Farmers and rural groups have raised concerns calls from British Cycling to open up more access across rural Britain could bring even more problems for those who live and work in the countryside.
British Cycling has written an open letter to Environment Secretary Liz Truss and Welsh Environment Secretary Lesley Griffiths asking for similar access to the countryside in England and Wales as that in Scotland.
“Due to archaic public access and rights of way laws, it is currently illegal for people on bikes to access most of the countryside in England and Wales,” the letter said.
“While national and local government work on putting cycle lanes in place across our towns and cities, countryside paths are fantastic, free alternatives which could be enjoyed responsibly by mountain bikers and families alike.”
But Ann Scott, of Intrusive Footpaths, which supports farmers and landowners in right of way disputes, said its members already had major issues with dog attacks on livestock and dog fouling, without the added pressure of cyclists riding across their land.
She said: “The whole system needs a proper overhaul. The countryside will soon be a giant leisure park and the working countryside obsolete. Everyone seems to want to live and earn big bucks in the city, eat too much, then use the country for their leisure and ‘get fit’.”