Riding in the Wild
One of our favourite local land managers has recently contacted us about trail building in a very sensitive area on a local nature reserve. Ride Sheffield understands that there is a serious urge to increase the number of trails in the Peak District but we ask everyone to think very carefully before they start creating a new run.
Are people aware of the different conservation designations ? Does everyone realise how crucial our nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are? There are places locally that are even more important than SSSI’s, such as Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas. Could we do more to alert people to the importance of these conservation areas? Ride Sheffield is all about mountain biking, it’s in our DNA but we also love the places we ride.
Nature is under threat and one of the joys of being in the great outdoors is engaging with the natural world. Lots of places within the Peak District and Sheffield City region are important habitats. Many are being carefully managed in order to encourage threatened species to thrive. Even outside those areas that have a conservation designation, we still need to be careful because habitats are constantly under threat from urbanisation and overuse. If we’re riding on existing trails, our impact on wildlife is minimal, in fact, much less than some other user groups.
However, if we stray into those areas that are being managed in a very specific way, we can have a negative effect. Over the years, Ride Sheffield has built a great relationship with numerous local land managers who take a very positive view of mountain biking. They’ve grown to respect the mountain bike community and dealt with contentious issues like Sheepskulls in an even-handed way. With the help of our supporters, we’ve maintained trails allowing the land managers to concentrate on the important stuff, nature conservation.
So it’s important, and generally a given, that mountain bikers understand the importance of nature conservation. We know that the vast majority of mountain bikers care about where they ride and we’d urge them to chat whenever possible to fellow riders and spread the word. We’re lucky to live in such a wonderful place and it needs looking after.
If you want to know more, the following two links are a good place to start –