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Ledbury riders test new Restricted Byway laws

Ancient highways could become Restricted Byways

Possibly the first test of the new Restricted Byway regulations, introduced as part of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill, will soon be made by riders from Ledbury in Herefordshire. Members of the town’s Cycle Forum are assembling evidence of bike use of the old pack horse route from Ledbury towards Worcester and researching old maps and documents with the aim of claiming the route as a Restricted Byway.

The new rules give cyclists the ability to claim trails as Restricted Byways (accessible to bikes, horses, carriages and walkers but not motor vehicles) based on evidence os 20 years of bike use without challenge – similar to the way in which horse riders can claim trails as bridleways. The new powers were introduced as part of the NERC bill largely thanks to the efforts of CTC, which carried out an extensive campaign.

With any luck the Ledbury case will demonstrate the effectiveness of the new legislation and, if successful, should ease the way for future claims.

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