About Isle of Wight Bridleways Group
At the outset, Isle of Wight Bridleways Group decided to use the IW Ramblers Association as a model for our Bridleway Group. The group immediately set out to form a working relationship with members to report any problems and hazards they encountered on their rides. The group also set out to encourage members to be 'map aware' as the majority of riders learn their routes from other riders and never use maps.
Isle of Wight Bridleways Group made contact with other user groups and have a representative on the Local Access Forum and aimed to raise awareness of how much the IW equestrian community contribute to the Island economy.
For 10 Months of the year, Isle of Wight Bridleways Group hold fund raising "Spider Rides" and make contributions to R.o.W Improvement Schemes and pay for Bridleway Gate replacements. The group are currently working with the National Trust and are paying for 3 gate replacements - one is on a new permissive connecting route. In the long term we are hoping that these will eventually become 'Definitive'. For information, "Spider Rides" are really equestrian coffee/tea meet ups with riders heading in from all directions. At some venues with sand school facilities we are able to provide 'Clear Round Jumping' which is very popular as many riders do not have either a menage or jumps. The group have a good number of stable yard owners who welcome them to their facilities, so they are able to move venues around the Isle of Wight.
Isle of Wight Bridleways Group comment on Planning applications which in any way impact Equestrian Access.
The group look for Public Footpath routes which will be suitable for upgrading to Bridleway Status and thenwork with our R.o.W Dept to achieve a result. Thankfully there is a very 'equestrian friendly' and proactive IWC RoW Department who look for opportunities within rural planning applications for new Bridleway Routes and are generally supportive.
Pre Covid, the group were holding regular Work Parties, always of course with the consent of the RoW Department, and they mainly targeted Bridleway Exits onto Main Roads to ensure that there is clear visibility for horse and rider, and also to ensure that motorists can clearly see horse and pony riders waiting to cross or exit on to the road. Isle of Wight Bridleways Group will be aiming to resume these this year.
Area covered: Isle of Wight