"Sun shining, skylarks singing and a lovely route you had planned." These were some of the kind words written to the organiser and stewards of the BHS Bedfordshire Ride Out UK pleasure ride, and a true reflection of the weeks events.
Ride Out UK week was celebrated in BHS eastern region through collaboration with volunteers from all aspects of the region - from Cambridgeshire County Council, through to The Ramblers in Norfolk, and of course our very own BHS volunteers. Ride Out UK week would not have been possible without the commitment and team work of all those involved.
Helen Denny (pictured with her friend Shelley Tebbutt) was one of the 138 riders who took part in a ride which offered five, ten, seventeen or twenty two miles on the superb network of bridleways in North Bedfordshire. £500 has been contributed to the national access fund and the rest of the proceeds will be used for Bedfordshire access initiatives. The routes all used public bridleways and small country lanes that can be ridden at any time – as indeed part of the objective of the ride is to encourage riders to get out and explore the bridleway network. The map can be obtained from BHS Bedfordshire and parking is available at The College Equestrian Centre, Keysoe.
Ride Out UK week was marked by BHS Norfolk with an event aimed to support historic researchers to get started with some active research. Ten volunteers from both the BHS and The Ramblers joined forces to take a look at old maps and research lost rights of way in their local area. Using a variety of maps from First Edition Ordnance Survey and Tithe maps, through to some old estate agency surveyors maps which were kindly brought along, they were able to identify a number of possible routes worthy of further investigation. With less than ten years to go before the routes are lost unless they are claimed, this essential piece of work will help to get them back on the map and get more riders safely off the busy roads. If you would like to find out more about the work being undertaken in Norfolk, or would like to volunteer your time to help with essential research tasks, please drop BHS Norfolk an email to Helen.
In Cambridgeshire, BHS volunteers worked with the County Council to clear byways before the Fox Pleasure Ride. Horse boxes arrived promptly on the morning of the ride, with keen riders tacking up their mounts and eager to start. The Cambridgeshire BHS committee worked seamlessly to distribute bibs and maps for the ride, whilst stewards on the course were at key positions ready with a smile and a helping hand. Riders returned having had a fantastic time riding off road, and enjoyed the scenery and bridge over the water. Everyone enjoyed a hot drink and cake afterwards, and rosettes were given to all riders who took part.
BHS Suffolk also held a Park and Ride to promote local access with 12 riders taking part. The ride was well planned and riders enjoyed a scenic route through the Suffolk countryside.
Ride Out UK week was a huge success for all in the East of England. A big thank you to all of our volunteers, local councils, riders, friends, family and all those who contributed to make the events a success.