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Access Week Roundup 2015

12 June 2015

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Access Week 2015 has been bigger and better than ever! There have been more events and the money you have raised will go such a long way in helping to defend, extend and promote off road access for equestrians throughout the United Kingdom. Thank you to everyone that organised and attended events throughout the week, and to all those that donated money to the BHS Paths for Communities Fund. Remember, if you have any stories or pictures from Access Week then send them in to us, access@bhs.org.uk.

Here is what you got up to during Access Week:

Huge congratulations to Rose and Emma and their horses Sky, Shadow and Charlie who recently undertook the BHS Great Dragon Ride. Over 16 days the team travelled from North to South Wales, riding on the five routes that make up the Great Dragon Ride. Early into their ride Sky unfortunately went lame and had to be sent back home, he is now recovering well. A friend of Rose and Emma’s offered their pony Charlie to join them for the remainder of their journey. Rose and Emma’s parents were on hand at the end of each day with their equipment and feed for the horses.

The team were met by William Reddaway on their arrival at the finish line. Some of you may remember that William and his horse Strider travelled over 2500 miles around the UK, visiting 30 cathedrals and raising £70,000. The girls came across a few issues on some of the bridleways on the route, finding that they were blocked and out of repair. The BHS access team are looking forward to meeting with the girls to discuss their journey. Rose and Emma raised £180 for BHS Paths for Communities Fund, thanks girls!

Kirklees bridleways group have had a busy couple of weeks, just before Access Week they raised over £2000 by holding a fashion show! The money they raised will be going towards local access projects, and will make a big difference to their local routes. On 24 May the group reintroduced the Pennine Rendezvous Pleasure Ride. The idea behind the ride was to choose a central point for everyone to meet and local groups have to find their way there and back, preferably by a different route each way. The ride originally ran from 1989 to 2003, the new chairman, Mark Corrigan, reintroduced the ride this year to attract more riders to the area. Well done to Kirklees Bridleways Group for their successful access work, we can’t wait to hear about the projects they are able to complete with the funds raised.

South Yorkshire’s Access Week Ride was held on Saturday 30th May from Manor Farm, Upper Midhope. Riders enjoyed country lanes and tracks, surrounded by beautiful moorland on a warm and sunny day. Each rider was given a ‘goody bag’ containing a selection of BHS items including the Access Tool Kit leaflet. Rider Rhiannon Owen said ‘It’s been a lovely ride, thank you very much for organising it’. The venue was by kind permission of Mr & Mrs. Sics. Picture from left to right, Lydia and Smudge, Rhiannon & Ebony, Kay and April.

Christine Hardaker, Assistant Access and Bridleways Officer for Bradford, West Yorkshire organised a route launch for a new link to a bridleway through Bucks Wood. This new link was created because at one end of the route it emerged directly onto a road, making it unsafe for users. Christine was approached by a member of Friends of Bucks Wood, and along with Bob Thorp of Bradford Woodlands, they marked out a suitable route.

In March, Christine organised a clearance party to remove all the overgrown vegetation. The rest of the groundwork was carried out by a Community Pay Back group who installed a horse stile and completed the removal of branches. Christine organised a small launch to celebrate the opening of the route, Christine only anticipated a dozen or so riders coming along to launch but word had got out and around 40 riders arrived, it shows how much this new route means to all the local riders in the area! Many thanks to Christine and the rest of the team for their hard work to get this new route open to the public! We hope you all enjoy using it!
Opening of new route in Bucks wood

Congratulations to all involved with the official launch of the new Bucks wood route!

Peak Horsepower members, including BHS Trustee, Diane Tranter, enjoyed a fabulous ride on the Long Causeway for Access Week. Repairs to the route, and action taken to protect those repairs with a Traffic Regulation Order , are very welcome, and Peak Horsepower is grateful to the Peak District National Park Authority, Derbyshire County Council, and all the local people and organisations who have worked together to make this route safely accessible to equestrians again. Pictures show before the route repairs and during the Access Week ride.

Five Pits Horsewatch and Countryside Access Group held their Access Week fun ride on 24 May. The ride was a great success and a total of £297 was raised. This money will be equally split between the groups own project, the Canter Track Fund, and BHS Access.

Access Week 2015 in Wokingham

Newly affiliated Wokingham Bridleways Group held a peaceful protest March through Wokingham to highlight and support the need for more off road riding routes for equestrians. Nicola Greenwood, BHS Access and Bridleways Officer has been leading this campaign since 2013 and is hoping that the outcome from the March will help towards providing safe off-road routes for all. In total 40 horse and riders and 30 people on foot arrived for the March. Wokingham Bridleways Group have also created a petitio; if 100,000 signatures are gained then this will be debated in Parliament. Please sign this petition to support this great cause.

BHS Manchester were very busy throughout Access Week, raising a fantastic £600 for BHS Access. They held pleasure rides at two locations, both of which were fully booked. Their first event was held at Pennington Flash Country park, Leigh. With over 30 riders taking part, many returning to the ride after its great success in 2014 also for access week, to enjoy the great off road hacking, enjoyable bridleways and unique canal towpath along with the great views. The day stayed dry which encouraged most riders to take part in a second lap completing a 10 mile circuit in total. On Sunday 31 May, BHS Manchester held their second event at Greater Manchester’s Carrington Moss. 25 Riders took part in the 12 mile ride, enjoying mostly off-road routes along local paths and tracks, passing a horse friendly café at a livery yard and also enjoying a section of the Trans Pennine Trail. BHS Suffolk raised an amazing £687 during Access Week. 80 Riders took part in the eight mile off-road route. The weather wasn’t great but that didn’t stop the riders having an enjoyable day. Well done to everyone involved!

Nikki Inglis BHSII, organised a number of escorted rides around the beautiful countryside of Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire. The rides were a great success and introduced local riders to some of the off-road routes available to them. Thank you to Nikki for giving up the time to run these rides for Access Week!

BHS staff go hacking at Radway EC

The BHS team certainly didn’t miss out on all the Access Week fun! A group of staff from HQ travelled to Radway Riding School, home of Charity and Hope from the BHS 2014 Faith, Hope and Charity appeal. They went on a short hack out in the countryside to celebrate the off-road routes we have and to raise awareness about the importance of equestrians having access to safe off-road riding routes. It was an enjoyable day for all, especially getting Mark Weston, Director of Access on an 18hh horse! Next year we hope to hold an even bigger Access Week event from BHS HQ and we would also love your ideas on what we can do to help raise awareness and funds for off-road riding. If you have any ideas then please do get in touch with us!

The Gaddesden Estate Park and Ride in Hemel Hempstead was run on 31 May for Access Week and organised by The BHS, Riding for the Disabled, Gaddesden Estate and Hertfordshire County Council all working in partnership. Despite the terrible weather, people were not deterred and some 30 horses and their riders took part in the ride on the beautiful estate which was a great success. The ride was oversubscribed, and due to the great feedback, it is hoped a larger ride will be organised for next month.

Staffordshire Moorlands Bridleways Group raised a brilliant £500 during their Access Week event. 58 riders took part in the ride and did not let the wet weather dampen their spirits! The day was enjoyed by all and the money raised will be going into the paths for communities fund, so thank you all for your hard work! On 30 May North and West Kent committee had three organised rides on the North Downs, east of Maidstone, including a route for orienteering practice.

Those that joined the day thoroughly enjoyed themselves and everyone managed to escape the rain! After the rides an excellent BBQ was had, with the added satisfaction that the event raised about £300 for Access and Welfare. The committee gave two Access Achievement Awards which were presented at the Kent Local Access Forum meeting. One was awarded to Michele Snoding, an officer in the County Rights of Way department, in gratitude for many years of quick responses and helpfulness; the other to Kirstie Williams from Kent Highways for managing to get signs (route for pedal cycles, pedestrians and horses) installed beside West Malling Bypass. The committee had argued for these signs for nine years, Kirstie got them paid for and put up in six months - Bravo Kirstie!

The Society is delighted to announce during Access Week that the first funds from the Paths for Communities Fund have been awarded to support a project that has resulted in the creation of a new bridleway in Somerset.

Thanks to the generosity of local land owner Mr Kong of Moor Farm, 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 Society's 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 repositioned to make the route easy to use by all.

Horses Inside out

Mendip Bridleways and Byways association (MBBA) held an event that was slightly different in order to raise funds for their work. They organised a seminar with Gillian Higgins, founder of Horses Inside Out. The seminar involves painting horses to show their skeletal and muscular systems anatomy working on the flat and over fences. 200 people attended the seminar and MBBA secretary Ginnie Jones said, “It was amazing! We had over 200 spectators that night and you could have heard a pin drop!! It is the biggest demo MBBA has ever organised and well worth the effort.”

The bridleways group will be donating £250 of the money raised to the BHS Paths for Communities Fund, the rest will go towards the clearance and surface improvements of a UUR in their area.

Access Week 2015 has been our biggest and best yet, current figures show that an amazing £5,000 has been raised, approximately half of which has been donated to the BHS Paths for Communities fund, and half for group funds to be used on their local access work.

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