In England and Wales we have over 140,000 miles of public rights of way, such as footpaths and bridleways.
They form one of our most valuable rural resources, developed in some cases over thousands of years, and are open to everyone, so long as you’re walking.
However, head off-road by bike or on a horse and you’ll soon find yourself limited in where you can ride by a confusing array of archaic laws which block off close to 80 per cent of the network.
There is a legal right to cycle on bridleways and byways, but these make up only 22% of the rights of way network in England and Wales and are often fragmented, making it difficult to put together a route avoiding busy roads.
It’s time our rights of way were based on suitability, not historic designation as footpath or bridleway.
Just imagine what cycling in the countryside would be like if cyclists...
- could ride on some of the 80% of the network they can't use now in England and Wales;
- were able to access more of the National Trails;
- could enjoy recreational rides which linked cycle-friendly quiet roads to rights of way;
- were welcomed to National Parks which appreciated the benefits of promoting cycling.