The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was the focus of a recent visit by Chairman of Surrey County Council, David Munro. Mr Munro took time out of his busy schedule to find out more about the work of the Surrey Hills AONB Board to conserve and enhance the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He was also made aware of the problems to do with managing the many visitor pressures on popular areas like Leith Hill, where work has been underway on a new mountain bike trail, a first of its kind for Surrey.
Cyclists are having a major impact on the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The popularity of mountain biking through the woods and commons of the greensand hills, with new paths being carved out around the existing network of foot and bridlepaths, has created tension with landowners and other leisure users.
To proactively manage the impact and ensure that all user groups are able to enjoy the Surrey Hills without spoiling it for each other, the Surrey Hills AONB Board has co-ordinated the creation of a new Mountain Bike trail named ‘Summer Lightning’ on Leith Hill. This new trail offers bikers a segregated route on which to enjoy Mountain Biking in the Surrey Hills which reduces the conflict with other users and protects the wildlife of the commons.
Cyclists are being encouraged to support their work by donating to the Surrey Hills Trust Fund and help to maintain the new trail and extend the network. The Fund has been established in partnership with the Community Foundation for Surrey and promotes local giving for local need, encouraging those who live in and enjoy the Surrey Hills to preserve their local landscape.
Chairman of the Surrey Hills Trust Fund, Neil Maltby comments;
“Mountain biking is here to stay. I am delighted that bikers now have the Summer Lightning Trail which should reduce the conflict with other users of the Surrey Hills. We do however need cyclists to support the trail through volunteering and donations in order to effectively maintain the trail and extend the network to benefit other areas in the Surrey Hills. ”
Chairman of Surrey County Council, David Munro comments;
“The Surrey Hills are the jewel in Surrey’s Countryside, attracting millions of visitors every year. It is great to see the partnership working with landowners, local businesses and volunteers to help manage and protect the Surrey Hills so it can be enjoyed by all”.
Hazel Watson, Local County Councillor for Dorking Hills comments;
“I am delighted to have supported measures that reduce the conflict in the Dorking Hills area. We need to encourage all groups to work together to ensure that we can all enjoy this special area. The new trail at Leith Hill will help to reduce conflict by ensuring that the cyclists are deterred from using the footpaths and naturally slow down before they meet bridleways.”