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Nature reserve closes bike track set up by BMX enthusiast without permission

PUBLISHED: 12:50 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:09 07 October 2020

Pensthorpe has levelled off what they call ‘extreme jumps’, taped off area and put up notices around the area in the Valley way Woods in Fakenham until they make a decision on its safety. Picture: Justin Wakefield

Pensthorpe has levelled off what they call ‘extreme jumps’, taped off area and put up notices around the area in the Valley way Woods in Fakenham until they make a decision on its safety. Picture: Justin Wakefield

Archant

A bike track created by a BMX enthusiast has been temporarily closed after its landowner raised fears over its safety.

Pensthorpe has levelled off what they call ‘extreme jumps’, taped off area and put up notices around the area in the Valley way Woods in Fakenham until they make a decision on its safety. Picture: Justin WakefieldPensthorpe has levelled off what they call ‘extreme jumps’, taped off area and put up notices around the area in the Valley way Woods in Fakenham until they make a decision on its safety. Picture: Justin Wakefield

Pensthorpe nature reserve owns the land called the Ballast Pit, nicknamed the Beehives, in the Valley Way woods at Fakenham, where Justin Wakefield carried out work to the bike track.

The track, which was finished by the content creator in September, was closed on October 6.

Pensthorpe has levelled off what they call ‘extreme jumps’, and taped it off until they make a decision on its safety. The landowner says Mr Wakefield did not have permission to create the track.

The nature reserve’s management is watching the area closely for illegal activity, but warning posters have already been ripped down, a spokesman said.

Richard Spowage, Pensthorpe reserve manager said it closed the track for people’s safety.

Justin Wakefield has moved to Fakenham as he hopes to get people back on their bikes. Picture: Justin WakefieldJustin Wakefield has moved to Fakenham as he hopes to get people back on their bikes. Picture: Justin Wakefield

“It was in a condition that we did not consider fit for general use, we felt we had to go in today and make some changes,” he said.

“If we don’t do anything we could be presumed liable so we have to observe what is going on.”

Mr Wakefield said he was upset by the news.

“I don’t think it is fair, I don’t know how the track is negative,” he said.

Known as the beehives, James Wakefield spent two-weeks cleaning up the track which is found just off Norwich Road in Fakenham, Picture: Justin WakefieldKnown as the beehives, James Wakefield spent two-weeks cleaning up the track which is found just off Norwich Road in Fakenham, Picture: Justin Wakefield

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The 26-year-old is now worried about what young people will do in the town.

“It wasn’t for me, it was for the community to have something,” he said.

“The woodland there was never used properly, just by dog walkers.

Known as the beehives, James Wakefield spent two-weeks cleaning up the track which is found just off Norwich Road in Fakenham, Picture: Justin WakefieldKnown as the beehives, James Wakefield spent two-weeks cleaning up the track which is found just off Norwich Road in Fakenham, Picture: Justin Wakefield

“They have been struck back to the streets and this isn’t right.

“They were smiling, all wanting to come down and get involved which was hugely positive.

“If they saw the impact they [Pensthorpe] would change their mind.”

Mr Wakefield said he had received messages from people sharing their disappointment at the closure.

Pensthorpe has levelled off what they call ‘extreme jumps’, taped off area and put up notices around the area in the Valley way Woods in Fakenham until they make a decision on its safety. Picture: Justin WakefieldPensthorpe has levelled off what they call ‘extreme jumps’, taped off area and put up notices around the area in the Valley way Woods in Fakenham until they make a decision on its safety. Picture: Justin Wakefield

However, Mr Spowage said members of the public had come out in support of it.

The reserve manager believes the issue of the bike track is part of a bigger problem in the town.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t a place for young people to use, so, they are drifting on to private land with potentially dangerous and potentially illegal activity by going somewhere that isn’t maintained or protected,” he said.

Pensthorpe said they will leave the tape up and will review what happens over the next week.


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