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.
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".
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
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 email@example.com 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.