Wrexham bike ace joins campaign to save Welsh landscape

Reporter:

Garth ApThomas

DAREDEVIL motorbike jumping star Jason Rennie has joined a campaign to save some of North Wales’ wildest and most spectacular landscape.

The fearless bike ace who has held world records for incredible death-defying leaps is appealing to his fellow bikers and off-roaders to stay off rare heather moorland in North East Wales and out of forestry land.

He has signed up to the Heather and Hillforts campaign which encourages farmers, ramblers and others who enjoy the county’s wide open spaces to carry a special telephone number with them to report vandals whose activities are damaging the countryside.

The campaign – catchphrase ‘Don’t leave home without it’ – is led by Denbighshire Countryside Services and covers the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Horseshoe Pass and Llantysilio Mountain, part of the Ruabon/Llantysilio Mountains and Minera Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

They are under threat from the destructive menace of off-road bikers and 4x4 drivers and Jason, from Bwlchgwyn, said: “I can relate to that.

“People just don’t realise the damage they are doing riding bikes across those mountains.

“What we need is as minimal impact on the land as we can to make sure the wildlife and the natural habitat is protected.

“Bikes and 4x4s tearing up the moorland create massive scars all over the mountains and water channels out of the ruts and causes even more damage and racing around forest tracks is a massive danger to legitimate users.”

Jason, described as the Welsh Evel Knievel, has flown his motorbikes into stunt riding history by breaking the world distance records both indoor and outdoor and even holds the record for jumping a mountain bike – towed at 80mph by a motorbike he soared an incredible 134ft.

He was brought up in the shadow of the Horseshoe Pass and works creating mountain bike tracks at the Oneplanet Adventure Mountain Biking Centre in Llandegla so he is deeply aware of the importance of the environment and the threat to it of illegal off-roading.

He added: “It is a massive problem but I think that a lot of the time the riders aren’t really aware of the damage they’re doing. They don’t realise the wildlife and rare habitat that are involved and the problems they’re causing for the future.

“They take things for granted and are maybe a bit naïve but we need to make them aware of the problems and encourage them to go off-roading in legal areas by staying on the network of unsurfaced roads and byways, or joining clubs and entering events.”

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