, they all love riding their bikes. They aren’t causing any trouble, I don’t see the issue and people shouldn’t be banned!

  2. Rick King

    Ride through regularly, always always get a friendly reception from other users.
    This really is a non problem, there’s no conflict…unless the council jump in with a knee jerk ban…

  3. Ben Hoyle

    As a part of the 28 “horror” bikers I know exactly what I’m talking about here. We are an organised group that know what we are doing and how to be safe around walkers etc. There are a few idiots around but that’s true with all things. Banning the use of this area seems ridiculous to me. As mountain bikers we could have been in much worse places, it was actually very lucky we weren’t far from a road and we accept that as part of the sport.

  4. Russ Thornton

    More knee jerk reactions from the council! Responsible cyclists will respect the stones but there are those who don’t. I would, however, like to see organised groups of cyclists, or any cyclists come to that, be prepared to work maintaining the quality of the stones and not take them for granted. With regard to fishing – what fishing? What fish? Dog walkers should be ashamed if they don’t clear up after their dogs. Personally I make sure I have the facilities to do so when walking the dog. Make sure hefty fines are imposed if offenders are caught.

  5. christine sadler

    When you say APC do not take that to mean that all cllrs think the same way, there are many differences of opinion at meetings and at Anston usually very vocal. I for one have cycled through the stones many times and have never had any difficulties, if I come off my bike then I will deal with it and do not want a nanny telling me I can’t do it. As for the dog fouling this is a nationwide problem, if owners don’t pick up they will have to be banned, the children are first priority and should be protected.

  6. Colin Tawn

    Cyclists have no right to cycle on footpaths away from the road but only commit an offence where local by-laws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence. Cyclists can ride on bridleways, but not on countryside footpaths. To do so is a civil tort, ie not a criminal matter, the
    landowner has to sue the transgressor for damages.
    I’m not being a killjoy, I’m stating facts.

    The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act) provides for public access on foot to areas of open land comprising mountain, moor, heath, down, and registered common land;
    amends the law relating to public rights of way;
    increases protection for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and strengthens wildlife enforcement legislation; and provides for better management of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
    My main concerns are to preserve the integrity of Anston Stones and make sure nobody else is injured in any way because of the difficulty the Emergency Services have when trying to reach a person who may be immobile.
    No councillor said or expressed the view that cycling in Anston Stones should be banned altogether, we don’t want to stop people cycling but we do want cyclists to be aware of the law and always consider the fragile nature of our SSSI site.(Which I’m sure most cyclists do)

  7. S Thornton

    Since this first came to the attention of the Council, I have heard the Cyclist was in fact riding down a part of the Local Nature Reserve (LNR) called “Spring Mattress”. If this was the case, then he was not riding on the footpath. He was riding on an area of protected grassland. It seems that these “20 odd” cyclists were approaching the woods from the Recreation Ground area. If that is so, then all the 20 odd would have had to either “Jump” the locked steel Gate or “forced” their way through an “A” framed gate, a gate that is designed and put in place to stop cyclists gaining access. It is also Illegal to ride on Public Footpaths.
    Its the truth and I have no doubt that it will hurt, but its the truth, all the 20 Cyclists were acting illegally. And before the “wheelie Warriors” attack me, I too used a cycle to go to work, wind rain an all.
    S Thornton

  8. Michael Edwards

    To those stating the laws. Rights of ways are what they say they are, rights! They do not prohibit anyone on a bike or horse who does not have the right to walk but only preserve the right of way to walk. It’s not an offence to ride a bike on a public footpath unless there is a local bylaw forbidding it. It is a civil matter, and if the landowner/manager allows it then it’s not illegal.
    The type of gates at Anston Stones are not meant to prevent bicycles but rather motorcycles. Just because a bike has to be lifted over a gate doesn’t make it illegal.
    However, the lad who fell off his bike was a very silly boy. The club he was riding with are Rother Valley Riders MTB Club and do rides all over the place so it’s not like they’ll be riding there very often. The club’s main activity is building cycling trails in the Rother Valley Country Park so they are very public spirited and probably do more to keep mountain bikers away from places like Anston Stones by providing an alternative place to ride. They are also a very family orientated club and do lots of rides and coached sessions for local kids.
    Look them up on Facebook, they have over 160 members who are mainly not as silly as the one who fell off and hurt himself.

  9. Andrew kelly

    I myself am the young lad that crashed his bike the other week in Anston Stones, I have just read this article as it came to my attention, I unknowingly rode through the woods with a local mountain biking group unknowingly the area was a sssi. Signs were up not allowing for motored vehicles or rock climbers but nowhere did it say mountain bikers were unpermitted to ride, and being a public bridleway from the canal through Turner wood I ride this route on a regular basis making sure I am observant of the general public. I hope this problem is resolved nicely as I used to study nature conservation and that this is not taken further but just solely results in there being signs put up to deter mountain bikers as with a wood of that scale not every area can be covered.


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