Mountain biking and cycling on our land
The National Survey for Wales (2017) showed that 9.1% of people in Wales participated in off-road cycling and mountain biking during 2016/17. Natural Resource Wales (NRW) provides a range of mountain biking and cycling opportunities across the country. Recognising the contribution to visitors’ health and well-being, we want to encourage these activities on NRW managed land and have outlined, here, how we can achieve this.
- Individuals - Cycling and mountain biking (including Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle)
- Groups - Cycle clubs and informal groups
- Commercial groups - Guided rides and coaching
- Events - Downhill, gravity enduro, enduro, cross country racing, gravel bikes, cyclo-cross
Here, we explain the types of events and activities on NRW managed land involving bikes or electric assisted bikes. This includes:
Where you can go without needing our permission
Individuals and groups are legally allowed to use Bridleways, Restricted Byways, Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs). NRW also allows individuals and groups to cycle on forest roads in the Welsh Government Woodland Estate. On NRW managed land, you’ll also find many permissive mountain biking tracks and waymarked routes, which are managed as single use trails. You can find these routes on our website https://naturalresources.wales/?lang=en or at www.mbwales.com.
When you’ll need permission from us
- Events and commercial groups always need permission to use our land.
- If you’d like to build anything on our land, you’ll always need our permission. However, we only give this permission in specific circumstances and as part of a longer-term management agreement.
How we support mountain biking and cycling
- We will follow our Guiding Principles for community involvement with land that we manage.
- We publish a Cycling Code and encourage NRW managed land to be shared, so that everyone can benefit from it.
- We work with user groups to provide waymarked mountain biking and cycling routes, where it meets with our site objectives.
- We allow mountain biking and cycling events or commercial activities when we consider the site can sustain the event, socially and environmentally, and are happy it will be managed to the right standard of quality and safety.
- We deal with unauthorised built features and ‘wild trails’ in line with our organisational procedures.
What you’ll need to do
- Follow the Countryside Code, the Trail Users Code and our Cycling Code at all times.
- Refrain from building anything unless you have our permission. Creating unregulated ‘wild trails’ and self-build features can impact access routes and boundaries, and may be hazardous to other users.
- Respect other users on our land. Irresponsible or antisocial behaviour on shared routes can lead to conflict with other users and could potentially be a risk to public safety. Give way to walkers and people on horseback when on shared routes.
- Adhere to all our signs NRW land is often a working environment and failure to follow safety signs can be dangerous for both the rider and the land manager.
- Follow our Keep It Clean guidelines to prevent the spread of invasive species and cause biosecurity threats. This is especially important where routes go through waterbodies or muddy areas.
- Take care not to cause erosion or to damage vegetation, particularly in sensitive areas such as ancient semi-natural woodland, sand dunes and marsh habitats. Intensive use can also damage trail surfaces, making them impassable to other people.
- Be careful not to disturb animals. They are particularly vulnerable during the breeding season and in winter. Night riding in particular may affect wildlife, as it takes place when sites aren’t usually used by people.
- Ensure that coaches and guides are sufficiently trained and insured.
- If you’re organising an event, please give us sufficient waring and don’t publicise dates and locations until confirmed with us. Follow national governing body rules and best practice guidance and taking down signs/notices after the event has taken place.
- Make sure that electric bikes comply with Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle regulations.
- Avoid using trails set aside for other user groups e.g. walking or horse riding
How you can apply for permission
It will normally take up to 12 weeks to assess an application and complete an internal consultation. This will make sure that your activity or event can be carried out safely without affecting others who are using or working on our land.
Who to contact for more information
If you’d like further information, you can find out more using the following links: