Leo Crone’s guide to working with National Parks


Why the TRF was founded

"It was more about exploring and discovering the lanes that were out there because they weren't being used… …the way the legislation was structured meant that we were able to use quite a network of lanes on which vehicular rights were not set in stone, but evidence existed which said a right of vehicular access had existed on that lane. And as Lord Denning said, "once a highway, always a highway.""

How green lanes came into being, how we used to argue our case and how it has changed now.

"What we had to rely on in those days was, we had evidence to say that a route had been a highway. That evidence might have been a 'tithe' map, which is a map that was produced by the clergy. 'Tithe' is actually old English for 'tenth'. A tithe map was a map that they used to calculate a tenth of everything that was taken off people who produced stuff from the land. The land owners, it was in their interest to say what routes ran over their land because they got recompensed for the area of route that ran over their land, they weren't taxed on it."

Why it's important to be represented at local authority meetings

"I've just retired from vice chair of the local access forum for North Yorkshire County Council. I was sat on that from its inception which was about 10 years ago. What I found was that, I'd sit through maybe a meeting three hours long and nothing would be on that meeting that would pertain to motorcycles and the countryside. But, occasionally something would come up. And then, what you would get is a number of prejudices and people saying things that were blatantly not right. It was only the fact that there was someone there that actually used motor vehicles in the countryside to say "well that's not right" or "this is actually what is happening" or "this is why we are using these rights of way". Then suddenly people's prejudices are challenged, or they are given the knowledge that they had never been privy to before and it changes attitudes, softens attitudes and it also prevents councils from riding rough shod or simply not briefing people about the situation."

Using TRF funds to pay for works that authorities can't afford to, or won't, carry out

"I was able to offer, because of money that we raise through fundraising and events like that, the facility of completely funding at least two, possibly four projects which involve the maintenance of vehicle rights on these lanes… …I think we have quite possibly saved all of these lanes from closure, and we have the additional PR of know assisting National Parks in the funding to manage these lanes in a sustainable manner for vehicles."

The next generation of the TRF

"There's very little to discover that we don't know about. What we've got to do is try and keep the network that we've got now. At the moment it means raising funds so that there's money sitting in a bank account… …what I'm trying to do is stop asking for TRF members to volunteer to take a day off to repair a lane. I would far rather ask them to take a day off to help out with an event, so that we can get other riders from other areas around England into our area, show them around, and they pay us to do that. And then we use that money to pay National Parks to repair the lanes."