BHS Scotland and BHS Borders joined forces with The Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) at the end of October to run an educational and interesting forest access day at Glentress Visitors Centre east of Peebles.
Despite the damp and mist, the riders who attended enjoyed the talks and the forest visit and BHS left having happily reinforced several key messages with FCS that facilitate forest riding during management works.
FCS are keen to encourage riders to check FCS website for details of harvesting and other operations which may affect their riding plans. The dates promoted routes affected by forestry work and maps of the areas will be flagged up on scotland.forestry.gov.uk.
Warning, route closure and diversion signs should be erected at key entry points to every forest when felling, extraction, haulage and other such operations in place, but should be confined to specific working areas only i.e. not the whole forest closed.
For their own safety, and that of people working in the forest, riders should respect signs about path closures and diversions. Key messages include safety and in particular the very real risk of a forwarder chain breaking and flying off at same speed as a bullet, this has been known to embed in bulletproof windscreens, and in trees within 100 metres.
BHS appreciates FCS good practice e.g. flip-over signs which operators can turn over at end of day when they finish to reopen route and vice versa in the morning - not examples where routes are closed with nothing happening or signs left in place over weekend.
Diversions for promoted routes should be well signed on site. We've asked FCS to ensure maps are provided, and to ensure diversions take account of all users.
If riders come across any situations where signs or diversions are not in place, or there are inappropriate closures, e.g. left closed when no work going on, FCS are keen to know so please alert either them or BHS Scotland.
This was an excellent partnership event and more like this will be held in Dumfries and Galloway and Aberdeenshire next year.