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Mountain biking on the Bosley Cloud

Two people wearing National Trust-branded clothing are off-road mountain biking on a trail. They have paused to chat at the top of an incline.
Visitors off-road cycling | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Find out who can go mountain biking on the Bosley Cloud, why it's not open to all mountain bikers and how the National Trust has worked with local cyclists to make sure everyone can continue to enjoy wildlife and the surrounding environments safely.

Who can go mountain biking on the Cloud?

Only members of the Congleton Mountain Biking Club are allowed to go mountain biking on the Cloud.

Why is the National Trust allowing mountain biking on the Cloud?

The National Trust is committed to helping people enjoy wildlife and the surrounding environments safely.

People have been using mountain bikes on the Cloud for several years, but it has been taking place in an unmanaged way, causing damage and erosion to the upland and lowland heath. Entering a partnership to allow responsible cycling means we can tackle this issue while still allowing people to enjoy the outdoor space here.

Managed routes

The routes created on the Cloud by the National Trust and Congleton Mountain Biking Club help to prevent damage and erosion while still allowing people to carry out the outdoor activities they enjoy. The National Trust wants to encourage people to access the outdoors and for people from all backgrounds to feel that the countryside is relevant and important to them.

Licence agreement

Congleton Mountain Biking Club has signed an agreed licence with the National Trust. They have committed to an agreed Code of Conduct and Trail Etiquette. They will also create working groups to volunteer with our ranger team to carry out conservation work on the Cloud. We have a similar licensing agreement with Congleton Harriers running club, which allows runners to access and enjoy the Cloud.

Off-road mountain biking.
Off-road mountain biking | © National Trust Images/John Millar

How will the routes impact walkers?

The mountain biking routes are clearly marked both on signs at access points to the site and where a mountain biking route crosses a pedestrian route. Members of Congleton Mountain Biking Club will always give way to walkers.

The mountain biking routes have been designed by the National Trust and Congleton Mountain Biking Club to deliberately slow riders down as they reach pedestrian areas. Members of the club have also committed to an agreed Code of Conduct and Trail Etiquette.

Having a licensed mountain biking club on designated routes with an agreed code of conduct is safer for walkers than unmanaged cyclists using the footpaths on the hill.

Is this a good use of time for the rangers and volunteers?

As part of the licence agreement, Congleton Mountain Biking Club has committed to a number of volunteering hours to help maintain the routes and work on other conservation priorities at the Cloud.

National Trust rangers and volunteers work hard to allow all visitors to access the outdoor spaces in our care. Giving people access to the outdoors is a core principle of the National Trust. By creating managed mountain bike trails with Congleton Mountain Biking Club, we are fulfilling our commitment to conserve the site by removing the erosion and damage caused by unmanaged mountain biking while increasing access for people to enjoy National Trust places.

'The Congleton Mountain Biking Club and the National Trust have shown that working in partnership can benefit everyone, not just one particular group. For many people cycling is easier than walking and with the limited amount of mountain biking areas there are in Congleton, Bosley Cloud is a perfect place for cyclists to practise what they love: cycling in forests over undulating terrain.'

– Suzie Akers Smith, Congleton Town Mayor

Muddy mountain bike.
Muddy mountain bike. | © National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart

How do I know if a cyclist is a member of Congleton Mountain Biking Club?

Members of Congleton Mountain Biking Club will display a colour-coded 'In Case of Emergency' (ICE) sticker on the rear of their helmet to identify them as a member of the club. Each year of membership will have a different colour of sticker.

If you feel that a member of Congleton Mountain Biking Club on the Cloud has put you at risk or that someone who is not a club member is using the trails on the Cloud, please contact the Cheshire Countryside team on 01625 584412 or send an email with an image, if possible, to cheshirecountryside@nationaltrust.org.uk.

How do I join Congleton Mountain Biking Club?

If you live locally to the Cloud and are interested in joining the club, contact cmtbclub@gmail.com or find the Congleton MTB page on Facebook.

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