The Gloucestershire County Council Public Rights of Way team have been presented with a BHS Access Award by Mid Cotswold Tracks and Trails Group in recognition of their support in considering equestrian needs within the 2016 Transport Plan, their positive support on four multi-user track projects and joint working on road safety signs for all vulnerable road users.
BHS Access Awards are presented to people or organisations who support the riding and carriage driving community in preserving and expanding the off road riding and driving network.
Left tor right:
Sue Ellis (Mid Cotswolds Tracks and Trails Group
John Lane (Gloucestershire Public Rights of Way Lead Officer)
Ros Davies (British Horse Society Access Officer)
Gloucestershire has approximately 3509 miles of public rights of way, one of the longest county networks, but bridleways make up only 15% of that. Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) recognised equestrian needs within the 2016 Local Transport Plan. The Highways Department and Public Rights of Way Team committed themselves to improving facilities and finding solutions to problems.
The Plan celebrates Gloucestershire's popularity as a visitor destination and the significant contribution riding makes to its economy. However, it is alert to problems facing equestrians, often deterred by traffic on many narrow lanes with bends and poor visibility. The Plan supports Gloucestershire's Rights of Way Improvement Plan, aiming to integrate riding routes safely with the road network, conscious of the too often fragmented routes. It seeks to develop safe link and new multi-user tracks, encouraging local and neighbourhood development plans to consider equestrian needs.
The Plan establishes County policy principles, stressing the need for safe crossing points, maintained verges, examination of traffic implications for riders and development of new routes.
Since the Plan has been in place, proposals for two cycle tracks have been altered to include horse use. Public Rights of Way Officers are investigating proposals for inclusion of horses on a disused railway track including widened passing places and engineering safety checks on bridges.
GCC supported Mid Cotswolds Tracks and Trails Group and Standish Parish Council in an application for a grant from The Police Commissioner's Road Safety Fund, a significant factor in gaining its success. Gloucestershire Highways and Public Rights of Way Departments attended meetings with our consultant, advising on roadside and off-road track solutions and estimating costings, also agreeing to supervise works on the project, should funding be secured, providing a solid base for future grant applications.
Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership and Highways helped us to produce road safety signs warning of vulnerable road users, accordingly endorsed by the GRSP logo.