Despite the wintry weather, almost 50 people attended the East of England Equestrian Access Conference in Cambridgeshire on the 17 March, to learn from expert speakers and to help fundraise for the Paths for Communities Fund, which is used to extend, restore and create multi-user routes in the UK.
Delegates heard from Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access, who provided an update on BHS lobbying, Regional Access & Bridleways Officer (East of England) Alison Balfour-Lynn and County Access & Bridleways Officer (Cambridgeshire) Lynda Warth on the importance of safe off-road routes and tackling problems with off-road routes locally, before receiving a whistle-stop tour of the 2026 cut-off and historical research from Historical Research Advisor, Phil Wadey, and having a helpful demonstration from BHS Access Special Projects Officer, Geri Coop, on how to use Map My Hack, Ride Maps and the Project 2026 webpages.
Following lunch and a chance to network with other delegates and speakers, BHS Access & Bridleways Officer (Epsom & Walton Downs) Hugh Craddock tackled the complex topic of access to commons, before Zaria Bettles, Rights of Way Officer for Cambridgeshire County Council and fellow horse rider, shared her insight on equestrian access from a local authority’s perspective.
Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access, said: “We are thrilled that, despite the return of the ‘Beast from the East’, so many people were able to join us for this conference. Our range of speakers offered something for everyone, and it was great to see a room full of people invigorated to improve and protect their riding routes.
The feedback we received was brilliant, and we are really glad that people were able to take useful information away from the day, which they will now be able to put into practise. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended and to our expert speakers for making the day such a success.”
You can download the notes and presentations from the day here:
- Mark Weston – An update on the work of BHS Access
- Alison Balfour-Lynn – Tackling issues with routes
- Lynda Warth – Establishing equestrian access to new routes
- Phil Wadey – 2026
- Geri Coop - Introduction to Project 2026
- Hugh Craddock – Access to commons and sources of data
- Zaria Bettles – A local authority approach