/ Rally GB and access
I live within a couple of kms of one of the forest stages (Clocaenog) and regularly walk/run/bike in the forest. Most of it is CROW land, Forestry Commission (Natural Resources Wales now!) owned and lots of footpaths and national trails going through the area.
A couple of years ago when the last Rally GB came through I was told by various marshals ( and then North Wales Police ) that the forest was "closed for the rally" and that I would only be allowed to continue with a valid ticket... I was out for a run, on one of my usual loops and well away from the rally itself.
What is the legal position here, UKC-folk? I know I COULD just stay away from the forest for a day or three, but that would seem to be unfair...
I've often wondered this myself. I tend to attend a few days of the rally as a spectator most years and have often just walked in to stages on quiet footpaths etc. 9 times out of 10 the marshals seem to suss your not a liability if you are capable of using a map and finding other entrances so just let you get on with it no questions asked. I've also often rode my mtb into various stages again no real problems.
Obviously if you were trying to access by a major spectator access route it would be a bit more awkward.
Had a quick look at the proposed schedule, and it looks as if the Clocaenog stages are "night stages" on the Thursday night, althoughI don't know how far in advance of the stage they will start restricting access. I too live within a couple of miles of the forest, but I don't fancy strolling through there in the middle of the night.
The CRoW Act allows a landowner or farm tenant to exclude or restrict access at their discretion in certain circumstances.
Use of these powers must be notified to the Open Access Contact Centre
So provided the land owner has followed the process, they can close the land to open access for a limited period.
Temporarily closing the public rights of way across the land requires a Traffic Regulation Order from the local authority.
It should be fairly straightforward to find out whether either of the above steps has been taken by contacting the relevant authority.
I don't know the legal position, but I am pretty sure that rights of way can be, and are, suspended for the duration of the rally. However, like Caterham, I go to the rally and have never been challenged when I've used a bit of initiative walking into forests away from the official, ticket-only entrances.
So I don't see that there need be any particular problem for a discrete runner who keeps off the tracks used by the rally and is polite and tactful with any marshals they should bump into. The route of the special stage is easily enough worked out when in the forest. Marshals will only be there for the day of the rally, so they will naturally be concerned about your own safety and, sadly, owing to some recent incidents, competitors' safety.
Local access roads will usually be closed from mid- late-afternoon the day before the rally, but I don't know when in the case of night stages. If you are a local resident, you should be able to obtain a resident's permit.
Composed before previous post.
Its once a year and not the end of the world if you need to run somewhere else for just one w-end.
They also have a right to use those woods and also pay a lot of money to the forestry commission in order to use them.
They restrict access mainly for your safety. Do you want to be hit by a rally car!
You say it seems unfair. You use the woods every other day of the year. Dont you think its unfair to try an spoil someone elses sport on just one w-end?
Get over it!
In previous years when the rally's been based in Mid Wales, Powys and Ceredigion councils have used TROs to temporarily close council roads, footpaths and bridleways in affected areas. The existence of such TROs have been publicised in advance in the local press, in the form of legal notices. Affected residents are given access permits to display on their windscreens. All other ad hoc public access is denied and enforced by well-briefed and experienced marshals.
Similarly the Forestry Commission temporarily withdraws public rights of access. Signs to this effect are normally displayed on all public access points.
I don't think any of this is unreasonable given the nature of the event and the consequences of someone bimbling onto a special stage if it isn't done. "Seen to have taken all reasonable steps ... etc." I have no doubt that everything is done correctly and legally. After all, the rally's not being organised by a bunch of ignorant amateurs.
I'm sorry you feel that excluding you from the forest for a day or two is 'unfair' but it's hardly the end of the world - and there are 363 other days ....
Hafren Forest was closed for a rally last Saturday. It's CROW land rather than footpaths, but there was just one small sign noting the 'closure'.
Like many others there, we ignored it and used ears, eyes and common sense.
Thanks for the slightly p*ssy reply :-) I'm not trying to spoil someone else's sport, just curious about the general situation with regards to CROW and organised events. The rally is almost unique in closing down access to a wide area for a leisure activity so I was unsure of the situation.
I have been a spectator at rallies, paying or otherwise so I'm aware of the safety issues. Restriction of access would seem to mainly be about ensuring that spectators pay £20 a head and help recoup the cost of that stage - they close down larger areas every year it would seem, including tracks a long way away from the stage route.
The TRO bit makes sense, I hadn't considered that bit of legislation. Clocaenog gets quite a bit of rally action throughout the year (at least 2-3 events) and the litter etc does make it's mark. That's a different discussion though... About a third of the forest will be felled to make way for a wind farm in a couple of years so all interested parties should get out and enjoy it whilst they can.
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