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Riders now safe to cross busy road thanks to equestrians and Oxfordshire Council collaboration

5 Dec 2016

A pegasus crossing has been installed on the A34 network in Oxfordshire after transport improvement plans would have made it dangerous for horse riders to cross safely. A restricted byway is known as the Holloway, an old track which links the village of Harwell to Chilton and then onto the Ridgeway National Trail, was at risk of being severed from the rights of way network after Oxfordshire County Council proposed a transport investment plan. The project, costing £11 million, changed a quiet road into a busy slip road feeding into the Science Vale, one of Oxfordshire’s largest employment areas. Troth Wells and Janice Bridger, both British Horse Society volunteers, worked alongside local riders Jane Imbush, Jackie Gillan and Julian Ross,  to convince  Oxfordshire County Council that equestrians, as well as walkers and cyclists needed to be considered and an equestrian crossing installed.  

There are an estimated 500 horses in the area which bring in an estimated £2.5million to the rural economy.* Vivienne Schuddeboom, the proprietor of the BHS Approved Establishment, Silvertown Stables, said: “We’ve been accessing Chilton via Holloway for over 60 years via Holloway Track. The increase in traffic would have made the A34 impassable and therefore detrimental to my business. With the new pegasus crossing installed I can continue offering hacks out from my stables.” British Horse Society volunteer, Janice Bridger, said: “We are delighted to have collaborated with Oxfordshire County Council, who have delivered an equestrian friendly crossing. The Holloway Route joins a vast network of equestrian routes so to lose it would have been such a blow for riders in the area.” Mark Weston, Director of Access and Rights of Way for The British Horse Society, said: “The continued urbanisation of the local countryside makes it imperative that equestrians are included on proposed safe off road routes and that crossings also provide for equestrians as well. “The inclusion of equestrians at this crossing is a testament that councils can work with user groups to create safe, accessible routes and the passage is afforded to all non-motorised users, including equestrians.”

County Councillor David Nimmo Smith, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for transport, said: “The crossing wasn’t in the original plans, but I am pleased that we were able to keep talking to representatives of the British Horse Society and local equestrians to come up with a solution that worked for everyone.” The British Horse Society was part of last week’s road safety week, highlighting the dangers that horse riders face every day on our roads. This is another example of collaborative work that can make a real difference for equestrians in the local area.

*Figures taken from the 2015 BETA figures.

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