Official Opening May 23 2014
The Yellow Brick Road bridleway has long been on the list of missing links in the network and two years ago it was finally made possible with the chance to bid for funding under Natural England’s ‘Paths for Communities’ project which required three main objectives to be met – namely, Landowner Permission, Community Involvement and Funding to be made available by the applicant.
Eileen I’anson, the private landowner, the Forestry Commission and Gateshead Council thankfully all made a commitment to the creation of this route.
Tremendous support (and all-important donations),came from the local community, Ramblers Association, Riding Clubs, Cyclists, The British Horse Society County and Regional Committees, Gym Clubs, Dog Walking Groups, The Red Kite Project, Friends of Chopwell Woods, local farmers and Claire’s Saddlery
The applicants funding was partially met by the donations received and by work in kind to the value of £5000 and thanks must go to Friends of Chopwell Wood Volunteer Group members of CWHRA, University students and those from the Magic Trust who undertook this work and a special thanks to Steve Patterson who spotted the bridge being burnt and called the fire brigade. He continued to monitor the bridge and put a second fire out a few days later after which he walked through on a regular basis to keep an eye on things.
The assistance from the Forestry Commission has been outstanding, as has the commitment of Rob Hindhaugh the Public Rights of Way Officer for Gateshead without whom the project would not have been completed.
The project has had many ups and downs but with the assistance of a loan from The British Horse Society Facilitation Fund and thanks to Andrew Gutherie the contractor who showed great flexibility in receiving payments in small instalments, a successful result was assured.
Natural England undertook a final inspection of the route in early May and the official opening took place later that month during BHS Access Week.
On the day, BHS Durham and Northumberland Access and Bridleways Officer Kathy Atkinson, had made arrangements for BHS Durham Chair Carole Swinburn to present Riders Charter Route Creation Awards. One to Eileen l’Anson (who was delighted to cut the ribbon on the route) and the others to Neil Friar of Gateshead Council, Alex McClellan of The Forestry Commission and Noreen Forster of The Chopwell Woods Horse Riding Association.
An Access Achievement Award was also presented to Rob Hindhaugh, Public Rights of Way Officer for Gateshead Council.
Afterwards, everyone returned to the Green and thoroughly enjoyed the home bred hog roast prepared by Janet McKie of Strothers Farm, High Spen. Very grateful thanks to all concerned from the BHS.