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Residents hit out as off-road bikers cause havoc in ancient woodland

29 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Tan Y Gopa Woods. Photo by Bumblewales is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Motorbikes being ridden on the land around Gwrych Castle are causing havoc, churning up the ground, and damaging ancient woodland, say concerned residents.

Residents and landowners living in and around Abergele and Rhyd y Foel say scramblers hurtling through the area are making their lives a misery.

The bikes are used by riders who want to experience the off-road tracks around the area known as Tan y Gopa Woods, Coed Plas Uchaf Woodland, and other ancient forest.

According to neighbours, the bikes venture as far as the woodland near Abergele Hospital.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands both Llanddulas Rhyd y Foel Community Council and Conwy County Council are aware of the problem.

Gary Hughes has lived with his wife Julie at their 300-year-old home on Llanfair Road for four years.

Gary owns 26 acres of land, including some of Coed Plas Uchaf Woodland, and has now built stiles to make it more difficult for the bikers to access the forest without stopping people or dogs

“It is ancient woodland. hundreds of years old, that the motorbikes are churning up,” he said.

“The ground is wet, and the bikers come down here on their motorbikes and ride in circles over the bluebells and wild garlic.

“They start fires. You can smell the fumes from the bikes too. It’s worse for our neighbours, especially in the summer, because they go round and round and make a terrible noise if you have small children.

“They ride round in circles churning up the ground and frightening the wildlife and the deer, causing noise, pollution, and being anti-social, damaging trees and flowers by lighting fires and leaving rubbish.”

Nuisance

Simon Wrigley has lived at his property with his wife Carole for 66 years. “The motorbikes are a b##### nuisance,” he said.

“They destroy fences (to get access), damage footpaths, and scare old ladies walking their dogs.

“People aren’t happy. It breaches the peace in the countryside, and it is dangerous if the bikes hit someone on the footpath.”

Another neighbour said the bikes caused a ‘dangerous’ problem, adding that mountain bikes also tore up the land, ruining the area.

Abergele councillor Andrew Wood also owns land near the castle added: “I’m absolutely opposed to anybody riding their motorbikes up there, and if I find out who it is, I’ll call the police.

“They are not locals. They are hooligans. When we find out who they are, the police will confiscate their motorbikes.”

He added: “It is a beautiful walk. I would like to see horses up there and kids on bikes and local people. There is no place for motorbikes up there.”

A spokeswoman for Abergele Town Council said, “We haven’t received any correspondence on that issue in the last few years.”

Conwy County Council, Llanddulas Rhyd y Foel Community Council, and North Wales Police were also contacted for a comment.


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