Crossers Spark Concern For Safety At Blue Waters Woodland

  • A distressed user of Blue Waters Woodland and pathway to the woodland has written to Houghton Regis News Desk to raise awareness of a problem with off-road bikers. 
Below is the content of the complaint received by Alan Winter at HRND. The writer did not wish to be identified. 

After receiving this, the resident was asked to make Houghton Regis Town Council aware so that they could bring it to the attention of their Combatting Crime Committee. The Council can direct some policing activity out of Op Hannah funding, a special contribution that the Council makes to Bedfordshire Police. Since then, a spokesperson for the Town Council has acknowledged that they have been made aware of the complaint and intend to discuss it at their next meeting.

Additionally, the content has been passed to Bedfordshire Police through the Police and Crime Commissioner's Office asking for it to be brought to the attention of the local policing team, and to the attention of their off-road bikes team for consideration.

Blue Waters woodland is a small wood west of Plaiters Way in Houghton Regis [see Map] managed by Central Bedfordshire Council and they have been asked to comment on this incident which they will do so due course.

Off-road biking is a nuisance problem across the country and is not limited to this area and is also difficult to manage. Barriers can be erected but are often easily circumnavigated.

The least that publishing this can achieve is to raise awareness. The very best we could all wish for is that the perpetrators realise their anti-social behaviour and desist. Let's hope that no one else needs to suffer when they take their young children out for what should be a pleasant walk in Houghton Regis on a quiet Sunday afternoon. 

Here is the unedited complaint:

Hi there, I am a local resident and am hoping you may be able to raise awareness of a situation I encountered on the weekend at the blue water woodland off Bedford Rd. I frequently walk there with my young children and dog, as do many other people and families. On Sunday afternoon we had decided to go for a walk, me my son and our dog and everything was fine until I could hear in the distance the sound of motorbike engines. Progressively they got closer until I realised they were on the same narrow muddy path that we were which resulted in me having to grab my son and quickly shifting him out of the way from the oncoming 'parade' of crosser bikes, 5 in total all at full pelt, no licence plates helmets etc, clearly not professional riders. We just about managed to keep out of harms way as they flew past with the last rider shouting some abuse along the lines of "get out of the f*****g way", bad enough in itself but especially unfair as my son is only 7 years old and isn't brought up in an environment where cursing is normal practise. In any case we continued our walk, which at this point we were on our way back out of the woods anyway to again hear the sound of distant engine approaching, this time on the concrete surface 

leading out of the area back to Bedford rd, the surface being extremely slippery due to it being wet with a layer of leaves on top. The bike approaching was again moving very fast and this time with a passenger on, and to add to the situation was on a bend, I again grabbed my son behind me and moved us quickly to the side only to realise the bike was losing control on the bend heading towards us, miraculously the bike stayed up and the riders went past, how this situation would have ended had he completely lost control I wouldn't like to say.
The reason for me approaching yourselves with the story is that I did call the police non emergency number on the day who took a report of it, but this somehow feels reactive to the situation rather than being proactive, I believe HRND could raise awareness of this, not in an attempt to deter people from walking the woodlands, this of course should be encouraged, but perhaps measures could be put in place to make the entry of these types of vehicles impossible so that no one else has to take such drastic action on what was simply a Sunday afternoon walk.
I appreciate your time and hopefully support in what we could do to improve the area for all to use.

  • Pictures from Alan Winter's archive of Blue Water's, not from the actual incident.