Archive Reports of Cornwall South West Riders

The formation of Cornwall South West Riders courtesy of Julie Boreham, Secretary

How we started.

Welcome to the Cornwall branch of South West Riders.

I believe everyone riding horses today, unless they are lucky enough to live on the edge of the moor or somewhere similar, will have come across the same problems that I have.

Eventually something occurs to spur all but the most apathetic into a desire to take action,and that is what happened to those of us who started SWR Cornwall.

I began riding horses in the Boscastle and Tintagel area of North Cornwall in 1969 at the age of 12. Since that time the roads have become busier, the traffic faster and some drivers more aggressive and less tolerant of horses, or anything else, slowing them down.

As a consequence most of the routes I used to ride without a qualm have become dangerous to the point of becoming an ordeal. Especially during the summer months, when the problem is greatly exacerbated by holiday traffic, including large numbers of caravans, delivery vans and coaches. To make a bad situation even worse, the increase of traffic has coincided with an equal decrease in the availability of off road riding, as virtually all the old routes we used to enjoy have been closed off to us.

Until we examine this situation in detail and take action; riders are currently reduced to riding roads and lanes, often early in the morning to avoid the worst of the traffic; only able to gaze wistfully at places they were once free to go. To rub salt in the wound, on occasion they are the subject of verbal abuse, and find themselves being yelled at, among other things, to: “get off the roads”!!

Two contributory factors to this deterioration are:

i) The individual feels disempowered and thinks “What can I do alone?”
ii) Apathy: far too often, riders use a route for years and then find it blocked without any warning. They feel angered and aggrieved, will probably tell more than one person about it but when it comes to doing something they run out of energy and simply hope that someone else will take action on their behalf.

That was my attitude until a couple of years ago when an old friend contacted me, asking me to help her try to re-open a route we used to ride. As we were talking, I found myself becoming more and more indignant, something had to be done. There were ways, I discovered, to fight the closure of old routes, it was apparent that no-one else was going to take up our cause, we would have to help ourselves.

So a fledgling bridleways group came into being. In the process of gathering information we were greatly helped by a long established group, called South West Riders based in Devon, and eventually we decided to affiliate with them and become the Cornwall branch of South West Riders.

In the two years since, we have made some improvements,had some set backs, learnt a lot,and made some good friends; it’s been worth it.

Every individual matters, we need to grow and become too big to be ignored, just look at the amazing results cyclists have achieved by becoming a strong lobbying group, we can do the same we just have to get together!

So if you have reached that point where you have had enough of things gradually getting worse for riders, join us and we will work together to start making changes for the better.

If you want to be active that’s fantastic, there is always something to do! If you don’t want to be active but still want to make a difference, join and help us by becoming a member of a growing group of people who want a voice, and have discovered they can have one!



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