The Meon Valley Trail is a 10 mile/18k trail that winds its way through the beautiful Hampshire Countryside. Hampshire County Council has recently agreed to dedicate the route as a restricted byway thereby formalising the ridden and carriage driving access that currently takes place. This truly is a multi user route and, in partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority, HCC is repairing the surface to accommodate all users - walkers, cyclists, horse riders, people with disabilities, families, and carriage drivers.
The British Horse Society local Development Officer, Hannah Marsh, has visited the site at the West Meon end where a 100m stretch of the surfacing work has been completed. Hannah confirmed that this section is finished to a good standard, having had the stones well compacted to give a smooth surface and the BHS has been assured that this is the standard to which the rest of the work will be finished. Particularly once the surface has had time to settle in and has had more use, it will become better with time. It is important to note that this is the only part HCC have said is finished, and other sections where users are seeing changes are still works in progress.
We are grateful for the work that has gone into this. Although we understand the frustrations from riders in the change of surface but the improved surface will make it suitable for all intended users.
It is important that we, the equestrian community, are responsible users of rights of way and are able to appreciate the needs of others who wish to enjoy the same safe access to our wonderful countryside as ourselves.
We would encourage those who feel passionate about their off road access to get more involved with their local BHS access work where they will be involved at earlier stages of route planning and potentially get involved with new projects. To find out more visit www.bhs.org.uk or contact a member of the access team.
To find out more on the BHS recommendations for route surfaces please download our free leaflet.