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22 November, 2018

Guidance on unauthorised mountain bike trails published

Guidance on unauthorised mountain bike trails published: Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018


A new guide tackling the issue of unauthorised mountain bike trails has been unveiled at a national conference.

The document has been published by the National Access Forum at the three-day Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018, which begins today in Aviemore.

The guidance is in response to a growth in the unauthorised construction of mountain bike tracks and features.

These can lead to a range of issues including potential environmental damage and injury to mountain bikers and other users, and also raise liability concerns for land managers due to their duty of care to those on their land. 

While Scotland’s right of responsible access includes cycling, it does not extend to the construction of trails without permission from the land manager.

The guide stresses the importance of dialogue between land managers and bikers in order to find solutions to problems on the ground and makes positive suggestions for the future.

These include the adoption of trails by land managers or agreements with volunteers or mountain bike groups. 

National Access Forum Convenor David Henderson-Howat said: “This guide should provide a useful starting point for land managers and mountain bikers when they sit down together to discuss the potential future for mountain bike trails in the context of their particular circumstances.”

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska added: “Scotland has a fantastic natural environment and we want everyone to be able to share it safely. 

“I’m delighted that this guidance has been produced to ensure that mountain bikers and everyone else enjoying our exceptional outdoor space can use it safely and sustainably. 

“The process of producing this guidance is a great example of everyone recognising the value of Scotland’s wonderful natural resources, the needs of others and the benefits of working together.”


For interviews please contact Colena Cotter at Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland on 07960 271 566 or

Contact information

SNH Media

Notes to editors

Copies of the guidance are available on request. For more information about the conference see

The guide includes information on liability, risk assessment and insurance, together with case studies showcasing successful partnerships between land managers and bikers in different parts of Scotland.  Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland will also maintain a publicly accessible on-line database with examples of lease agreements, volunteer agreements, insurance and related risk assessment requirements, volunteer inspection agreements and sign templates.

Members of the National Access Forum, including representatives from Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and local authorities, worked with Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland to develop the guidance. As part of this process they held open meetings that were attended by over one hundred stakeholders, including mountain bikers and land managers, in different parts of Scotland. 

The National Access Forum (NAF) was established by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to advise on national issues linked to Scottish access rights. The NAF complements the work of local access forums, which advise on and help to resolve local access issues. Its members include representatives from recreational bodies, land management bodies and relevant public bodies. To find out more about the NAF please contact the Secretary, Janice Winning, at

Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland is a partnership project, hosted within Scottish Cycling, which is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the world's first national strategic framework for mountain biking in Scotland. To find out more about Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland please contact the Project Manager, Graeme McLean, at 

Scottish Natural Heritage is Scotland's nature agency. We work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. So that all nature in Scotland - our key habitats and landscapes, all our green space and our native species - is maintained, enhanced and brings us benefits. It is the job of all of us to achieve a balance in the sensitive management of our natural world in order to maintain and enhance biodiversity. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

'S e Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Tha sinn ag obair airson ar n-àrainneachd nàdarra ann an Alba a thoirt am feabhas agus a h-uile duine a bhrosnachadh gus barrachd cùraim a ghabhail dhi. Gus am bi an nàdar air fad ann an Alba – ar prìomh àrainnean is chruthan-tìre, ar n-àiteachan uaine gu lèir is ar gnèithean dùthchasach - air an gleidheadh, air an leasachadh 's a' toirt bhuannachdan dhuinn. 'S e an dleastanas a th' oirnn uile co-chothrom ann an stiùireadh faiceallach ar saoghail nàdarra a ruighinn airson bith-iomadachd a ghleidheadh 's a leasachadh. Airson an tuilleadh fios, tadhail air an làraich-lìn againn aig no lean air Twitter sinn aig


Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018

Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018

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