BHS Ireland is limited in its work to improve and extend safe off road access for equestrians to Northern Ireland only. This is due to the fact that The British Horse Society as a charity can only lobby for change in British led governments. BHS Ireland does work to promote existing safe off road riding and carriage driving throughout Ireland and any new opportunities that arise.
Access to safe off road routes and access in Northern Ireland is sadly extremely limited compared to Britain, however, the places that do exist are in some stunning locations. From the picturesque toll ride around Grey Abbey estate and hack around Tollymore Forest Park in Co.Down to the miles of flat sand on the stunning causeway coast, there are places for you to escape the busy roads. BHS Ireland and the Ulster Rural Riders Association (BHS Affiliated Bridleway Group) work hard to protect Northern Ireland’s access and are your voice when it comes under threat at a national level. They avail of any opportunities that arise to increase existing or open new access, and would welcome support from all over Northern Ireland to aid them on their work with this.
Protecting what we have
Existing access, like anywhere in the UK, can come under threat at any time. From proposed changes in policies or rules by local authorities to land developments, poor maintenance, ending in permissive agreements or new legislation, BHS Ireland is here to react quickly, and to protect what we have. In 2009 BHS engaged with fellow local equestrians and local authorities to protect and keep your rights of access to the beaches on the North Coast.
Extending, increasing, or just opening up new access to somewhere for equestrians usually involves negotiation, sharing, and funds. BHS Ireland has been very successful in recent years in opening toll rides, including equestrian access and agreeing temporary access to routes for organised rides.
Promoting safe off road routes and using them
BHS work hard to protect what we have, and encourage safe, responsible use of our routes, particularly those which are multiuser. Our range of free advisory leaflets online (link) may be of interest to you.
There are two BHS Affiliated Bridleway groups in Northern Ireland who work to increase awareness of our need for safe routes for riders and carriage drivers and responsible use by all users of public access areas and routes.
The Ulster Rural Riders Association (URRA), based in Co.Down
The Glens Bridleway Group (GBG), based in Co.Tyrone
The Regional Access Bridleway Officer for Northern Ireland is Edith Duff, she can be contacted on 02890 611601 and firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any concerns or queries over Northern Ireland Access matters, please contact Edith or the Access team at HQ and we will do our best to help you.
If you wish to get more involved in the improvement of access in Northern Ireland, please contact Susan Spratt.
For further information and the latest news visit BHS Ireland.