Countryside has enough room for all – but motors are becoming a menace
Like many people, I use the countryside in different ways. I walk, cycle, run, rock climb and watch birds.
Most of the time, with a little respect for each other, people doing different activities co-exist quite happily.
As a walker, I appreciate that people walking often don't hear bikes behind them and the ringing of a bell can just make them jump.
As a cyclist, I realise how difficult it can be approaching from behind a group of people walking and engrossed in conversation.
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Sometimes we have to appreciate that certain places aren't suitable for some activities.
Nature reserves are particularly sensitive. Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves are among the best places in the county for wildflowers, insects, birds, mammals: for all the wildlife that lives within them. The Wildlife Trust is responsible for their continued survival as well as for providing opportunities for people to see and experience them.
Many of the reserves are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest or SSSIs.
These sites are legally protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence for any person to intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy any of the features of special interest of an SSSI, or to disturb wildlife for which the site was notified.
Where there is a conflict of uses, guidelines and temporary restrictions can help.
Some crags that are used by rock climbers are subject to climbing bans when rare birds such as choughs, ring ouzels and peregrines are nesting.
Once the birds have fledged; it's fine for people to climb again. Occasionally a compromise can't be reached. This is the case in the south of the county, near Grantham, on a green lane known as The Drift.
The Drift is classed as a Byway Open to All Traffic. The public are entitled to travel over it on foot, horseback and by wheeled vehicle of all kinds, including horse-drawn and motorised vehicles.
Many byways like this are now used mainly for walking or riding and don't have suitable surfaces for motor traffic.
The Drift is also designated an SSSI because of its wildflowers including field scabious, bird's-foot trefoil and salad burnet.
Flowers that at one time were widespread across the meadows and lane verges of the countryside but are increasingly scarce.
The Drift is now scarred with muddy ruts, up to one metre in depth and frequently spanning the full width of the lane, making it impassable to those on foot or horseback.
The majority of damage has been caused by 4x4 vehicles; but also trail bikes that haven't kept to narrow tracks and have increased the peripheral damage year on year destroying the wildflower-rich habitat verges of the track.
In addition, vehicular access has led to fly-tipping of asbestos sheeting, tyres, cable insulation garden waste, building waste and burned-out vehicles.
It's a sad state for a green lane that has been in use since the Bronze Age and that forms part of the Viking Way.
Compromise has been attempted with a seasonal closure to motor vehicles but this has proved to be insufficient protection.
There is now a campaign to Save The Drift by closing it permanently to all motorised vehicles.
In this location, different uses aren't existing side-by-side and the special natural qualities of the place are being threatened.