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Opening access to the countryside

20 Sept 2018

England’s first ever specialist centre to open up access to the countryside for disabled and able-bodied horse riders, cyclists, walkers, wheelchair users and those with mobility needs was launched on Friday 14 September at Oxfordshire’s Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve.

The new National Land Access Centre, located in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been designed to demonstrate the use, maintenance and installation of gaps, gates and stiles meeting the new British Standard for improved countryside access.

The centre has been developed by Natural England, in partnership with The British Horse Society, Centrewire and the Pittecroft Trust, to ensure those who usually struggle with access to the countryside can access the natural environment and enjoy England’s beautiful countryside.

Not only does this centre provide an opportunity for landowners and councils to see which gates may be most suitable for their route and discover the many options available, it also provides an opportunity for riders to book sessions to practise using gates on horseback, in turn helping to pepare them for what they may encounter on a hack.

Mark Weston, Director of Access for The British Horse Society, said: “We’re very pleased to see the launch of the new National Land Access Centre, which builds on recommendations of the Bridlegate Trial carried out in partnership with Natural England in 2015.

The Centre will help to ensure the new British Standard becomes a reality, securing safe open access to the countryside not only for horse riders but for all users of the outdoors.”

Read the press release here: National Land Access Centre launch

To enquire about booking a practise session, please email


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