Cyclists to have heads in the Cloud on new routes
CYCLISTS are on Cloud nine as new routes through beautiful local countryside will be opened up to them this winter.
The National Trust has given a licence to the newly-formed Congleton Mountain Biking Club to ride on specially-created trails around The Bosley Cloud, Timbersbrook on the Staffordshire Moorlands and Cheshire border.
Together they will be creating cycle routes that will help to prevent damage and erosion while allowing club members to carry out the outdoor activities they enjoy.
Trust ranger Tim Ryan said: “We want people to enjoy the outdoors and to encourage different groups to feel the countryside is relevant and important to them.
“Cyclists have been using The Cloud even though it is not currently permitted so this will allow us to better manage their access and protect the heath from erosion.
“It will be safer for walkers to have a licenced mountain biking club using agreed routes rather than unmanaged cyclists using the paths.”
Talks between the National Trust and club members have been ongoing for several months about the best way to licence cycling on The Cloud.
Together they have developed a Code of Conduct and trail etiquette, which includes slowing down and giving way to walkers at all times.
New mountain biking routes will be clearly marked on signs at access points and also where they cross a pedestrian path. Trails will be designed to slow down riders as they reach pedestrian areas.
As part of the licence agreement, Congleton Mountain Biking Club have committed to an agreed number of volunteering hours to help maintain the routes and to work on other conservation priorities.
Cyclists will wear a colour-coded ‘In Case of Emergency’ (ICE) sticker on the back of their helmets to identify them as club members. The colour of the sticker will change annually.
Councillor Suzie Akers Smith, Congleton’s Town Mayor, welcomed the move.
She said: “The Congleton Mountain Biking Club and the National Trust have shown that working in partnership can benefit everyone, not just one particular group.
“For many people cycling is easier than walking and with the limited amount of mountain biking areas, Bosley Cloud is a perfect place for cyclists to enjoy a hobby they love, cycling in forests over undulating terrain.”
Congleton Mountain Biking Club is expected to be cycling on The Cloud from this winter.
If you feel a member of the club has put you at risk on the Cloud, or that someone who is not a member of the club is using the trails, please call the Cheshire Countryside team on 01625 584412 or email – with an image if possible – cheshirecountry[email protected]tionaltrust.org.uk
National Trust ranger Tim Ryan with Congleton’s Town Mayor Suzie Akers, along with Martin Amies and Dan Critchlow of Congleton Mountain Biking Club.