The tireless campaigning of local horse owners and riders for almost three decades has succeeded in two public paths being upgraded to bridleways, protecting access to the beautiful, sweeping moorlands above Darwen, Lancashire. Horse riding in this stunning landscape is now preserved for the future, with protected routes to the moors from Belgrave Road and from Duckshaw Road.
The campaign, started by local horse rider Janice Cowell, relied on historical evidence of use and has succeeded through a local government reorganisation and a legal challenge involving a public inquiry. Members of the local bridleway group, DANBBA, worked closely with a team from Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council, to achieve these changes to the Definitive Map of Rights of Way. Kay Bruce of DANNBA and Vice Chairman of the BHS Lancashire, stated ‘this has been an incredible journey for our local horse enthusiasts who volunteer their time.’ Kay added ‘We are very grateful for the guidance of our local council and to Janet Forshaw for her commitment to take forward Janice Cowell’s campaign, and the many other volunteers who have made this possible.’
In the 7 years Kay Bruce has been involved with DANBBA, she has supported Janet with the campaign both as a DANBBA member and most recently as a member of the BHS Lancashire Committee.
Bridleways Success in Lancashire
Founders of the Darwen & District Bridlepaths and today the successor organisation is known as BHS affiliated Bridleway Group, DANBBA, Darwen and North Bolton Bridleway Association, Janice and Janet shared the workload over the long campaign and there were periods where one relied on the other as they started their own families and had other commitments
It was around 1997 when Janice embarked on the campaign with Lancashire County Council and in 1998, she was recognised by The British Horse Society as a member who had done the most for equestrian access.