NO CYCLING' signs on Ilkley Moor have been torn down just hours after they were put up.

Bradford Council countryside and rights of way officers placed the signs near Backstone Beck because of damage believed to have been caused by mountain bikes.

But they were quickly torn down or uprooted. Now the council has pledged to repair the damaged area and put up more signs.

A council chief has also revealed plans for approved cycling areas on the moor in an attempt to keep the bikes off the easily-damaged parts.

The issue of mountain biking on the moor caused heated debate last year over the rights of everyone to enjoy the landscape.

Some walkers accused careless mountain bikers of tearing up the soft ground and building their own obstacles on downhilling' tracks they had created.

There were calls for Bradford Council to enforce rules banning cyclists from legally designated urban common land.

Others said cyclists should also have the right to enjoy the scenic and traffic-free open space of the moor, and pointed out that the council conceded the use of bikes on the moor in its Ilkley Moor Management Plan.

The installation of no cycling signs saw Bradford use its right to withdraw permission on the Backstone Beck area because of damage caused to the ground.

Countryside and Rights of Way Service manager, Danny Jackson, said: "Legally, Ilkley Moor is an urban common, which means it can be used by walkers and horse riders, but not cyclists.

"However, we are considering making some provision on parts of the moor for mountain bikers and are planning talks with the International Mountain Bike Association and Natural England to see if there are ways to allow some cycling in agreed areas.

"The use of the moor for downhilling', as has happened at Backstone Beck, is not acceptable and will not be part of that provision - responsible mountain bikers agree that this activity does not help their cause. We plan to ensure that the damage at this site is repaired, then put up more signs."

A regular walker on the moor captured photographs soon after the damage to the no cycling' signs, and also took photographs of vandalised trees, and evidence of a camp fire on the moor.

The countryside service recently warned about starting fires or using barbecues on the moor, after a fire close to Ilkley Tarn last month threatened to reduce more of the protected moor to ashes.