Who we are
We are a group of local residents, walkers and climbers, campaigning to protect two green lanes between Coniston and Little Langdale: one runs from High Oxenfell to Hodge Close, the other from High Tilberthwaite to Bridge End. For decades these were the routes we chose when we wanted to get away from noise and pollution and enjoy the calm and beauty of the National Park. Now they are the favourites of 4x4 drivers and motorbike riders.
In our campaign to return this beautiful part of the Lakes to its original beauty and tranquillity we have the support of farmers along the route, of local councillors, of the four climbing clubs with huts in the area and of over 300,000 people who signed a petition asking for a Traffic Regulation Order to be imposed.
We first raised the alarm about the Hierarchy of Trail Routes (HOTR) in 2000 in the Langdale Valley Newsletter. The HOTR is the scheme the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) established to ‘manage and contain’ motor vehicles on green lanes in the Lake District. It was initiated and devised by motoring groups, without any input by walkers, climbers or cyclists. (See the article by Geoff Wilson and Dave Robinson in Countryside Recreation, p.12.)
We then wrote to the LDNPA in 2005, asking them to stem the influx of motorbikes and 4x4s on these fells. The reply: nothing can be done.
In 2006, the Langdales Society requested a Traffic Regulation Order for these routes. The LDNPA took no action.
In 2014, the National Trust representative reported to the Cumbria Local Access Forum that the farmer at Tilberthwaite was being impacted by the volume of vehicles coming through. No response from the LDNPA.
A further letter in 2015 described in detail the results of a thorough investigation of the two tracks: massive erosion, dismay amongst the farmers on the routes, a degraded landscape.
The LDNPA responded with a mantra-like assertion: the Authority’s ‘overall strategy is one of management and containment through partnership working’, in other words the Hierarchy of Trail Routes. But the HOTR has not only failed to deter recreational motor vehicles, it has actively publicised these lanes to 4x4 and motorbike enthusiasts.
We think this policy contravenes the National Park’s purposes: to conserve the landscape for future generations. The LDNPA now says that, after 17 years of neglect, further investigations need to be carried out, and they hope to reach a decision about a TRO by October 2019.