December 2012 Issue of 4×4 Magazine
Never quite understood Déjà vu. For those of a certain age, and similar eclectic musical taste, it was a seminal album from country rock superstars Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but I guess it’s better understood as that ‘I’ve been here before’ feeling. Well, I certainly had that this month while writing News. It seems that the greenlanes in the Peak District are under threat, with the Peak District National Park Authority starting a ‘consultation process’ on some of the routes presently open to 4x4s. After writing that story, I went to find the November 1987 issue of this magazine for the ‘25 Years Ago…’ section. Low and behold, the lead story for that issue read: Greenlaning: Is this the beginning of the end? Now, 1987 was indeed ‘the bad old days’ when 4×4 off-roaders seemed to be singled out as the environment’s ‘enemy No1’, with the national press screaming that ‘fat tyred off-road vehicles’ were singlehandedly destroying the entire countryside of the UK.
So times change, and everything remains the same. Thankfully, the image of off-roaders has improved – and many thanks there has to go to the clubs that push the Tread Lightly approach, and have Rights of Way officers working hard to make sure people understand how to drive a greenlane. Of course, there are still morons about. But things have improved. The image of ‘fat tyred off-roaders’ has also been raised thanks to the dreadful winters we have been having, and how helpful having a friendly 4×4 neighbour can be, whether that involves rescuing other road users, or just popping to the shops to stock up an elderly neighbour’s fridge.
The fact that we are still having to fight for the right to share, not exclusively own, what limited greenlanes still exist, is deeply depressing. It is important, therefore, that people do express their opinions and engage in the consultation process for the Peak District lanes (see details page 13). As one keen off-roader said to me this month: “I like a walk, but it seems a shame to lose these historic tracks when ‘walkers’ have thousands of miles of footpath that 4x4s and bikes cannot and will not use. The problem will be that the anti lobby will be far more eloquent and vocal.”
There’s a track on the Déjà vu album by CSN&Y called ‘Helpless’. Well, we are not, but we do need to speak up to keep these lanes open to enjoy.
Nigel Fryatt, Editor
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