The discussion on mountain biking use in Friston Forest that took place between the 9 September and the 16 October remains available to view online - the highest rated and most commented upon ideas are easily filtered and viewed.
1. There were 71 individual user accounts contributing to the disussion and this generated 43 ideas, upon which there were 231 comments posted.
2. Using Google Analytics to collect website traffic data over the course of the discussion, we are able to get an impression of the reach of the dialogue.
- There were a total of 1,660 hits on the main discussion page, approximately 800 of them unique. The latter figure is a good indicator of the number of people who followed the conversation while the dialogue was open.
- Of the people who visited the discussion homepage, three quarters (77%) went on to visit other pages within the dialogue, e.g. specific idea pages, indicating a higher level of interest.
- The average time spent on each of the dialogue pages (the homepage and individual idea pages) was 1 minute 49 seconds.
3. For illustrative purposes only we’ve produced a graphical overview of the discussion to provide a simple breakdown of the ideas discussed, the interest groups involved and where the strongest views were expressed.
4. We received 6 written letters from dog walkers predominately using the Litlington Road car park. They voiced concerns over the increased mountain biking activity in the area based on negative confrontations with mountain bikers. These included being frightened by the speed of bikes, concern over their safety and that of their dogs, and in some cases verbal abuse when challenging mountain bikers. All were against any encroachment into the area above the car park which has traditionally been a walkers only zone. Copies of these letters (with personal information removed) are available on request.
Our conclusions and proposed next steps
Our initial summary of the discussion: A Summary & Possible solution, posted on 4 October, received positive support. Having taken on board the additional discussion we built on this and Friston MTB: Conclusions from the discussion sets out our final conclusions and proposed next steps.
The discussion was widely promoted via the following channels
1. This poster was sited around Friston Forest and in Seven Sisters Country Park while the discussion was live.
2. We directly contacted the following groups, notifying them of the discussion when it commenced:
- Mountain bike groups associated with Friston Forest
- Seven Sisters Country Park
- Trail Riders Off Road Trust
- South Downs National Park
- Sussex Wildlife Trust
- East Sussex County Council
5. A link to the dialogue was also included in the Seven Sisters Discovery Pass quarterly e-newsletter which was delivered to the inboxes of 1,331 forest users in the local area.