U5051 from High Nibthwaite to Parkamoor

 

Cumbria County Council made a traffic regulation order (TRO) on this route and its continuation in Grizedale Forest in 2000, at the request of the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA). The LDNPA says on its website that this TRO is discretionary and that it works with the County Council to decide when it is activated. But the authorities have not activated the TRO for many years.

 

This is despite continued erosion to the route, which makes sections of it very difficult to walk. Motor vehicles have gone off the route in places, widening it or otherwise damaging the moorland vegetation. The most recent survey for the County Council’s Hierarchy of Trails Routes, carried out by the Trail Riders Fellowship in 2016, says that “the steep sections are so badly affected by wash out so that farmers can no longer access their land” and that “Damage where motorcycles have gone off road plus eroded material carried down by water is having an effect on” the adjacent site of special scientific interest (Dodgson Wood) and on the common land over which the route runs.

 

The route is attractive to recreational motor vehicle users because of the challenge of the eroded sections and because of the view of Coniston Water and adjacent fells available from the upper part of the route. The vehicle logger figures collected by LDNPA from the 4 years commencing December 2003 reflect this attractiveness. They show that there was no decrease in recreational motor vehicle use of this route when it became a cul-de-sac for motor vehicles in May 2006 when the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act extinguished possible motor vehicle rights over its bridleway continuation towards Grizedale Forest.

 

Although the overall numbers of motor vehicles did not change between the beginning and end of the period logged by the LDNPA, the balance between 4x4s and motorcycles changed over these 4 years. 4x4s increased from 11.2 per week in 2003/4 to 20.3 per week in 2006/7, but motorcycles decreased from 29.6 per week in 2003/4 to 20.5 motorcycles per week in 2006/7. Recent eyewitness reports from residents suggest a much higher usage: on 20th January 2020 at least 7 4x4s and 10 motorbikes used this track.

 

But there are tarmac roads which provide similar attractive views of lakes and fells for motorists e.g. around Derwent Water and Windermere. Use of the High Nibthwaite to Parkamoor route by recreational motorists, by contrast, makes it difficult or impossible for non-motorised users to use and to appreciate the

views.

National Parks are the lungs of the nation.

contact: highoxenfell@gmail.com

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