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Information on riding out in the UK during Covid-19

The British Horse Society is closely monitoring the Government’s advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak. Read our statement on the most recent Government Covid-19 advice here.

Government's advice

England

Bridleways and other rights of way remain open. Please though follow this advice:

The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low as long as people follow the Government’s instructions to maintain social distancing. But if possible try to avoid using footpaths, bridleways etc that may take you through a farmstead or other rural business where social distancing may be difficult.

Landowners do not have the legal right to block or obstruct public rights of way. However, in very limited circumstances where large numbers of people are using such routes, landowners may consider the following measures:

  • Tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that walkers do not need to touch the gate.
  • Temporarily displaying polite notices that encourage users to respect local residents and workers by following social distancing guidelines and consider using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools.
  • Offering an alternative route around gardens and farmyards only where it is safe to do so (you must gain permission from relevant landowners and make sure the route is safe for users and livestock) provided that the original right of way is maintained.

Wales

Guidance on exercise has been published which provides greater clarity over type and duration of acceptable forms of exercise, and gives further advice on the use of travelling by vehicle for exercising. The guidance also acknowledges that people with specific health conditions or disabilities may benefit from outdoor exercise more than once a day, and lifts the restrictions in these circumstances:

Specific guidance on the Coronavirus Regulations in relation to rights of way and access land, along with a centralised list of links to individual Authority closures is now available on the Welsh Government website via the following links:

Scotland

Northern Ireland

Isle of Man

Information for land owners

Covid 19 is creating numerous issues across numerous areas for all of us. A major concern for yard owners has been around Rights of Way and how the public use them safely whilst also taking due regard for the farmers who work there (many of whom are vulnerable).

After extensive lobbying, Defra has published updated guidance on Public rights of Way and Covid-19. In addition Defra has developed wording for signs that yard owners can use on public rights of way that pass through gardens, farmyards or stables.

There are two signs available:

One makes members of the public using the right of way aware that they can use an alternative path.

The other is for when there is not an alternative path available but makes members of the public aware that the path is in close proximity to people’s homes and their families.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ADVICE & INFORMATION FOR EQUESTRIANS

Please read our information and advice for horse owners and business owners during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak

 

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