Unofficial mountain bike trails at Eastridge Woods 'causing hazards'

Eastridge Woods
Image caption Eastridge Woods, near Snailbeach, is managed by Forestry England

Mountain bike trails created without formal permission are causing problems for walkers and wildlife at a woodland in Shropshire, it is claimed.

Unofficial routes have been dug at Eastridge Woods, near Snailbeach, on land managed by Forestry England.

It has shut the trails, which it said were causing "hazards", and is holding a public meeting on Friday.

Riders said they hoped groups could continue to share the wood, which has a number of officially-made bike trails.

Patrick Marks, from Snailbeach, said the unauthorised "wild" trails had become more of a problem over the past 12 months.

"A farmer has his water supply for his sheep down from the hill and it was diverted by a wild trail," he said.

"Some of the fast downhill tracks cross a footpath through the middle of woods which is used a lot by families and horses.

"There is also the slow destruction of flora and fauna."

He said, despite the routes being closed by Forestry England, they were often reopened.

A Forestry England spokesperson said it had a long-standing relationship with the Eastridge Trail Partnership, a group of local mountain bikers who maintain the woods' official trails.

It said some bikers, either outside the group or not aware of it, had been creating the new, unauthorised trails.

"This has unfortunately caused disturbance, ground erosion, hazards and has impacted negatively on wildlife."

Image copyright Google
Image caption There are a number of official mountain biking trails in the woods

Sandy Plenty, who runs bike shop Trailhead, in Shrewsbury, said: "I think we are very lucky to be on the land, we are very lucky to have access to it and there are lots of good legal trails.

"I really hope the mountain bike community can work with the walking community to make everybody happy."

The meeting is at Snailbeach Village Hall on Friday from 17:30 BST.

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