Use of agricultural land for 14 days a year for Motorcross Track

picture of motorcross bike in action

Our tiny village of Marsh Green, Devon, (our postcode EX5 2ES)  which has approx 40 houses, is having to endure the unacceptable use of an agricultural field which has been turned into a Motocross Track almost every weekend particularly during the summer.  A Retrospective Planning Application was submitted to East Devon District Council about 5 years ago for use by friends and family only and this and a subsequent appeal was turned down as the facilities and location were unsuitable.  The field has been turned into a proper motocross track with jumps etc. and can no longer be used for agriculture and this can be easily viewed on Google Earth.  It is ridiculous having been refused permission (it was already being used in any event before the retrospective application was made).  It now appears to be used for business purposes ie motocross clubs and having had a meeting with East Devon DC Chief Exec recently they said their hands are tied because current legislation allows any use including business for 14 days a year and there is also no restriction on the number of hours that it can be used on those days ie on a Sunday we endure it from around 10.30 am until 7.30 pm during the summer.  The 14 days are always exceeded during the year and the Council do not appear to have anyway of monitoring this use or the resources to manage it although we can phone up and complain to an emergency noise polution line which residents do regularly.  We feel that the law appears to be an ass in this case and should be repealed extremely quickly as the Chief Exec said during our meeting that there are other land owners taking advantage of this rule to use their land for all sorts of activities and he quoted a case of a Golf Course for example and what is more worrying is that if this carries on for 10 years they could possibly say that they have use granted permanently on the basis of the 10 year rule.  A petition has been organised by one of my neighbours conbtaining around 50 signatures which is going to be given to our Parish Council and we intend sending Hugo Swyre our MP a copy in the hope that he can also take up our case.  We await to hear from you. 

Why does this idea matter?

Because it affects the whole country and there is obviously a flaw in the current law which can lead to unnecessary abuse and in our case and no doubt in many others it is causing serious interruption of our enjoyment of the place we live in.  Agricultural land should be used for agriculture.

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27 Responses

  1. Stephen Glazzard says:

    This looks a classic case for a compromise on both sides and if it needs a change in the law then so be it. It is important that there are motocross and offroad facilities available. It enables those interested in the sport and those too young for the road to learn and practice their sport in a relatively controlled environment. Equally having a facility such as this open every Sunday and for the hours stated does not do the sport or the image of the sport any good whatsoever. It would seem sensible to me for the landowner to agree and the council to monitor it for the facility to be open for 4 hours – probably on a Sunday – every other week up to a maximum of the 14 weeks allowed. Those using the facility should appreciate the reasons behind this. If there isn’t some compromise they risk further legislation and losing the facility altogether.

  2. Stephen Glazzard says:

    Re my previous comment. I meant to say probably on a Saturday say 10.30am to 2.30pm.

  3. Martyn says:

    This is a problem up and down the uk.. Thers places to walk your dog, and piss and poo everywer, thers places to take your caravan/tent and leave your litter and campfire allover the countryside, thers hilltops and scramble path’s, bridleways and roads for ramblers, mountains for climbers and kites, glastonbury for drunks and druggies, xmas markets for the germans, parachute jumps for the thrill seekers, but nothin seems to wind up the british more than motocross bikes, if a LANDOWNER wants to provide a safe environment for this hard to achieve legally sport/hobby then why is it such a issue? I would understand if was in a park or didnt have the permission of the owner… Im sick of do-gooders who sit at home knitting causing a row because adrenalin boys & men make a bit of noise and leave tyre prints in mud theyve been alowed to ride on! Stop trying to criminalise! It takes allsorts to make a society, i have £3000 worth of motorbikes sat in my garage wiv nower to ride thanx to moaning dull lfe’d people, it is mine & my 16yr old sons favourite past time, weather permitting we only get 5-6 weekends a yr to go on them, now theyre all tied up in unknown law and paperwrks no1 wants to kno..struggling landowners/farmers could be making extra £s by opening up ther unuesd acres for this much loved hobby… All councils and mps will back the complaints as motocross has no intrest to them… Seems like only lotterywinners and farmers kids the only way to legitamately ride a motocross bike in the uk… Free country? Lol

  4. No says:

    Well I agree totally with the above, I have two boys and partner who are into motor sports especially motorcross I have purchased land for the sole perpose of ppl into motorcross to come and enjoy them self …..!

    • D heal says:

      I agree with the above .. I’ve grown up and worked on farms all my life and seen it from both sides. I’m now an engineer and work in and around towns .. I Appreciate that it being near house is an issue but most tracks are in the middle of no where. I ride myself and enjoy my spare time on my bike . It’s ok for ramblers to roam the land crushing fences leaving gates open and for dog walkers to let their dogs mess for my children to get on them selves and for animals to be chased and distressed . A lot of it it City folk coming into the country and calling the shots .. My land is mine and I do with it as I like , i keep the countryside clean and tidy because it’s my family life .

  5. Sarah says:

    I wish people would lay of mx riders, it’s such a shame to see this sport slowly dieing due to people like this! People are now giving motocross a bad name and running nog local field etc because people (original post) like this moan about personal use tracks, of people allowed more tracks to go up there wouldn’t be half as many problems with motocross as there is atm, so people can camp and party with God knows how many drugs on them at venues like glas and that’s ok but u get on a bike wearing body protection and a good working bike and ur all the names under the sun

  6. Sarah says:

    Anyone know any local fields (away from houses) for sale or rent I could pop a track on by any chance (West mids)

  7. Sweet MX says:

    Hi all I agree with above posts.sad to see people can’t live and let live now days, Anyhoo I am looking for land for sale or rent for a mx/freestyle practice track in surrey/sussex area !!!!!Urgent!!!!

    • len Nugent says:

      are you still looking for land in Sussex for a practice track?
      i have 20 acres , just south of Crawley that i am thinking of putting a practice track on, perhaps you can give me a ring if you are intrested on 01444 220145

      • Joanne Calver says:

        Len, do you still have the land and do you hire it out? My stepson got a scrambler bike for Christmas but were struggling to find somewhere for him to ride it!

  8. David says:


    I live on a 150acre farm in Southampton, it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s an arable farm and barely turns a profit due to its less than ideal size (300+ acres is ideal for crops).

    I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve been passionate about motorcycling since I was 12 when my dad got me a moped to ride on the farm (irony coming up…), since then I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve had over 30 motorcycles, most of which I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve had to ride on the road due to a permanent ban by my own father of riding on the farm (…there!).

    I guess when I read the original post I had to comment, my father still owns the farm that I live on, I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’m 33 now with 3 children all boys. On my middle ones 7th birthday, I bought him a Honda CRF50, which within one hour on his very birthday was banned from the farm because \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\”it is too noisy and will tear up the fields\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\”(imagine a brand new Honda lawnmower, it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s literally that quiet and with About the same power) you can imagine the disappointment, yes it kind of is my fault as I knew what would happen but I just couldn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t believe that someone could be that ignorant, that unfeeling. The pleasure I feel when riding a bike around a little dirt circuit with my boy (now boys) is something so powerful I will never be able to describe it, if balancing the two emotions here, my fathers annoyance versus my pleasure then I really believe my pleasure would outweigh his annoyance 100:1, yes it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s subjective but I would bet my life on it!

    I guess what I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’m getting at is you have to look at things another way, from the other persons perspective, you may be one of them really lucky people that has a hobby or hobbies that don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t annoy anyone like knitting or making models. Mind you annoyance is quite often irrational, my father shoots, that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s really noisy and lethally dangerous but it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s ok because he likes it, I might start finding that annoying just for the sake of it. We do have to compromise though, no one is right and no one is wrong, there has to be give and take, and no one is perfect!

    One final thing, red tape kills everything and we really do live in a grandma state! kids in my area lack anything decent to do and end up in trouble over theft, violence, drug and drink abuse. Imagine if all the energy and passion we all have at that age could actually be used in a positive way. Surely motorcycling is not that bad!

    • Justin Caplen says:

      Let’s build a track in Southampton
      Im 25 Been riding since I was 4 and still to this day cannot believe the lack of tracks that are around, get your father to give up a small bit of land at the furthest point away, profits would be silly

  9. Dale Fletcher says:

    While I am an avid motocross follower, and believe there should be a well organised modest sized motocross track within 30 minutes of most people within the UK, I do believe the industry is letting itself down.

    We were told that strict emission regulations in California was the reason for the development of the modern day four-stroke motocross engine which has largely taken over the sport. However, in many countries in Europe the main issue with MX bikes is the noise, not the emissions!

    As with formula one, the governing bodies such as the ACU, AMCA and BSMA should be laying down agreed rules to reduce noise levels. I admired the stance the AMCA took with the Honda 150, which at the time lost them valuable advertising revenue from Honda. Every couple of years in order to give manufacturers time to recoup investment, lower noise levels should be set. If a manufacturer cannot achieve this, and achieve it in the field and not in a lab, then they would not be permitted to sell their bikes. And please don\’t tell me the bikes will be drained of power, given there is only a handful of riders in the world who can ride a 450 anywhere close to flat out, especially for any period of time. If anything the noise suppression would make the 450 more rideable for most without the need for traction control etc.

    We then need to address those idiots who believe they need a loud after-market exhaust to make them go faster (or perhaps sound faster). Such exhausts should be banned and the riders made to realise that getting fitter, not shutting off half way down the straight, understanding their suspension and investing in tyres will allow them to go infinitely faster for longer.

    It is then up to the event organiser to test each bike for noise within a noise bay before a bike is allowed on the track. Any violation of this and the event would be shut down for the day if a spot check was carried out and a fine implemented.

    MX is a fantastic sport for boys and girls as well as for all ages of adults. It could no doubt be a life-saver for many who find themselves on the road, as most MX riders understand surfaces and cambers better than most. Its just a shame the industry and many of those participating within it seem set on demonising it. If they wake up they will only benefit.

  10. Daz says:

    I stopped riding about 10yrs in my early 20s due to bring hounded by police all the time. I wasnt irresponsible i didnt get to sites by road, i had all the gear n i only road on wasteland. Im 31 now n the places i road on from 10yrs old to 23 were stanton ironworks, watnall brickyard. Plank n leggit field and pride park (notts and derby) these areas are still being rode on illegally with police trying to curb it. Whys there no common sense to provide somewhere to ride in my area that isnt for pros or club riders. Its annnoying as ur threatened with your bike beimg crushed just for persuing a good time.

  11. ash says:

    bore off! let people live.

  12. Andy says:

    The track at marsh green is next to the a30 dual carrigeway, which is concrete and far more noisy than a handful of bikes going around.
    I know exactly where it is, It doesn’t do any harm, you can hardly hear the bikes over the roar of normal traffic.
    And as for being agricultural land, it’s more like a small boggy orchard. So it’s fine to put a whole field next to it with solar panels? Oh, yeah that’s already happened!

  13. Henry says:

    Yawn, grow up and leave them be, it’s next to a main road, not a problem like your making out.

    • Chally says:

      Hate people that are anti motocross. Get a life and stop being so boring. Look at it in the way that kids are doing something constructive and active with there time, not roaming the streets causing trouble.

  14. Willie says:

    We had a couple of practice tracks in our area, that were far from houses in the middle of nowhere, the council shut them for whatever reason,some 150 mx bikes turned up each weekend ,paid £25 and had first aid and a burger van laid on too, now the council are moaning because some rouge riders are riding all over the place and it is having to be policed, why I ask why ,the majority of mx riders spend a lot of
    There money doing a sport they love, they are genuine good characters, councils see the word motorbike and that’s all, it’s disgusting and unfare to riders , just because the sport hasn’t got a ball in it , ,

  15. adrian Young says:

    We are a small speedway league helping youngsters into the sport called the southern development league. we have Weymouth , Exeter, reading , kent, Plymouth and hopefully soon Bristol. We would love just to have a site we can rent or buy between the clubs. We have recognised we are a power together, financially and commercially than apart. If anybody would like to help us .. We would be most grateful please ring me Adrian 07702601338 . We require a site of 6/7 acres.. Most grateful we are open to all offers

  16. adrian Young says:

    David from Southampton are you able to help the southern development league . We could also incorporate Southampton as they want to join us.

    All the best Adrian 07702601338

    • Phil Lovelock says:

      Thai would be awesome, speedway and flat track racing in Southampton/Hampshire? Sign me up!!

  17. Steve Lea says:

    Yes I have an 8 acre site in Hagley.

    • Simon says:

      Steve, having lived in Cookley for last 8yrs and only tracks I know around here are Grafton Manor, which can become very busy for complete novices, I’ve been looking for some where my 12yr Son can practice alone after swapping from electric to petrol last year. Just wondered did your track ever take off? If so can anyone pop along ?

  18. JOHN MORGAN says:

    Anything with wheels and an engine is fair game for moaners. Like the people who buy houses near race tracks, where the tracks have been there for years and years, then they moan about the noise . The end result is unrealistic noise limits and eventually the track closes. The cycle continues. !

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