SOUTH WEST RIDERS ACHIEVEMENTS
It has been an interesting ‘exercise’ to analyse and present our achievements since we started in 2001 as they are so varied and numerous. I will be adding to and amending over the next few months – Chris Ingram.
Our achievements fall into five main categories:-
1: Influencing policies and attitudes to improve access for equestrians at all levels:
♦ Government – DEFRA, Natural England and directly with the Minister for Environment – Alun Michael.
♦ Devon County Council – Highways – Public Rights of Way Department.
♦ Parish and Borough Councils.
♦ Forestry Commission and Private Forestry.
♦ National Trust.
♦ Dartmoor National Park.
♦ Roadford Lake (South West Lakes Trust).
♦ Devon and Cornwall Constabulary – In particular instigating a Video promoting Road Safety regarding Horse Riding.
♦ Private Companies re: surface requirements for Bridleways – Scott Wilson
♦ Local Councillors and Member of Parliament – John Burnett.
2: Independent Research:
Please find below links which are extracts of the Independent Research that South West Riders have undertaken throughout its lifetime.
Multi-Use – Granite Way – Pages 2 & 3.
Devon on the Move – Response to Local Transport Plan – Pages 2 & 3.
ROWIP Proposal – Lydford Parish and Surrounding Area – Survey Page.
Report on Tunnels and Overpasses – Pages 2, 3 & 4.
Equestrian Perspective – West Devon Drive – Page 1.
Consultation Response Surface Requirements for Shared Use Routes – Pages 1 & 2.
3: Creation of New Off Road Riding Routes and Reinstatement of old Bridleways:
The success of these routes have been dependent on forming a good working relationship with Devon County Council and of course in particular the Public Rights of Way Department to which we are indebted. The Rights of Way Improvement Plan was a timely tool to raise the profile of Horse Riding which had fallen badly behind other Leisure Activities. Steve Gardener was appointed Rights of Way Improvement Officer and he too has been instrumental in helping us many of these routes:-
★ Pegasus Way Phase 1 – Thorndon Cross to Venndown Gate Cross.
★ Two connecting Bridleways through Bowerland Woods, Thorndon Cross, Okehampton.
★ Pegasus Way Phase 2 – underway – Venndown Gate Cross to Cookworthy Forest.
★ Permissive routes through Cookworthy Forest and adjoining crossing to bridleway connecting to Halwill Junction.
★ Access to permissive cyclepaths that are now Multi Use at Roadford Lake.
★ Reinstatement of ‘parked’ bridleway at Melbury unusable for over 20 years – now re-routed and refurbished.
★ Actively pursuing Multi Use policies for the inclusion of horses on cycleways:-
• Large sections of the Tarka Trail.
• Southerly Bridge section of The Granite Way.
• Sections of The Ruby Way.
• Wray Trail.
4: Improvements to benefit Horse Riders:
∴ Maintenance issues on Bridleways, Unclassified Roads and Byways. Making sure surfaces are reinstated after works, for example – Tree removal in Bowerland Woods causing damage to surface. General improvements of the above routes, for example – Repair of Clay Holes on two Bridleways in Bratton Clovelly area.
∴ Improved gates, gate furniture, gating systems and horse stiles. An Example of a practical Horse Stile was added to the Route in Bowerland Wood.
∴ Working with Highways and Public Rights of Way Department to improve crossing points on major roads and where Public Rights of Way meet the Highway e.g. Skitt Lane, Thorndon Cross, Venndown Gate Cross, Northcombe Woods, Halwill Junction.
∴ Road Signage and Speed Reductions.
∴ Actively pursuing removal of permits on Forestry Commission Land.
∴ Improvements on river crossings, fords and installation of bridges e.g. Melbury and Ashbury.
5: Supporting Members and Non-Members where difficulties arise:
∗ Safety – Stallions on a Bridleway attacking Horse Riders.
∗ Electric fences illegally placed.
∗ Bridleway obstructions.
∗ Reinstatement of Bridleway where river crossing had eroded.
∗ Verge obstructions.
As mentioned above the Bridleway at Melbury was re-opened after a lot of work and below are some of the photos showing before and after shots:
Part of the Pegasus Way – Bowerland Woods was linked by a road crossing the A3079 at Thorndon Cross.
Through consultation with Devon County Council and Highways signage, anti skid surface and speed restriction was put in place. However, there was another option of re-instating access under the railway bridge using the old railway line providing a safe off road route. This has been achieved by Devon County Council. The crossing point on the road still exists giving users options when using the access onto the Pegasus Way/Bowerland Woods.