A Cambridgeshire CC decision to reclassify two public paths (RUPPS) as byways open to all traffic (BOATS) is being challenged in the high court.
A Cambridgeshire villager wants to keep two nature trails which run close to his home free from four-wheel-drive vehicles and scrambling bikes.
The tracks are said to be the home of a colony of rare great crested newts as well as other wildlife and many wild flowers
After two local inquiries, an environment ministry planning inspector confirmed Cambridgeshire CC's decision to reclassify the two tracks as BOATS, open to all vehicular traffic.
Mr Burton said he did so on the basis of 'Enclosure Awards' dating back to the early 19th Century by which Enclosure Commissioners had designated one of the tracks as 'a public carriageway and highway' and the other as a 'public highway or road'.
But he told the court that the commissioners could never have foreseen that the classification would one day open the tracks to use by four-wheel-drive vehicles and scrambling bikes.
One of the tracks was so steep that it could never at any time have been suitable for use even by horse-drawn carts, he said.
The hearing before Mr Justice Sedley continues.