Self-built mtb features removed to protect capercaillie

removed ramps 2 

Forest Enterprise Scotland staff in Aberdeenshire are warning mountain bikers not to self-build trail features – which could harm wildlife and be a health and safety risk.

The call comes as local FES staff today went to Pannanich Forest on upper Deeside to dismantle some ramps and berms constructed by local mountain bikers.

The FES team had been notified about the features by RSPB Scotland, which raised concerns about the impact of such activity at an important breeding site for capercailllie.

Neil Taylor, Communities and Recreation Ranger for the FES team in Moray and Aberdeenshire, said;

“RSPB staff were in the forest prior to doing a lecking survey and contacted us when they found the ramps.

“We put out notices warning against self-building and we removed the structures because they were not only a cause of disturbance to wildlife but they were also a serious risk to the health and wellbeing of the mountain bikers themselves.

“The people who build these sorts of amateur structures have no proper awareness of the safety elements that are a paramount priority on authorised trails designed and built by specialists.

“We will always remove self-build ramps and berms. We don’t want young mountain bikers finding out the hard way that they are not indestructible.”

Gareth Marshall, RSPB Scotland’s Capercaillie Project Officer, said:

“Capercaillie are one of Scotland’s most threatened birds and areas of woodland in Strathspey and on Deeside are some of their last remaining refuges.

“It’s generally the case that people don’t realise that these iconic, endangered birds are there, or that they are incredibly vulnerable to disturbance. The popularity of these areas with mountain bikers is therefore an increasing issue that could render the capercaillie’s last refuges uninhabitable. 

“I would ask all bikers to stick to official trails and pay attention to signs.”

Forestry Enterprise Scotland is happy to work with properly constituted groups to develop sustainable mountain bike trails but this is a long process and has to take environmental considerations into account.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code promotes the right of responsible access and does not permit the unauthorised construction of mountain biking features.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of the Forestry Commission and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  3. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  4. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.