Peak District MTB wants to boost the number of bridleways. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Peak District MTB wants to boost the number of bridleways. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mountain bikers in the Peak District have launched a campaign to increase the number of routes available to cyclists.

Peak District MTB, an advocacy group for mountain bikers, wants to see 22 per cent of rights of way in the national park rideable.

It said that is the proportion of national rights of way that are bridleways. In the Peak District, only half that number, 11 per cent, are currently legally open to bikers.

A spokesperson for the group said that equates to just 220km of permissible routes whereas it should be 440km. “To put this into context, there are 2,136km of footpaths in the national park,” the spokesperson said. “Upgrading some of these to bridleway status would still leave 1,916km of rights of way with footpath status.”

Peak District chair Dan Noble said: “When Peak District MTB was first established around five years ago, our core goal was to increase the amount of access available to mountain bikers.

“In that time there have been some notable successes, especially around the fringes of Sheffield through work done by Ride Sheffield and more recently we have had some success on the Roaches and worked with the National Trust at Lyme Park to improve access.

“However, the Peak District national park covers some 1,437 sq km. The park’s northern limits are on the A62 between Huddersfield and Oldham, and its southernmost point is on the A52 road near Ashbourne. In the East it borders the western fringes of Chesterfield and Sheffield and reaches as far west as the outskirts of Macclesfield.

“There is plenty of scope and room to improve the bridleway network.”

Peak District MTB said it hopes others, such as equestrian groups Peak Horsepower and the British Horse Society, will lend support as the expansion of the bridleway network would benefit all users.

The advocacy group has set up an online form on its website where people can suggest routes that would be suitable for upgrading to bridleway status.

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