Success Stories

We are committed to defending and increasing the need for off-road riding and carriage driving by recording legal rights, preserving and reinstating routes.

From changing a lock on a gate to creating new routes, our brilliant team of Access and Bridleways Officers (ABO) and affiliated Equestrian Access Groups (EAG) work continuously to promote, defend and extend our equestrian rights of way. Have a look at just some of the amazing work that's being done in your area.

Interested in helping? Then have a look as to how you can join an equestrian group or volunteer with us!

Mounting Block Added Thanks to Highways England

Horse riders in Chilworth celebrated the official opening of a new safe way to use a bridleway bridge over the M27 near Southampton.

New mounting blocks have been installed either side of the Chilworth Drove bridge by Highways England after requests from the BHS, to allow horse riders to easily dismount and safely use the bridge with their horses.

Highways England route sponsor John Henderson said: “Safety is at the core of everything that we do. When the concerns were raised about the height of the bridge parapet for horse riders, we identified that a solution was to install these mounting blocks to allow horse riders to easily dismount and safely use the bridge. We are pleased that the local equestrian community have welcomed the improvements and thank them for their patience while we carried out the work.”

The new mounting blocks were officially opened by Caroline Nokes MP for Romsey and Southampton North, who attended with her horse, and Gold member Samantha Northcott who also attended with her horse and worked collaboratively with Highways England and the BHS.

Historical Bridleway Restored for Horse Riders

A bridleway in Silkstone can now be enjoyed by horse riders and cyclists, thanks to a BHS volunteer.

Gale Jacques, BHS Access and Bridleways Officer for Barnsley, used maps dating back to 1820 to correctly record on the definitive map what was being shown as a footpath.

Riders can now enjoy the circular route through Hugset Wood in Yorkshire and under the M1 instead of having to ride illegally on a footpath or turn around. Gale provided evidence from 12 local riders who had ridden the route for over 20 years, and historical maps which showed the route was a bridleway.

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council stated the route was most likely recorded incorrectly when the M1 was constructed.

Gale said: “Other riders and I around the area have ridden this route for years so it’s great to have it correctly recorded as a bridleway on the definitive map.

“I’d like to thank the equestrians who gave evidence of where they had been riding and Georgina Hartley, County Access & Bridleways Officer for her support in my first application.”

Mark Weston, Director of Access and Rights of Way for The British Horse Society, said: “Congratulations Gale, and all our volunteers who correct anomalies on their Council’s definitive map to increase equestrian routes. I would urge everyone to check their routes - just because you ride a route doesn’t mean it’s correctly recorded on the map”.

Riders have until 1 January 2026 to record such rights of way. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, states that pre-1949 routes must be recorded on a definitive map, or they will be extinguished. This will mean a loss of an estimated 20,000 routes. To find out more about the 2026 deadline and how to save routes in your area visit the 2026 page.

MOD warning sign

BHS and MOD Collaborate to Produce Safety Information

In early 2016 we collaborated with The Ministry of Defence (MOD) to produce a video advising people how to access MOD land safely. As well as the video the MOD also created the article: Back to Basics - Public Safety Messages on Training Estate



Somerset Bridleway Upgraded by 100T Stone Donation

MBBA 100T stone bridleway

Affiliated EAG, Mendip Bridleways & Byways Association (MBBA) have restored the bridleway behind Ashley Farm in Downhead, Somerset, thanks to a fantastic collaboration with Aggregate Industres.

The popular right of way which links into a network of quiet bridleways and footpaths would become boggy and slippery when wet, effectively closing the route for a number of months of the year.

MBBA 100T bridleway after

The collaboration included a 100 tonne donation of stone. Special thanks to Norman Baker, the contractor from Radstock who completed the work and the result is an all- weather track for everyone to enjoy.  Nature will reclaim the surface and it will quickly blend into its surroundings; as did the first phase which MBBA very successfully carried out in 2012.

Jo Rossiter, Chair of MBBA, said: “MBBA has done a splendid job in tackling a big project.  These improvements will mean a lot to all the local people who walk and ride this network of routes and it will now allow easy access for all, rather than just those brave enough to chance getting stuck in the mud!

“By improving this considerable length of track, with the help of Aggregate Industries, it is our way as horse riders, of saying thank you to the local community.”

Access Success in Folkton, North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire County Council opened up an old bridleroad from the 1800s, after a successful public inquiry. Old Fordon Road was originally a bridleroad and showing on the Folkton Inclosure Award in 1807. However, during the 1950's when local authorities were updating their definitive map it was incorrectly classified as a footpath and a short stretch of the rights of way was removed. So when a property through which the short stretch ran was sold, the new owners promptly locked the gate.

After years of pressure on the County Council by the parishioners and local riders the case finally went to public inquiry and is now recorded correctly. The owners still refused to remove the padlock but North Yorkshire County Council served notice on them and it is now correctly marked and free to use. The BHS still has a Defintive Map Modification order (DMMO) application outstanding to upgrade the long footpath section to bridleway, much needed to access the bridleway network on the Wolds.

Catriona Cook, Regional Access and Bridleways Officer for Yorkshire, said: "It is wonderful after all these years of lobbying the council and researching for the evidence that was produced at the public inquiry, that at last part of this old road has been returned to the riding public. It makes all the effort worthwhile".

Vanessa Woodhead riding through freshly mowed oil seed rape crop

Rider and Access Officer work together to clear bridleway in Yorkshire

BHS member Vanessa Woodhead worked with her local access officer, Derek Hawkins (ABO for Rotherham)  to secure the mowing of a path through an oil seed rape crop, which was obstructing the bridleway. 

This story just goes to show that ordinary riders can get things done!

BHS Advice On Using Off-Road Gates

Gate Trial

The BHS have released a short, informative and easily accessible video advising riders on how to use a gate when riding off-road.

The video demonstrates the key principles of how to safely open, while mounted, the varying types of gate – those opening towards you, away from you, and a self-closing gate. It can be found on YouTube and on our website.

More than 90 incidents involving horse and riders have been reported to the BHS since November 2010, although the Society believes there have been many more that riders have not reported. Gates are a common obstacle for riders to negotiate, due to their use in controlling stock and dividing boundaries.

If you are struggling with gates when you and your horse ride off-road, perhaps team up with a confident buddy who will ride out with you and practice using them safely. British Horse Society Regional Access Bridleway Officer for the North of England, Sue Rogers recently ran a ‘gates & fords course’ which was a great success. If you would like us to arrange something similar in your area, please get in touch at and we will try to find a nearby BHS group, centre or volunteer who might be able to help you.

If riders experience problems with the gates themselves, or encounter one that is difficult to use, please report it to the local authority so that they can be rectified. If no resolution is found, contact the BHS who will support you to rectify the problem. If you are unfortunate enough to experience an incident involving a gate, please report this on the BHS’s dedicated incident facility.

Kirklees Information Day

Keen cyclist Clr Martyn Bolt (pictured) saddled up at the recently approved BHS livery yard, Calder Farm in Mirfield. He was taken out by stables manager Nancy Walker (pictured) along the bridleways to see some of the problems horse riders face.

Martyn also spoke to Mark and Bev Corrigan from Kirklees Bridleways Group, who held an information day at the stables. Clr Bolt said: “As a non-horse rider I found it very useful going out with Nancy to get a perspective of things straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were!

You can’t fully understand the problems until you saddle up. I’ve raised the issue with Kirklees Council to get a work group out to cut vegetation back and raise some money for drainage and resurfacing. So many people enjoy the countryside, so we need to make sure it’s as accessible as possible”. 

10 Minute Challenge!Unusable to usable in 10 minutes flat!

What do you think you could do in 10 minutes?  Tack a horse up? Fill a hay net? Make a round of teas? What about clearing a completely blocked and unusable gate!

That’s exactly what someone from Shibden and District Bridleways Association has done. Using an electric hedge trimmer they now have an easy to use, accessible gate*. We’re all aware of the cuts councils are making, leaving some bridleways, byways and restricted byways in need of a bit of TLC. Well done guys for taking it upon yourselves to clear away your paths. Remember, as an affiliated bridleway group with the BHS you’re insured for events you organise and notify us by email

Not sure what other benefits we offer? A full list is on our website. *Please always ensure you have the permission of the landowner before instigating any clearance work, the correct health and safety measures in place, sufficient insurance cover and you've notified the local authority.

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