I love a walk in the woods at this time of year so at the weekend I headed out to the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Forest Wood reserve to see if I could spot the beautiful carved wooden pine martens the Trust has hidden among the trees. 

The cold, still air carried sound wonderfully and my ears were tuned to the sounds of the birds singing, heralding the oncoming spring. Unfortunately however it wasn’t long before the sounds of the birds were drowned out by the sound of motorbikes.

A group of scrambler enthusiasts were testing their speed on the newly installed paths. Although I’m sure they meant no harm, I wonder if the riders considered the effect of their sport on others?  I spoke to a family with young children who decided to cut their visit short and head home rather than risk sharing a narrow, twisting path with a fast-moving bike.

As well as the danger and noise there’s also the financial aspect to consider. The new paths in Forest Wood cost tens of thousands of pounds and are designed for use by walkers and cyclists. When we have to take a vehicle onto the path it’s driven slowly and carefully to avoid damage.

High powered motorbikes churn and tear at the surface, quickly turning it into a muddy, rutted mess. This severely shortens the life of the path meaning that precious conservation funds must be spent on repairing or replacing it.

Above all, it is illegal to ride off-road motor bikes without permission from the landowner. If you see motorbikes on wildlife reserves in Cumbernauld you can report it to the police by calling 101.

Paul Barclay is the Project Assistant for The Conservation Volunteers a partner of the Cumbernauld Living Landscape and also writes for the Natural Connections project. If you would like to get involved with the Natural Connections contact Tracy Lambert via email or visit our Facebook page. 

Cumbernauld LL