Update 8 October 2019

The Lake District National Park Authority has today decided that they will not start the process that would lead to a Traffic Regulation Order on fell lanes at Tilberthwaite and High Oxen Fell.  With the notable exception of the chair of the committee, members supported the officer recommendation that a voluntary management group be set up for the Tilberthwaite route.  

We are very disappointed at this decision.  The voluntary management approach has been used for a number of years and has, in our view, failed.  Both routes are classified as red under the current system which indicates that they are busy and sites where potential conflicts will is likely to occur. The Park Authority has failed to put the conservation of the natural beauty of the area first.

Update 4 October 2019

An important meeting takes place on Tuesday at the Lake District National Park Authority where consideration will be given to the future management of the motorised use of two fell lanes at Tilberthwaite and High Oxen Fell. A report has been published recommending against starting the formal process that could lead to a Traffic Regulation Order that would restrict motorised access for motorised recreational vehicles on both routes.  The report can be found here: https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/things-to-do/green_roads/future-management-of-tilberthwaite-and-oxen-fell-roads 

The report essentially recommends an approach on the Tilberthwaite route that would involve a partnership management group made of interested parties.  The High Oxen Fell route would be monitored.  We are very concerned that the voluntary approach is being relied upon in this instance.  This has been tried in the past through a scheme called the Hierarchy of Trail Routes (HOTR).  The routes are assessed into amber, red and green categories. Both routes in question are classified red, meaning they are under the greatest pressure, that there may be environmental issues plus the potential for misunderstanding or conflict with other users.  It is recognised that repairs have been carried out to the Tilberthwaite route but this does not deal with the conflicts between users. 

The Environment Act 1995 sets out the purposes of National Parks  considers that where conflict exists between the first aim of conservation and the second aim of promoting understanding and enjoyment- then conservation should take priority. The HOTR scheme identifies the problems associated with routes classified as red- we believe a conflict exists here so conservation should take priority. 

Friends of the Lake District are disappointed with the recommendation and while recognising that any TRO has to be well founded legally consider that the Park Authority have missed an opportunity to place conservation of natural beauty at the heart of their activities. This is something that the recent Glover Review of National Parks emphasises. We would urge the Committee to consider recommending a formal consultation on the introduction of a Traffic Regulation Order.

Update 25 September 2019

The long awaited report to the Lake District National Park Authority Rights of Way Committee has been published. Sadly, but not unexpectedly it has failed to recommend the introduction of a process that could lead to a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on either of the routes under question. Instead it continues to rely on the voluntary approach, recommending the setting up of a partnership management group in relation to the Tilberthwaite route.

We are very concerned that the voluntary approach is being relied upon again in this instance. This has been tried before. It’s current guise has been operating for many years in the form of the Hierarchy of Trail Routes. The scheme assesses routes into amber, red and green categories. Both routes are classified as red, meaning they are routes under the greatest pressure, that there may be environmental issues plus the potential for misunderstanding or conflict with other users.

We have continually said that we believe there to be a strong case for TROs to be introduced. Under the Sandford Principle where there is conflict greater weight should be attached to the first purpose of National Parks to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage. As set out above voluntary approaches trying to resolve this conflict have, in our view, failed. Consequently, the next logical step would be for the Park Authority to carry out a formal consultation as a step in the process of introducing a TRO to ensure that the natural beauty and tranquillity of the area is conserved. It is also telling that ICOMOS has written to the National Park Authority setting out their concerns that motorised use of such lanes is having an adverse effect upon the qualities of the World Heritage Site. We will be writing to the Authority to express our concerns.

Read the Report re: Tilberthwaite and High Oxen fell roads here

18th April 2019

We have been receiving a high volume of e-mails about motorised use of fell lanes.  We have held the position since May 2018 that we believe there is a strong case for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on the Tilberthwaite and High Oxen Fell routes.  This position is on a policy basis that this use of the routes is not in line with the Sandford principle because it causes disturbance to the quiet enjoyment and tranquillity of the area.  We have also previously said that the use of the routes other than for land management purposes is not compatible with National Park purposes, which lends support to the case for a Traffic Regulation Order.  From the comments received we understand that this is an important issue for many people and we will continue to highlight this. 

As we explained previously the Lake District National Park Authority are carrying out a consultation on the future management of the routes and we would encourage anyone with concerns to contact the National Park Authority and to complete the survey which forms part of the consultation on the routes. The information gathered from the consultation exercise will be used to compile a report to the Rights of Way Committee in October and we will be writing to the Park Authority prior to this meeting supporting the introduction of a TRO. 

A number of e-mails raise the issue of the general use of motorised vehicles on fell lanes within the National Park. We have long raised concern about the nature of the activity and its’ conflicts with the purposes of the National Park and recognise there is a pressing need to establish a long term solution on the wider issue.  We are aware that the National Trust would welcome the introduction of a TRO at High Tilberthwaite. We support this position and will continue to work with them and other partners on the wider issue of motorised vehicles on fell lanes.


12th February 2019

We understand that the Tilberthwaite and High Oxen Fell roads are now open to motorised vehicles

The Lake District National Park Authority will be hosting two drop-in sessions for feedback about the routes on: 

  • Tuesday 26 February from 3.30pm – 7pm at Coniston Sports and Social Centre, Shepherds Bridge Lane, Coniston LA21 8AL.
  • Tuesday 5 March from 3.30pm – 7pm at Skelwith Parish Rooms, Community Hall, Skelwith Bridge LA22 9NW.

The Lake District National Park Authority will continue to monitor the use of the routes both in terms of their condition and vehicle movements through spring and summer this year.  There will also be on- site surveys and an online survey.

The information gathered from these exercises will be used to compile a report to the Rights of Way Committee in October.

A briefing note about the future management of the routes can be found here:

https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/thingstodo/green_roads/future-management-of-tilberthwaite-and-oxen-fell-roads

We would urge all who care about protecting the routes to get involved in the surveys and/or attend a drop in session.


9th November 2018

Autumn is a great time to get out and about in the National Park but with the temporary closure to motorised vehicles of the route between Little Langdale and Tilberthwaite offers a unique and tranquil experience that contrasts strikingly with the normal experience in recent years due the increased use of motorised vehicles.  It’s a good idea to take a walk on this route- while its quiet.  Signs at the start of the route indicate current restrictions, though users must be mindful of the works that are being carried out on the track.

Friends of the Lake District believes that the motorised use of the route by vehicles other than for land management purposes is incompatible with National Park Purposes and there is a there is a strong case for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in this location based upon conserving and enhancing the natural beauty and tranquillity of the Park.

'Save Langdale Green Lanes' is a campaign challenging the use of 4x4 vehicles and motorbikes in this location. You can view more information about this issue and the campaigns objectives on its website at: www.savethelakedistrict.com (links to external website content)


22nd May 2018

4x4 Use in High Tilberthwaite
Due to the incompatibility of this use with National Park Purposes, Friends of the Lake District believes there is a strong case for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in this location.

'Save Langdale Green Lanes' is a campaign challenging the use of 4x4 vehicles and motorbikes in this location. You can view more information about this issue and the campaigns objectives on its website at: www.savethelakedistrict.com (links to external website content)