Position Statement: Mountain Biking

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Mountain biking has seen a huge increase in popularity over the years making the Surrey Hills one of the most popular areas for mountain biking in the country. ​ It provides many people with a healthy means to enjoy the countryside and support our local economy.

Many people will be surprised to know that there are no trail-centre style promoted routes in the Surrey Hills and neither are there any landowner agreements in place for mountain bike trails.

Building trails without a landowner’s consent is illegal. People who build unauthorised trails may be liable for any harm to those using the trail or where the trail is hazardous to other users – we often see trails that are built with limited knowledge of how this might affect other forest users, the harm it can cause to our sensitive wildlife and the damage it can do to important archaeological sites.

Code of Conduct for Mountain Bikers:

Do not build unauthorised trails.

You have an established right to ride on Bridleways, Restricted Byways, Byways Open to All traffic and most other routes displayed as ‘ORPA’ (other routes with public access) on Ordnance Survey Maps. In addition to this, some landowners also allow wider levels of responsible access on a permissive basis.​

We share the Surrey Hills with other users and nature, so please:

Protect Nature

  • Protect the environment: Think about the impact of your journey. Ride from home where possible, or consider public transport and car-sharing options
  • Protect wildlife: Be aware of the potential impact of public access on sensitive ecosystems, plants and animals. Take extra care during the breeding season
  • Leave no trace: Leave gates as you find them, take all litter home and guard against fires.

Respect the Trails

  • Be prepared: Know your access rights. Know where you are and where you are heading. Ride within your limitations, wear a helmet, and carry appropriate equipment for the duration of your ride and likely weather conditions
  • Ride appropriately for the trail and conditions: Avoid wet, boggy or soft ground and don’t churn up the surface. Avoid skidding or cutting corners. Some trails are vulnerable to damage, particularly in winter months, so please consider using alternative, more sustainable, routes.
  • Put something back: Consider joining a local group to share trail information and improve access locally. Remember no new trail building.

Enjoy Responsibly

  • Be Nice – Say Hi: Moderate your speed and give an audible greeting when approaching other users. Give way to walkers and horse riders and be prepared to stop if necessary. Always leave plenty of room when passing.
  • Context is key: Appropriate riding styles for Public Rights of Way and other shared user trails are different to those at trail centres, modify your riding style to match your surroundings.
  • Be considerate: Think about the people who live and work where you ride. Avoid busy areas at peak times, park considerately, act responsibly and support local businesses.