TRF:Hi Dick. So Seggimire Lane is finally open. It's been a big deal for Teesside and North Yorkshire TRF. How did it all begin?
Dick:Seggimire Lane runs from its northern junction with Tom Bell Lane, Ugglebarnaby, downhill to its end at Throstle Nest, Littlebeck.
TRF:It's would be easy for TROs like this to just slip under the radar. Who was it that picked it up and challenged it?
Dick:At that time, Leo Crone, our group's Rights of Way Officer, and TRF legend, sat on the North York Moors National Park Authority Land Access Forum and its associated Unsurfaced Route Management Group (URMAG). They carried out a site visit, and their findings resulted in a recommendation that 4 wheeled vehicles should be permanently prohibited, and that the lane should be made one-way downhill (north to south) for solo motorcycles through voluntary restraint. This was initially accepted by the Parks and NYCC.
TRF:What was the strategy for challenging the TRO? Did we think we had a good chance of winning?
Dick:The initial report that supported the original TTRO and the URMAG recommendations, was written by a National Parks officer, prior to responsibility for PRoW and UUR’s being handed back to NYCC. The TTRO was then extended for another 18 months, and a public consultation took place. The findings were duly considered by the Council, who then made a decision to set a permanent TRO, closing the lane to all MPV’s (including solo motorcycles). This was challenged, and a further 6 month extension to the TTRO was put in place, and a second public consultation took place. The subsequent 45 page report was highly biased, claiming that motorcycles travelled along the lane at 60mph, there was restricted visibility and that the lane was not sustainable if used by MPV’s. NYCC changed their initial stated position to allow solo motorcycles on the grounds of funding cuts (unable to monitor usage), unenforceable voluntary restraint, video evidence of motorcycle illegal usage (never verified), and safety grounds (possible physical conflict between users).
TRF:It's a great result to have the lane open again. What did it feel like riding it?
Dick:Once we had been given the nod by JV that the TRO had been overturned, no time was wasted in riding it, and indeed it will feature in the forthcoming Magical Moors Guided Trail Riding Camping Weekend in September. A group of 7 Teesside & North Yorkshire TRF riders tried the lane out at the end of July. It’s a half mile of classic, pristine, wooded green lane, which includes 3 small river crossings – an absolute joy to ride
TRF:What needs to happen to make sure that Seggimire Lane stays open?
Dick:Although Seggimire is now open, the prospect of irresponsible 4x4 use has not been addressed, despite the TRF notifying NYCC that it would not object to a 4x4 TRO. The lane is quite narrow, and is used by horse riders, cyclists, dog walkers and ramblers; there is also evidence that cattle are taken down it to drink at the beck.