The commitment to access for horses and riders is a vital part of the charitable work carried out by The British Horse Society.
The BHS recognises the importance of safe off-road riding not only for our members but for all equestrians. We pledge to keep equestrians safe, horses happy and well, and support the continued growth of our sport and the horse industry which is such an important constituent of our national and local economies.
It is for this reason that we are excited to announce that £25,000 has been earmarked in 2015 to establish a new BHS fund to provide multi-user routes in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Bridleways and Restricted Byways in England and Wales.
Our aim for The British Horse Society Paths for Communities Fund is for it to grow through donations and fundraising events across the UK, so that it can continue to benefit our vital access work in the years ahead.
As of October 2015, we've granted a total of £7,000 towards new bridleways and multi-user routes, and a further £6,580 has been provisionally granted. We've also recieved over £1,500 in donations - which includes money taken from booking onto one of Access training courses or the annual BHS Access Conference.
We're now inviting BHS local committees and affiliated equestrian access groups to put forward bids for funding for new equestrian routes.
This is an exciting development for our access work, one that can make a real difference now for equestrians who want to hack out and carriage drive safely. We have already received applications but look forward to receiving more during the remainder of the year.
Where the fund has gone so far:
Over the last 12 years Ulnes Walton Bridleways Association (UWBA) has worked successfully with the local council and various funding bodies to open new routes through council owned parks and recreational areas.
After refurbishing the Malt Kiln Fold Bridleway into a multi-user track, their next project was to extend the bridlepath around the whole of the park to create a 860 metre circular route; not only increasing the enjoyment of the area, but also linking up other tracks and improving access. The work, totalled £59,000 and £2,000 was acquired from the BHS Paths for Communities fund. The work started in early 2016 and finished in August 2016.
The 'Lorraine Wood Loop' was dedicated after a local rider who had passed away from cancer in 2014. Her daughter, Lisa, andUWBA Lorraine Wood Loop Launch grandchildren attended the official launch, along with Anne Kingston from the Lancashire Environmental Fund, who part funded the project, Mark Weston, Director of Access & Rights of Way and the Mayor of South Ribble Borough Council.
Sue Taylor-Green, Chairman of UWBA, said: "We were absolutely thrilled to get it! We’re so grateful to all our funding bodies and are particularly pleased with the helpfrom the BHS. It may seem daunting at times to fill in some of these forms but the BHS one was fairly straightforward and I can only encourage other groups to apply – if you don’t ask you don’t get!"
Marwell Zoo, Winchester
A tired bridleway in need of renovation at Marwell Zoo was successfully restored on 15 October 2015, thanks to £350 funding given by The British Horse Society (BHS).
The bridleway, which runs from Colden Common to the entrance of the Wildlife Estate in Winchester is an important link from the local highway to other bridleways which run through the estate, and used regularly by locals and customers of the zoo. Bridleway before renovation
The money, along with a matched grant from Hampshire County Council, enabled staff at the zoo and corporate volunteers from Southern Scottish Energy (SSE) to excavate a drainage ditch, compacte a sub-base and provide a level and maintainable surface for all users. The long awaited restoration also meant it was safer for users, as riders previously accessed the network of bridleways through the zoo’s car park, presenting a safety issue.
Marwell Zoo staff and Southern Scottish Energy Corporate Volunteers add a drainage system to the renovated bridleway
Mark Weston, Director of Access, said: “I’m extremely pleased our funding has helped restore the bridleway at Marwell Zoo to a safe condition so riders and the local community can access it safely. The Paths for Communities has now provided valuable match funding for a number of projects.” Marwell Zoo staff and Southern Scottish Energy (SSE) corporate volunteers showing off the renovated bridleway
The bridleway is shown on historical maps dating as far back as the 17th century. At that time and preceding it, the Estate was owned by the Bishops of Winchester and the woodlands formed part of extensive deer emparkments. A boundary to the eastern margin of this emparkment is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), which lies adjacent to one of our bridleways. This bridleway was also once the only route towards the Grade I listed Marwell Hall and onto Bishops Waltham.
The BHS is delighted to announce that during Access Week 2015, the first funds were awarded to support a project that has resulted in the creation of a new bridleway in Somerset.
Dr Phil Wadey, Historic Research Advisor for The British Horse Society and former Chairman of the Society, successfully bid for £500 from the BHS Paths For Communities Fund. The money will see a new mile and a quarter long bridleway at Northaw, Hertfordshire, being physically created and then added to the definitive map, taking walkers, riders and cyclists off the busy Coopers Lane Road and joining existing bridleways together.
New Bridleway off Coopers Lane Road. Phil sought the agreement of the owners, Hertfordshire County Council, and occupiers, the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust for a new path joining two bridleways that came out on Coopers Lane Road. Special thanks are due to the County and Parish Councils for their funding and determination to help local people get off the busy roads.
Phil Wadey said: “It has taken real teamwork across a wide variety of interests to get this path to happen. I am grateful to all who have contributed, and I hope that many walkers, riders and cyclists will be able to enjoy this woodland path in preference to the busy Coopers Lane Road. I hope too that we can continue this excellent path to get even more people off the busy road.”
Thanks to the generosity of local land owner Mr Kong (third from left) of Moor Farm at Hardington Mandeville, who dedicated the bridleway across his land, riders can now link onto Coker Hill Lane, a bridleway which was added to the definitive map last year after a successful application by the South Somerset Bridleways Association.
The Paths for Communities fund, with matched funding from the South Somerset Bridleways Association, paid for new fencing to be installed and a horse friendly gate to be re-positioned to make the route easy to use by all.
How to apply for funding
If you have identified a potential route that would benefit from the fund then please download and complete an application form (Word).
Please send the form in along with a map of the proposed route. If you have any questions about the fund please contact the Access Team on 02476 840515 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We may put you in contact with your local BHS Access Officer who can assist you with the application.
Make a donation
If you wish to donate to the fund to further assist with the creation of these routes then you can do so quickly and securely via JustGiving. Thank you to those that work hard and raised lots of money for the fund, especially during Access Week - we couldn’t do our work without you!