SINCE my recent move from Southampton to the Dorset side of the New Forest, I have been a less prolific Echo contributor than Cllr David Harrison but the time has come to speak out against the bigotry towards cyclists and cycling displayed by people such as Dorothy Fudge (letter, September 4).

A dictionary definition of ‘pest’ is anything destructive.

Having cycled to and through the Forest for work and pleasure over the past three decades, I have not destroyed or damaged a living thing, nor have I terrified or scared others from enjoying the habitat, not polluted the air we breath nor the peace we crave.

On the contrary, the real ‘wheeled pest’ of the Forest is the ever larger, faster, polluting private motor car.

The Forest rightly attracts visitors from near and far to enjoy its beauty but in so doing they often spoil the very beauty they seek to enjoy by their need to bring a motor vehicle.

If you have the courage, I suggest you cycle along the poorly maintained Ashurst to Lyndhurst cycleroute just inches from motors travelling in excess of 70mph; these are the real pests and bullies of OUR Forest, responsible for such destruction and damage of life and environment.

I realise that I would no more be counted as a qualifying resident than if I lived abroad but the Forest cannot be owned, even by those who live there.

For every bicycle available for hire, one less car will damage the Forest.

For every cyclist making his way there, one less animal is likely to be killed.

If we are to learn anything from the past 100 years, it should be that selfishness, greed and hatred of the few have led to the destruction of many.

I congratulate Cllr Harrison on the restraint shown in his letters and his unwavering stand for what is right for the Forest: that is his, yours and my Forest!

DILYS GARTSIDE, Blandford Forum.