Multi-millionaire Duke of Devonshire hires security guards to stop cyclists riding through his 30,000-acre Bolton Abbey estate
- Cycling UK claims its members are being denied access to Bolton Abbey estate
- Peregrine Cavendish, the 12th Duke of Devonshire, is worth an estimated £880m
- Cyclists greeted by guards ‘more appropriately employed outside nightclubs’
An aristocrat is embroiled in a war with cyclists after ‘hiring security guards’ to stop them from cycling through his estate.
Peregrine Cavendish, the 12th Duke of Devonshire who is worth an estimated £880million, has stopped cyclists from riding through Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales.
Cycling UK alleges its members are being denied access to the 30,000-acre estate, claiming they are being met by security guards, ‘more appropriately employed outside of nightclubs.’
Critics say the Duke of Devonshire’s estate claims an inheritance tax exemption in return for granting public access and are now threatening to involve the HMRC.
The Cavendish family is one of Britain’s wealthiest aristocratic families (pictured, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire posing in the grounds of the family estate in Derbyshire)
The charity claim that under terms of the relief the Duke receives, the estate must provide access to a series of public roads and permissive footpaths and bridleways crossing the land.
They say access and its public benefit is being denied to members of the public and are calling on HMRC to investigate the estate’s claims for tax exemption.
The Duke of Devonshire’s family are custodians of Chatsworth House, which is due to reopen next month, as well as Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales.
Cycling UK claims the estate is attempting to stop cyclists using a bridge leading to a popular cafe called the Cavendish Pavilion.
It says the bridge has been used for decades by cyclists but claims the path has been blocked, with security guards employed to prevent riders from crossing.
The charity’s head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore said: ‘Cycling UK looked into this matter a little closer, we found we were really only scratching the surface and that the Devonshire estate had been failing to provide access to cyclists to estate land for years.
‘This is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Yorkshire and it’s easy to see why the estate attracts some 400,000 visitors a year.
‘Cyclists should be able to enjoy the special qualities of our National Parks, instead they are being faced by security guards more appropriately employed outside of nightclubs.’
Sharon Mcauley, from nearby Ilkley, has been visiting the estate with her family for years and feels cyclists are being ‘unfairly singled out.’
She said: ‘I have used this route for over 20 years without problems and cannot understand the recent change.
‘I live locally and feel most aggrieved at this loss of a route. We have usually stopped for a coffee at the Cavendish so contribute towards the estate.’.
Alistair Preston, a company director from Leeds, was also caught out by the change.
He said: ‘As a result of this closure we missed Bolton Abbey from our recent ride itinerary.
‘Our group of four people did not get a coffee and a cake at the Cavendish Pavilion, and they lost out on £20-£30 from us alone. We would not mind walking with the bikes from the gate to the cafe – it’s only 50 yards.’
The Cavendish family is one of Britain’s wealthiest aristocratic families and also own Chatsworth House in the Peak District.
Chatsworth has been home to the family since 1549 – and used as the backdrop to two Keira Knightley films – 2005’s Pride and Prejudice and 2008 flick the Duchess.
The late supermodel Stella Tennant, who died in December last year shortly after her 50th birthday, was the niece of the Duke.
The Duke of Devonshire’s estate and HMRC have both been approached for comment.