Rufford Ford could be permanently closed following TikTok video craze

Rufford Ford has been closed to traffic for the last year, and it could become permanent
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

A Nottinghamshire ford which sparked a TikTok and YouTube craze could be permanently closed under proposals from the county council.

Rufford Ford became famous for online videos of vehicles splashing through the water – or getting stuck midway.

But the authorities said some of the videos led to dangerous driving and anti-social behaviour from filmmakers.

The location attracted so much traffic in 2022 that Nottinghamshire County Council temporarily closed it at the request of the police.

The public will now be asked through a consultation whether it should be shut permanently under a Traffic Regulation Order.

The gates and changed signs would cost around £44,000.

The ford by Rufford Mill and County Park first shot to fame in 2020, when a local student’s YouTube videos went viral.

There are now more than than 10,000 YouTube videos, 8,700 on TikTok, 4,500 on Instagram and 3,500 on Facebook which feature the landmark.

The police raised safety concerns after vehicles increasingly drove through the Ford at speed while people regularly stood in the middle of the road to film.

One motorcyclist who drove through the ford at high speed in 2022 was thrown over his handlebars and seriously injured.

Councillor Neil Clarke (Con), Nottinghamshire County Council’s Portfolio holder for Environment and Transport, said: “The priority of the council is public safety. There have been many incidents where people have turned the ford into a spectacle.

“It became an attraction and wasn’t being used for its original purpose of getting from A to B. It became a destination in itself – we would see the same vehicle drive through it time after time.

“The general feedback from local residents since it closed has been positive. They prefer the inconvenience of an extra three or four miles rather than the spectacle of unwanted visitors.

“Some people might think it is spoiling fun, but our first duty is to keep people safe.

“Closing the ford permanently might well encourage more people to visit Rufford Mill as they will be able to enjoy a nicer view without the danger of being run over.”

The footbridge would remain open to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

Cllr Clarke said that if the ban wasn’t made permanent, the council would have to build a bridge over the ford to preserve public safety.

“That has lots of issues in itself, not least the expense and altering the whole nature of the ford. It would be completely impractical,” he said.

The date of a formal consultation will be announced soon, and residents can take part through the Nottinghamshire County Council website.

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