A furious row between northern cyclists and the local council has erupted after they were banned from using the deserted Snake Pass.
The road, formally known as the A57, is widely considered to be one of the most scenic routes in the UK.
The deluge of rain last month caused a landslip beside the Snake Pass, forcing its closure for at least the next month.
Initially, the road was closed to all car users, and cyclists and walkers rejoiced.
The usually busy thoroughfare was suddenly vehicle-free, and hoards of people flocked to enjoy this beautiful part of the Peak District without traffic.
Then, on the 8 March, Derbyshire County Council changed tack and announced that Snake Pass would be closed to all users because of ‘concerns over safety’.
They said that barriers would be put in place and the road monitored 24/7.
Despite the good intentions behind the decision, hundreds of people have reacted with fury, with a mass cycle along the road staged last weekend – and another planned this week.
Local man Harry Gray, who organised the group rides, appeared on Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio Two programme to argue the viewpoint of cyclists.
He said: “It was great, it was a really good day – the sun was out, there were kids and families. It was amazing.
“I met someone who lived in Glossop for seven years and he’d never been up there on his bike, so it was just a great experience for people to enjoy the countryside and the great outdoors.
“It’s a hotspot for people to come in their fast cars and motorbikes and it can be quite dangerous with people speeding and showing off.”
He also said that it was ‘silly’ to close the entire road when a relatively small section is affected by the landslip.
Political consultant Brian Coleman argued the case for the council, saying: “It is dangerous. The road has been closed because of landslips. Sadly the health and safety rules are there for a reason.
“We’re not talking about the odd cyclist here, we’re talking about organised gangs of hundreds of cyclists.
“It is the A57. It is a main road. It’s not a little back water road or a little suburban cul-de-sac, it is the A57.”
Over on Twitter, one cyclist said: “I cycled from Ladybower up the Snake Pass on Sunday. Only a handful of residents and farmers drove past me and felt totally safe!
“When the road opens back up I’d have no interest in riding it again in traffic and will be back on the trails with my mountain bike!”
Someone else commented: “This is really disappointing to hear. There was a festival atmosphere there last weekend, with families and kids as well as lots of cyclists. Why spoil the fun? It’s a rare opportunity for people to enjoy the road when cars can’t.”
Featured image: Unsplash