A road.cc reader says he that a security guard he spoke to at Bolton Abbey last week confirmed to him that he was stopping cyclists from riding through the grounds – despite the estate that runs the North Yorkshire stately home denying this week that it was using such staff to turn away cyclists.
As we reported last Saturday, Cycling UK had expressed concerns over cyclists visiting the estate in Wharfedale apparently being prevented by security staff from crossing a wooden bridge leading to a café.
The estate responded during the week by denying that security staff were turning cyclists away – but after reading our articles, road.cc reader Steve got in touch yesterday to tell us that he had cycled past a security guard at Bolton Abbey last Sunday.
Stave said: “I asked him if he was stopping cyclists.
“He confirmed, ‘Yes, into the grounds of the house’,” Steve continued, adding that the security guard “believed cyclists could use the through road opposite,” and had told him that the BBC had been to the estate that morning.
The estate has said that the closure of the bridge to cyclists is a temporary measure while coronavirus restrictions remain in place.
It has also said that it did not use security guards, but confirmed that at busier times a member of staff might be placed on the bridge to remind visitors of the rules.
But another cyclist quoted in a BBC News report yesterday insisted that the closure of the bridge to cyclists was putting riders in danger.
Tom Whewell, from Leeds, said: “Any cyclist here is turned away and has to take a big diversion and get on the A59 and battle 38-tonne lorries," he said.
“He also expressed concerns about estate staff being posted on the bridge to turn cyclists away.
“It is like we're being criminalised. This chap here would be more suitable at a nightclub on a Friday night.”
While the estate claims that it has welcomed cyclists for many years and that current restrictions are temporary, Cycling UK had written to Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise to ask it to investigate public access to the site which is a condition of tax relief it and Chatsworth House – like Bolton Abbey, owned by the Duke of Devonshire.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.