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Devon Access News - October 2014

17 Oct 2014


Devon Access News October 2014


Last month we reported that Devon County Council is acknowledging that NCN cycleways are being extensively ridden on an unofficial basis by horse riders. This is in advance of the policy of multi-use [where appropriate] being implemented which has been delayed principally due to administrative issues within Devon County Council.

We are pleased to hear reports of how much use riders are making of cycleways and how important these routes have become for the safety for both horses and riders in Devon, especially with the increasing traffic volumes on the roads. Over the next few weeks the access department is having several meetings with Devon County Council and other partner agencies with a view to develop additional routes in the county.

Reporting back

Further to last months article, several riders have contacted the access team to inform us where access could be improved and due to these reports negotiations are taking place to try and secure off road riding in the Plymouth area. Additionally a route in the parish of Farway which has become challenging to horse riders is being investigated by the DCC Public Rights of Way warden for East Devon.

There have been several reports of where the road surface has become slippery where the SMA (Stone Mastic Ashphalt) surface has worn smooth. This problem is going to become an increasing issue for riders due to the economic cuts which have impacted on the maintenance of the road network. Having discussed this situation with DCC it may be possible that, where a particularly difficult section of road is on the programme of road maintenance, the resurfacing schedule could be brought forward. Instances of slippery roads can be reported to DCC at

Following a meeting with The BHS, a section of bridleway at Heathfield, Bovey Tracey, that was surfaced with SMA has now been topped dressed with grit and has made the surface so much better for horse riders.  A length of canter track along this route is still proposed.

Additionally one member has offered to join our team of access volunteers. We are keen to broaden our network in Devon so if you are interested please contact Julie, our Regional Development Officer.

Definitive Map Review.

Devon County Council is continuing their Definitive Map Review in advance of the 2026 cut off date. Many riders may not understand the relevance of the year 2026 to horse riders. In essence we have to ensure that the routes that are legitimately ridden are recorded on the definitive map before this cut off date. If we do not get the routes recorded on the map as a bridleway, it is lost to us – gone forever.

Please riders take a moment to check the routes that you ride are recorded on the map as a Public Right of Way. If they are not recorded on the map they may need to be claimed. A claim may be valid if you and other users have used the route as a bridleway for twenty years. There are three test questions to answer.
  • Have you used the route without permission? 
  • Have you used the route without secrecy
  • Have you used the route without force? 

If the answer is 'yes' to all three questions, and then register your claim to Devon County Council on their Definitive Map Reveiw page. This links to Definitive Map Reveiw Devon progress map which is up to date. It is the blue proposed parishes that would be most relevant to start looking at unrecorded routes and for riders to start collecting evidence for them.  The parish then stays pink from the opening meeting in the parish until reported to Public Rights of Way committee, but it is preferable if any suggestions are received prior to the consultation map and schedule being published so that are included within that.  Additional routes can be considered after publication of the consultation map but it would mean DCC having to consult again on that individual route.

The BHS has produced a leaflet, The 2026 Toolkit, to help riders understand more about the importance of the 2026 cut off date for claiming unrecorded ridden routes.

Contact details for all of the Access and Bridleways Officers in Devon can be found on the Devon page of the BHS Website.

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