Off-roaders banned from ancient track

Countryside campaigners are cheering the Peak District National Park Authority’s decision to temporarily exclude trail-bikes, quad-bikes and 4x4s from Chapel Gate.

Friends of the Peak District1 has been calling for action to protect the centuries-old public track between Chapel-en-le-Frith and Edale as part of its Take Back the Tracks2 campaign.

Andy Tickle, head of planning and campaigns at Friends of the Peak District, said: “Chapel Gate is a very special ancient packhorse route, but it’s now so devastated with deep ruts and exposed rocks that walkers, cyclists and horse-riders are going up on the adjacent environmentally sensitive land and eroding that too. It really is time something is done, so we welcome the Authority’s decision.”

The National Park Authority has placed an experimental 18 month Traffic Regulation Order on Chapel Gate in order to provide a respite from motorised traffic. It should allow time for the landscape to recover and to monitor the condition of the route through all seasons of the year.

“There is already clear evidence from condition surveys that erosion is a result of motor vehicles – both directly and indirectly – in terms of increased water damage and run-off,” added And. “We would want to see the TRO being made permanent, rather than just experimental so that Chapel Gate is protected for the longer term.”