"The rare commodity of silence is ever present, broken only by bird song or the rustling of leaves in the wind. All this could soon be a distant memory, the LDNPA has appointed a Trails Manager in a Hierarchy of Trails experiment; .... one wonders how much the traffic will proliferate."
Langdale Valley News, published in 2000
The wilful destruction of one of the loveliest places in Lakeland
Some of us have lived here all our lives, and for the sheep farmers among us this land is our livelihood. Others just love walking in this area between Coniston and Little Langdale, described by Wainwright as 'scenically one of the loveliest in Lakeland'.
This land was left to the National Trust and the nation by Beatrix Potter. In 1930 the Chairman of the National Trust wrote in The Times that of all the pieces of land the NT had acquired ‘not one of them ... was better worth saving than this glorious stretch of mountain, moor and tarn.’
But today your walks are likely to be spoiled by convoys of 4x4s and groups of noisy trail bikes. Tracks that were not made for motor vehicles have been churned up, in places three feet deep down to the bedrock. They have become impassable for farm vehicles, horse riders and off-road wheelchairs. (click here here for a map of the area and here for the legal status of the tracks).
This YouTube video shows individual 4x4 drivers with a commercial convoy in the background
The National Park Authority has enabled a massive influx of recreational off-road vehicles on these green lanes
It is now flatly refusing to listen to the voices of residents, walkers, climbers, cyclists and horseriders to hold a consultation on a Traffic Regulation Order
The National Park Authority's blatant neglect
Because of the policies of the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), traffic on the routes has increased massively: in 2002-4 the Tilberthwaite track was used by 30 4x4s a month on average. This rose to 163 a month in 20017/18, a more than 5-fold increase, with the number of motorbikes increasing to around 88 a month. The vehicles cross two National Trust farms, High Oxenfell and High Tilberthwaite. Life on these sheep farms is hard enough at the best of times; the off-road invasion makes it even more difficult. One of the farming families wrote an open letter in June 2017, saying they might have to give up the tenancy because of the volume of recreational 4x4s. They have now done so (see latest news below).
It is the National Park Authority's responsibility to look after this stunningly beautiful landscape. More than 260,000 people have now signed a petition asking the CEO of the National Park Authority, Richard Leafe, to start proceedings for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), closing these green lanes to recreational motor vehicles.
If you feel that this very special part of the Lakes must be preserved, send an email to Richard.Leafe@lakedistrict.gov.uk and ask for an immediate consultation on a Traffic Regulation Order.
All this land is National Trust land, and the farms are National Trust farms. So what is the National Trust doing about this abomination?