The story of Sheep Skulls is an excellent example of cooperation between mountain bikers and land managers. Recently, some riders have risked a riding ban by ignoring the agreement reached between Ride Sheffield and the Eastern Moors Partnership. Here is a potted history….
Shortly after the Eastern Moors Partnership was set up by the RSPB and National Trust to look after Totley and Big Moors, land manager Danny Udall discovered that mountain bikers were riding on land that included a Scheduled Ancient Monument. This meant that riders were risking a large fine and endangering ancient artefacts. The area concerned was above the wall that constitutes the start of the Sheepskulls run. A keen user of Sheepskulls, Jon Cort, heard through the grapevine that it could become the subject of an outright ban and contacted Danny Udall to see if he could negotiatate a better outcome. It was decided that even though there is no legal right of way, the trail below the wall would remain and riders would in return refrain from riding above the wall. The word was put out through the normal channels and, on the whole, riders demonstrated an admirable level of responsible behaviour. Unfortunately, there were those who failed to hear about the agreement and simply took the wall down. Again the word went out, including through This Is Sheffield with an appeal from well respected local riders like James ‘Swindog’ Swinden.
Since then, there have been occasional incursions onto the area above the wall, which has been rebuilt by mountain bikers a number of times. Danny and the Eastern Moors team have monitored the situation and the trail above the wall has begun to return to nature with the heather reasserting its dominance.
Ride Sheffield has been involved throughout and urge riders to not only adhere to the agreement but also encourage other riders to do so. The Eastern Moors team have opened numerous new trails for mountain bikers and have others in the pipeline. They are incredibly supportive of the mountain biking community and joint efforts to repair damaged trails are ongoing. Let’s repay that by sticking to the agreement.
More details about our ongoing partnership with the Eastern Moors team HERE