A comment entitled “A summary and a possible solution” was posted on the dialogue page by the FC on 4th October 2013. This received a positive response and is therefore a good starting point .
Buiding on that summary, more recent comments on the dialogue page, and written responses, I now propose the following solution.
The overriding principle must be that all users of the forest co-exist so that everybody can continue to enjoy the forest environment for their chosen recreational activity – this was a very common thread throughout the dialogue right from the beginning (see idea breakdown pie chart).
On this basis most of the forest could be used for all activities. The desire to have designated mountain bike trails attracted a lot of comment (see idea breakdown chart), however these ideas also have the potential to generate negative feelings and perhaps an alternative is to have guidance as to which trails are most suitable for any given activity, without implying any rights.
In order to make people aware of the type of trail they are using and thereby alerting them to what they may encounter, simple signs or symbols could be installed at the start of the trails. There was a general consensus that signage shouldn’t be overbearing (see idea breakdown chart) so any signage should be sympathetic to that wish whilst still fulfilling its purpose.
At key locations in the forest it may be beneficial to erect some general information posts – location name, grid references and general directions to car parks and emergency information could be included.
Warning signs where mountain bike trails cross footpaths, bridleways and forest roads would also be useful as this is an area of potential conflict/collision. A further step from this would be the installation of gateways or thresholds to control speed prior to crossing these other paths.
To reflect the changes arising from this discussion and to address the confusion of the Jeremy Cole trail (the FC’s red mountain bike trail), new signs should replace the existing signs in the car parks. The signs could also include information on codes of conduct for different users of the forest or the standard of trails one can find in the forest.
Existing mountain bike trails will need to be maintained to an agreed standard to ensure they don’t pose an unnecessary risk to those using them. The details of this standard of trail construction and maintenance would obviously need to be agreed with Friston MTB as the assumption is that Friston MTB would be key implementers of this task. The FC should be involved to avoid any conflict with operations, conservation or heritage features and general forest management.
Proposed next steps:
|Proposal||By who||Target date|
||Meet with Friston cycling groups to discuss options for formulating an agreement that sets out future working arrangements which will facilitate their direct input into the cycling provision in Friston Forest.||FC – Ian Bromley||31 Jan 14|
||Meet with Friston cycling groups to discuss existing cycling trails and features, and consider new possibilities.||FC – Ian Bromley||31 Jan 14|
||If necessary, consult with appropriate visitor groups, formulate and agree a plan depicting proposed areas and trails to be designated for mountain bike use.||FC – Ian Bromley||28 Feb 14|
||Discuss the proposals with individuals and groups that requested that we ‘keep in touch’ during the Friston Forest mountain bike discussion||FC – Ian Bromley||31 Mar 14|
||Commence the FC/Friston MTB group agreement and implement the agreed plan||Friston MTB group & FC||1 Apr 14|