Committee Collaboration Clears Bridleways
As council’s budgets decrease, the BHS Wiltshire Committee has created a new partnership with the Wiltshire County Council to help clear overgrown rights of way.
The cash-strapped council received funds to cut back overgrown vegetation and to clear seven routes in Wiltshire. The routes were specially selected as they connected to other useable rights of way, extending the hacking options for equestrians in the area.
The council agreed to utilise their own contractors and insurance and took responsibility for informing the landowner and overseeing the work.
The project has worked very successfully with four of the seven routes chosen cleared back. There will be no further need for maintenance of this variety on these routes for at least two years; and, with clearance, will come increased use, which will itself keep the newly cleared routes open. The three remaining routes will be cleared next year, once further funds are raised.
To highlight the funds provided each route will be marked with a BHS roundel to let others know that the British Horse Society has helped to restore the once overgrown and impassable rights of way.
Graham Bennett, Chair of the BHS Wiltshire Committee, said: “We are delighted with the progress of this initiative. It promises to bring significant benefits to bridleway users in Wiltshire.
"The plan now is to try to raise funds each year to continue with this work. BHS Wiltshire are very pleased to form this partnership with Richard Broadhead and his Team and grateful to them for the enthusiastic way in which they have embraced this idea and helped to turn it into reality.”
To provide funding for 2017, the BHS Wiltshire Committee are arranging two fundraising pleasure rides: 21 May over the beautiful Fonthill Estate and another across the stunning countryside around Alton Barnes on the 17 September.
Graham Bennett added: “If you would like to suggest a bridleway for clearance please get in touch with your local BHS Wiltshire Access & Bridleways Officer. Above all, please do join the rides so that we can raise the money to continue this initiative. We need your help to keep this going!”
Mark Weston, Director of the Access and Rights of Way department for The British Horse Society, said: “This is a brilliant initiative between the Society’s Committee and the local authority. When funding is low for authorities it’s time to club together and help in every way we can to ensure routes are open for riders, walkers and cyclists to enjoy.”