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Just south of Whitby, North Yorkshire, lies a gem of a green road, half a mile of classic pristine wooded lane. For the past three years, after irresponsible vehicular use, a TRO ruled Seggimire Lane off limits to all vehicles.

Earlier this year Teesside & North Yorkshire TRF led a campaign to re-open the lane to responsible use by trail bikes. Dick Brew picks up the story and explains how the case unfolded and why it's important for all trail riders to enjoy this little bit of Yorkshire with care and respect.

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.

During the winter of 2012/13, a group of 4 x 4s attempted to drive down the lane, but became stuck due to natural pinch point width restrictions. In their attempts to turn round and extricate their vehicles, they caused considerable damage, including moving and using ancient stone trods to gain more traction.

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Natural pinch points make access difficult for wide vehicles
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The TRF challenged the TRO
An 18 month Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) was put into place in January 2013, banning all Mechanically Propelled Vehicles (MPV) from using Seggimire Lane.

The lane was repaired by contractors to what appears to be a good standard.

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).

T&NY TRF produced a detailed Condition Report, including photographic evidence that supported the use of the lane by motorcycles, and offered solutions and compromises to the misconceived issues that had been raised by the Parks and the Council. However, it was never submitted as by this time John Vannuffel, and the TRF legal team, had become involved. TRF Counsel found many legal faults in the TRO process, and therefore decided to challenge this unjust and unnecessary TRO in the courts; and ultimately succeeded in overturning the Order.

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

A tremendous amount of time, effort and expense has been expended on saving this gem. The TRF’s intervention has saved yet another historic highway, and is testament to what our Fellowship stands for and can achieve.

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T&NY TRF enjoy the road once again
 

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.

Riders should at all times be aware of other user groups, and ride with consideration and respect. If you meet a horse and rider, pull over and switch off your engine, offering to remove your helmet if the horse appears particularly nervous (they like to see a human face?!).

A friendly greeting to other users you meet, even if not reciprocated, sets us in a good light.

Ridden responsibly, and to the TRF's Code of Conduct, this lane will remain sustainable for the foreseeable future. Please ride respectfully and be courteous to other users - it's in everyone's best interest.

Thank you to everyone who has been instrumental in getting this classic green road reopened.


The TRF exists to conserve Green Roads like Seggimire Lane.

If you believe in responsible trail riding why not join us today and make sure you can ride tomorrow?