Over the last three months the Peak Horsepower bridleway group (PHP) has won three new bridleways. Working with the Peak District Green Lanes Alliance (PDGLA), it has defeated Byway Open to all Traffic (BOAT) claims on two important Peak District riding routes, which had been so badly damaged by off-road 4x4s and motor bikes that riders had stopped using them. Both are now bridleways. The defeated BOAT claims were on the route known as Brushfield, a magnificent high-level route rising from the valley of the Peak District's river Wye, and on Monksdale Lane, part of the Limestone Way near the Peak District village of Tideswell.
The Brushfield route has had national attention. It was featured in a recent BBC Countryfile programme about off-roading, and the BHS Access and Rights of Way Committee visited it in 2014 to see for themselves the type of damage which 4x4s and motorbikes are doing to riding routes in the Peak District.
The third new bridleway connects Ashover with Matlock Forest and allows riders to avoid two busy main roads. It had been used by riders for as long as anyone could remember, but its rights of way status was called into question in 2008 when residents started to challenge riders. In 2013, the landowner attempted to deter riders by erected three sets of gates and an unguarded cattle grid with narrow pedestrian gates, all without highway authority permission.
PHP was a party at the public inquiries into all three routes, and in each case the evidence assembled from riders was critical in establishing the routes as bridleway.
Since PHP started to work with PDGLA on BOAT and bridleway claims in the Peak District it has secured six new bridleways. Other routes are in the DMMO pipeline.