London’s Court of Appeal handed down the ruling to keep motorized traffic off public paths across Twyford Downs, Hants, yesterday. Landowners including Winchester College had challenged Hampshire County Council and the TRF (Trail Riders Fellowship), a motorcycle campaign group, to prevent opening the area to quadbikes, 4x4s and motorbikes.

The TRF had sucessfully applied to open two byways to all traffic ahead of the 2006 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act coming into force. The Act will end the practice of gaining motor access to England’s ancient rights of ways on the basis of historical use by horse-drawn vehicles.

Robin Chute, Winchester’s estates bursar, said: ‘We are pleased at the Court of Appeal’s judgment. We take our responsibilities as stewards of the local environment very seriously. In this case, we are talking about a narrow rural track across beautiful downland in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“Off-roaders have done a great deal of damage to the areas around the golf course in the past. If the council’s decision had been upheld, we could have expected more of the same.”

Read more about off-roaders and the law here.

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