A LEADING horseracing trainer and the Government’s heritage protection body have raised a chain of concerns over a proposal to build a cycle trail beside a prehistoric monument of national importance.

Kevin Ryan, whose successes include the French Derby, said the North York Moors National Park Authority’s plan to build tracks for events such as cyclo-cross races near to his stables would put his racehorses and business at risk. 

The authority’s planning committee is set to consider a proposal to reorganise cycle trails created in 2013 on the plantation to the west of the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre, and build a 2.8km circuit suitable for cycling events as well as a ‘pump track’ – a circuit of rolling bumps and banked corners that can be ridden without pedalling.

After the plan was unveiled, Historic England highlighted how the trail would run beside Cleave Dyke, a territorial boundary of earthworks constructed between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

Historic England said beneath the dyke, the prehistoric ground level would survive and would be likely to contain evidence about how humans lived there which could be destroyed in the development.

The authority’s archaeologist agreed there was “a high potential for nationally significant archaeological remains in the area”, so to address these concerns the park authority has agreed to conduct a heritage assessment.

However, despite the park authority insisting the revamped and new trails would reduce the risk of interaction between cyclists and racehorses, Mr Ryan has urged the planning committee to remember his livelihood relies on the safety and welfare of his horses.

He said any issue with the horses could lead owners to remove their horse to another yard. Mr Ryan said: “We have had two serious injuries to horses in the past year due to the lack of care cyclists have given and this new plan would increase the number even further, greatly increasing the risks to my business.”

An authority spokesman said whilst aiming at improving the opportunities for cycling at Sutton Bank, part of the motivation for the proposal was to reduce conflict between cyclists and horse riders by containing the cycling in a single block of forestry.