Warning issued to mountain bikers

Ramps were dismantled by FES staff in Pannanich Forest in Upper Deeside
Ramps were dismantled by FES staff in Pannanich Forest in Upper Deeside

Mountain bikers are being warned not to build ramps on forest trails in Aberdeenshire.

Biking features had to be removed last week from Pannanich Forest in Upper Deeside.

Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) is concerned that ramps and berms constructed by the mountain bikers could be harmful to wildlife, particularly capercaillie.

Neil Taylor, communities and recreation ranger for the FES team in Moray and Aberdeenshire, said they had been alerted to the ramps by RSPB staff.

He added: “We put out notices warning against self-building and we removed the structures because they were not only a cause of disturbance to wildlife but they were also a serious risk to the health and wellbeing of the mountain bikers themselves.

“The people who build these sorts of amateur structures have no proper awareness of the safety elements that are a paramount priority on authorised trails designed and built by specialists.”

Gareth Marshall, RSPB Scotland’s capercaillie project officer, said: “I would ask all bikers to stick to official trails and pay attention to signs.”