BIKERS have won a High Court battle to allow them to ride on dirt tracks around Stonehenge.

Motorcyclists used to be able to ride freely on byways around the historic stones, meaning they could view them from afar without paying up to £17.50 for a ticket.

Wiltshire Council introduced new measures in July 2018 to ban motorcycles and cars from the tracks to “improve the experience” and “prevent damage”.

Campaign group The Trail Riders Fellowship launched High Court action against the council, claiming they were “monopolising” the famous view.

And last month the court ruled in the riders’ favour, saying the council failed to consult the right people before the ban. So now motorists are once again able to use the minor ‘dirt’ routes close to Stonehenge and the A303 to get good views and photos, without paying for a ticket.

John Vannuffel, from the campaign group, said: “We have collectively sent a very strong message to Wiltshire Council and others that monopolisation of access is not popular or welcomed by the public.We see that Wiltshire Council was diminishing public access as a means to monopolising enjoyment of the area and the view of the Stones.

“It is apparent that an exclusive approach is being taken to the management of the area, with membership of the council’s club being confined to those that subscribe to aims of denying public access.”

Members of The Trail Riders Fellowship campaigns for open access to roads in England and Wales.

It claimed the council was deliberately prohibiting motor vehicles from viewing one of Britain’s most sacred heritage sites.

The minor routes - or byways - involved are close to Stonehenge and the A303, and do not have tarmac surfaces.

It was legal to drive a car or motorbike along them but they were more regularly used by walkers and horse riders to get a good view or photos of the stones.

The challenge was heard on November 21 and 22 and was funded by £15,810 raised online.

When it introduced the closure, Wiltshire Council said it shut the routes for 18 months to “prevent further damage to the byways and the adjoining World Heritage Site and preserve/improve the experience around Stonehenge for visitors now and in the future”.

But the High Court decision, which was issued on December 21, said Wiltshire Council had “failed to consult those” who could be affected. Mr Justice Swift said they did not consult the Freight Transport Association, the Road Haulage Association and Wiltshire Police when they should have.