Take back the tracks
Lake District Green Lanes Alliance
"I don’t believe that 4x4s or motorbikes have any place on fell tracks around the Lake District. I’ve seen the damage they do - and the air, noise and carbon pollution is off the scale.”
Rebecca Willis, Professor in Practice and Senior Research Fellow, University of Lancaster
Protecting the green lanes of the Lake District
"Walking along a green lane, we can be taken into a zone in which centuries become our nearby yesterdays and are so much more entwined within us than we might imagine. As many of us are lucky to know, this also is deeply releasing and tranquil; just the sort of adventure which should be at the heart of a World Heritage landscape." (Terry McCormick, author and historian)
People walk or cycle on the hill and forest tracks of the Lake District because they want to get away from the traffic on tarmac roads. That is why the tranquillity of green lanes (or "unsealed roads") needs must be protected against non-essential motor vehicles, and why UNESCO has requested a halt to 4x4s and motorbikes using green lanes.
The LDNPA gave a welcome response to a crucial question in the recent Defra consultation on protected landscapes:
"Should we legislate to restrict the use of motor vehicles on unsealed unclassified roads for recreational use, subject to appropriate exemptions?"
The LDNPA said:
"Yes – everywhere"
We can only say: thank you!
If you would like a summary of the scientific evidence against driving on green lanes, click here.
Over 385,000 supporters have now signed our petition. A big thank you to all of you!
"They shatter the peace and create anxiety and danger."
In online surveys on the two routes near Little Langdale the LDNPA collected hundreds of responses from walkers and cyclists. The environmental psychologist Dr Ryan Lumber evaluates their comments and comes to a worrying conclusion:
Motor vehicles on unsealed roads (or green lanes) fundamentally undermine people's relationship with the landscape of the Lake District. This is their impact :
• Tranquillity and beauty diminished
• Stresses from city life introduced
• Connection with nature disrupted
• Cultural heritage threatened
• Community of walkers besieged
• Physical danger from motor vehicles on narrow sections
• Feeling of apprehension while walking the route
• Harm caused to the landscape, flora and fauna
The evidence is shocking and conclusive. Motoring on fell tracks transforms the experience of the great majority of visitors and takes away many of the benefits they have come to expect from a walk or cycle ride on these two green lanes.
Read Ryan Lumber's full report here.
"In order to protect the UNESCO-recognised agro-pastoral character of the Lake District, some farming vehicles are no doubt necessary but other uses would not align with the overall integrity and landscape character of the Lake District."
Professor Emily Brady is an environmental philosopher. Although she teaches in Texas, her heart is in the Lake District. She addresses important questions about landscape beauty and the implications of change.
Read our interview here.
All you need to know in 10 seconds. Just listen.
The "Hierarchy of Trail Routes" is the Lake District National Park's answer to green lane driving. Hierarchy of Trail Route signs adorn many green lanes in the Lake District - no other National Park has adopted it. it was devised by off-road motorists. Read here why this voluntary restraint scheme, devised by off-road motorists, solves nothing.
The Judicial Review brought by the Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement (GLEAM) has not been successful. But the judgment does not affect the validity of our central claim, that off-roading on two fell tracks near Little Langdale is environmentally and socially unacceptable.
Although we addressed our open letter to the Members of the Lake District National Park as the body responsible for setting LDNPA strategy and providing leadership and scrutiny, we received a reply from Richard Leafe, the CEO. But we need the Members to look at the way Richard Leafe and his team have shown a persistend pro-offroader bias thorughout this process. So we wrote again to the Members ...
Lake District Green Lanes Alliance
The LDGLA is an alliance for all those who want to protect our historic green lanes for farming access and quiet, non-motorised recreation.
We fully support the National Park's statutory purposes of conserving natural beauty and promoting the enjoyment of its special qualities.
Permitting recreational motor vehicles to colonise the landscape ruins the Lake District for everyone in our diverse and multicultural society.
Recently the focus has very much been on the High Tilberthwaite and High Oxenfell tracks. We are grateful to GLEAM (the Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement) for leading the Judicial Review against the Lake District National Park Authority's decision not to consult on Traffic Regulation Orders. Over £60,000 have been raised to fund it - showing the massive support for this cause in the country. We'll keep you updated about progress.
Green Lanes in the Lake District
Green lanes are unsealed tracks, an important part of the Lake District's cultural heritage. They were made for pedestrian and horse-drawn traffic, not for motor vehicles with pneumatic tyres and propelled through their wheels. According to the LDNPA there are 75 green lanes in the Lake District. Of these 16 are classified as red routes, i.e. "priority management routes with significant use requiring significant monitoring/management". The tracks at Little Langdale, High Nibthwaite, Elterwater, Tarn Hows and Stang End and are just some examples.
The Aims of the Lake District Green Lanes Alliance
We are campaigning for the prohibition of recreational motor vehicles on green lanes in the Lake District National Park:
By arguing that recreational activities in the Lake District should be essentially quiet, non-destructive and non-polluting.
By showing that recreational use of green lanes by 4x4s and motor bikes makes routes unpleasant or impossible for non-vehicle users and causes disruption, inconvenience and distress for farmers.
By encouraging the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria County Council to use their powers to prohibit recreational motor vehicles through Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs). Programmes for the introduction of such orders should be energetically promoted.