Cycling UK ‘s ‘Get On My Land’ campaign is asking the public to support its call on government to provide funding for farmers who make it easier for cyclists to use their land.
The charity has also suggested public funding should not be provided to farmers and landowners who neglect their existing duty to keep rights of way, such as footpaths and bridleways, open and in a fit state.
These suggestions from Cycling UK form part of its forthcoming response to the Department for Food and Rural Affair’s consultation, ‘The future for food, farming and the environment.’
“We are located near a national trail, part of which cyclists have access to and which runs along the outskirts of Denbies, meaning both cyclists and walkers frequently come through our farm,” said Jeanette Simpson of Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking, Surrey.
“So, if the Government were to link farming subsides to improvements and maintenance of the rights of way through our property, then we’d definitely welcome more visitors!”
“As the Government reconsiders how it will support our farmers in the years ahead, they’re presented with the golden opportunity not just to help our vibrant and important agriculture sector, but also to increase people’s enjoyment of our beloved countryside,” added Cycling UK head of campaigns and advocacy Duncan Dollimore.
“Providing funding to improve our footpaths and bridleways will benefit all farmers great and small, and will ensure our future generations can learn and appreciate the importance of preserving this vital green space.
“Cycling UK sees increasing public access, particularly in the creation or restoration of connected routes as a public good, which farmers, visitors and local communities can benefit from and enjoy.”
“In England and Wales we’re at the mercy of our archaic and inconsistent rights of way classification,” added Dollimore. “One moment you’re on a bridleway and then a boundary is crossed and you’re on a footpath – all for no good reason. It’s confusing, and Cycling UK wants this to change – so people cycling can enjoy continuous legal routes.”