Near Armathwaite are two delightful woods: Coombs Wood and High Stand. Both of these are owned and managed by Forestry England. In October 2016, we met with the managers who told us the following – though the policies may of course change in future.
Forestry England has an ‘Access for all’ policy. They welcome walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers anywhere in both woods.
The creation of mountain bike trails is discouraged, because of concerns that trails may not be maintained, endangering future users; or that trail users may endanger pedestrians. Trails may be removed accordingly.
Coombs Wood is a PAWS, which means it is protected ancient woodland. The chief concern for the management of the wood is soil erosion. So the Forestry Commission are now managing it with a continuous cover policy, which means is that they will ensure there will always be trees in each area.
For a fascinatingly detailed plan of the activities which have been being carried out since 2017, see the Forestry England plan here.
So, except where there are felling operations going on, we have a wonderful resource for walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers, which is being carefully maintained for future generations.
[Photo © Copyright John Illingworth and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence, modifications © Charles Weir]