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Autumn Access and Rights of Way Update

5 Sept 2017

Putting Northumberland on the Map

Access FutureThe Ordnance Survey 1st Edition 25” map is an important aid to our volunteers who conduct Historic Research of lost ways in the County - and over 600 sheets of this series are missing from the archives at Woodhorn.

Our Regional Access and Bridleways Officer (RABO), Sue Rogers very kindly spent a day at the British Library in London recently, photographing some of these maps for routes we are working on in both Northumberland and Durham.

All those working in Historic Research are encouraged to source digital copies of maps whenever they can as it speeds up this important work.

The BHS in Northumberland, the North Region and Nationally, is committed to fully supporting this work and our members will be happy to hear that funds have been made available to purchase maps and documents as required.

Shedding Light on Gate Opening Problems

At a recent meeting of Northumberland’s Local Access Forum, Sue Rogers invited a horse rider to demonstrate to the non-horsey members, the problems riders face with the various types of gate catch to be found. 

Sue told us “I think forum members were quite shocked at all the problems horse riders face when trying to use the Rights of Way network and find themselves faced with difficult gates”. 

Exercises like this are an important way to draw attention to the problems we often face on a daily basis whilst hacking out. Thanks for that, Sue.

Helping you Stay Safe on the Roads

A complaint about timber lorry’s driving fast on narrow country roads was received from a lady who had a frightening near miss.  Gate on Fell Top

She has an outdoor arena which she allows local young riders to use but to get to her place they have to ride for about half a mile on an unrestricted road used by these large intimidating vehicles. She had been in touch with County Highways and RABO Sue Rogers followed it up to ensure her problem had reached the person able to make decisions.

The result is that horse warning signs will be put up and SLOW will be written on the road from either direction which we hope will go some way to improve the situation. Another great result!

Dealing with Obstructions

A number of reports of obstructions on bridleways have been received, including soft ground causing a horse to sink to its belly, a gate that nearly collapsed on a rider due to a rotten gate post, overgrowth, tree branches and fallen trees across routes. These have all been reported and our Access volunteers have also been out to see some of them. 

Unfortunately, however, it is doubtful the County Council will have the funds to make all of the necessary repairs. This is a serious problem facing highway authorities all over the country. 

BHS Wiltshire has been working with their local Highways Authority by agreeing to part fund certain repairs on popular bridleways so that routes do not remain closed for a long time. 

This is not something that we would normally consider, however, given the current economic climate, the BHS Northumberland committee has agreed to consider following Wiltshire’s approach on a case by case basis in a bid to keep important parts of the network available to riders.

Sign of the Times

Horse warning signs have been erected on the old West Road at the junction of Drove Road and also on the Fell Road where horses cross south of the A69 slip road. 

Traffic calming has also been established from Heddon to Throckley – 40mph down to 30mph then 20mph in Throckley itself. All of this is in preparation for the huge housing development. 

Picture of a Pegasus CrossingOur Access and Bridleways Officer for Newcastle and North Tyneside, Kathy Atkinson, has written to City of Newcastle and Northumberland Planning departments regarding the hazards horse riders will face when entering or exiting Bridleway 6 in Heddon.

This bridleway unfortunately exits on the designated route for HGV’s working on this development.  Kathy plans to keep the interests of riders in the spotlight as a result.

New Projects Galore

In North Tyneside, Kathy is planning a visit to Wideopen to check out projects including the bridleways provided in the latest developments, the proposed bridleways and bridge improvements planned for near six mile bridge and the new Pegasus Crossings on the A189/Gosforth Park in preparation for the development near Whitehouse Farm to Station Road Killingworth.

If you use this area we’d love to hear your feedback (good, bad or ugly), on the developments. Please contact Wendy.

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