01 May, 2016, the first warm day of Spring, heralded the early morning opening of the equestrian access into the Country Park.
From left: Jane Greatorex founder and Honorary President of Shelford & District Bridleways Group (SDBG), Lynda Warth BHS CABO Cambridgeshire, Sarah Lummis SDBG Chair, Becky Green Park Warden, Wildlife Trust and Sue Rogers, Swavesey Bridleways Group
Original designs for equestrian access into the park were submitted by Jane, Sue and Sue Jeggo way back in 2006 but claims that the access bridge was not suitable for horses as it did not meet current equestrian standards meant that access for the horses was dropped by the planning teams. Riders only became aware of this decision years later. Lynda then took up the case and established that the bridge was suitable because it was to standard when it was constructed. Then the challenge began to find the correct authority to confirm the status. This was finally achieved with the help and support of Alison Balfour-Lynn, BHS RABO East.
As all access on the park is permissive, agreement had to be gained from the landowners, Grosvenor Gt. Britain and Ireland and the managers, the Wildlife Trust. Andrew Sharpe of Grosvenor turned out to be the ‘Man from Delmonte’ and said ‘Yes’!
Becky Green, the newly appointed Wildlife Trust warden enthusiastically welcomed the inclusion of horses on the park and has worked with Lynda and Andrew to plot, mark and prepare the route of wonderful tracks around the Hauxton side of the park which are now available to riders. Plans are already in place to provide access on the Granchester side of the park later in the year when the route becomes safe from the construction work. This will provide a much needed link between the Haslingfield bridleways and Great Shelford permissive network of bridleways with the Trumpington Farms’ Granchester permissive bridleways creating a circular route.
SDBG members Tasha Perry and Miranda Fyfe on the path with Sue, Jane and Joan Watson test driving the grassy tracks – plenty of space for everyone!
The park access may become even more important if the plans for the new Western Orbital Transport link go ahead in 2020 as Lynda has already highlighted the need for the designs to include a bridleway.
Although it took a while, we now have a safe, off road facility for riders and the BHS Cambs team have established a working partnership with the Wildlife Trust both at Trumpington Meadows and the Great Fen project. SDBG and BHS Cambs will be supporting Becky and the Wildlife Team with a stall on 11th June at the official opening of the Country Park and the BHS at a Gt. Fen event in July.
Huge thanks and congratulations to everyone involved – it was worth all the effort! Download the permissive bridleway map (pdf)