One way to protect lane

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COUNTRYSIDE campaigners have cautiously welcomed steps to protect a damaged green lane in the heart of the Peak District.

Signs are being put up at the Roych, an unsurfaced road near Rushup Edge, Chapel-en-le-Frith, asking trail-bikers and 4x4 drivers to voluntarily head only one way (west) on the route from March 5. They are also being asked to keep to a Code of Respect.

The action is being taken after users started straying ‘off-road’ onto farmland to avoid steep and narrow sections of the track.

With 600 vehicles or trail-bikes using the route every month, 85 per cent of them at weekends, the Roych is suffering an increasing problem of erosion.

Peak District National Park Authority Rights of Way Manager Mike Rhodes said: “A voluntary one-way system will mean that drivers and riders will be less tempted to trespass onto farmland where they are damaging fencing and causing ruts.”

The Friends of the Peak District, which has been running its Take Back the Tracks campaign to stop irresponsible off-roaders, praised the authority for listening to local concerns.

But John King, planning officer for the group, added: “We’re sceptical about how effective these voluntary arrangements will be. We’ll be watching how things go, and if this doesn’t work then some more serious restrictions will have to be put in place.”

The national park authority has had more than 500 responses to a public consultation on a proposed 18-month closure of the nearby Chapel Gate track, which is also being damaged by erosion.

A decision on this is expected in the next few weeks.