EBA Update Spring 2016 1.4 04/03/2016 15:23 Page 1
Essex Bridleways Association
Update Spring 2016
s y a w e l d i r B r e t t e B x e s s E r Fo Inside this issue... • 2016 Ride Schedule • EBA Publicity Campaign • Sign our Petition • All the latest EBA news
Published by Essex Bridleways Association Charity number: 801530
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Contents 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 10: 11: 16: 17: 18: 20: 21: 22: 24:
ON THE COVER
A note from the Chair AGM report EBA News Riding for health and wellbeing EBA Publicity Drive 2016 Ride Schedule EBA Pull-out Petition Marshalling at an EBA ride Epping Forest ride in pictures Persistance pays off at Birch, Colchester Entering an EBA Ride? Flitchway Action Group Without volunteers we are nothing EBA representatives’ contact details
Happy hackers at the Epping Forest ride. © Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
Helen Mathias Call: 07958 962024 facebook.com/ eyecontactphoto
EBA is a member of: • Affiliate member of BHS • Open Spaces Society • Hundred Parishes Society • National Federation of Bridleway Associations
EBA also has regular contact with Hatfield Forest Riders Association and Epping Forest Riders Association.
Bridleways mean freedom for all By Katie Jerram, EBA Patron I admit that am a very lucky horse rider as I am able to regularly make use of the huge range of benefits provided by our county’s bridleways. As well as riding, I have also recently taken up running and to have the freedom and use of Essex bridleways to run on is fantastic. Being off the roads is kinder on my joints, and safer for me. I can take the dogs with me and to have the freedom of the bridleways is amazing. We have miles of paths in Essex but we desperately need more. I hope you will join me in backing EBA’s Better Bridleways in Essex campaign, which aims to highlight the need for more safe off-road routes for horse riders, that can also be used by all those that love and enjoy our countryside.
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A note from
The Chair By Julia Wilson, EBA Chair
ere we are at the start of a brand new year full of challenges and fun. I think we have been fortunate that our winter was not too bad. However, I am glad we are almost through it and we can now look forward to the long summers days with good ground conditions for lots of mud free hacking. Hopefully we should be able to accommodate your wishes with some fantastic rides arranged for you to enjoy. We have a couple of new rides and have tried to cover much of the county. Added to this we have our annual EBA holiday - this year we
are trying a new venue, Whitehall Farm near Holkham. As usual, EBA Reps and Trustees have been extremely busy over the past six months assisting members with bridleways issues. Some really good work has been completed by both Chris and Sue, our two researchers. Chris has submitted several more historic claims and Sue has been working closely with planners, ECC, Highways and others in authority, for improved access for us all. Sue has also started discussions with MPs and the BHS in an attempt to look at the national picture. We are constantly coming up against barriers due to outdated law and local authority constraints. As a small charity we are unable to change these so we need to engage with the BHS and local councillors to get things changed. We really feel that EBA money is being used to fight the corner for riders in Essex. 2016 will be our Year of
Publicity with a capital P! We have a huge campaign planned to raise awareness amongst riders and, more importantly, non-riders, in our bid for safer riding in Essex. As you read on you will see what you can do to support us. It is imperative that we get your support if the campaign is to be successful. Please get your families on board, your friends at the yard or at work; every one will count. We have a petition to sign, a survey to complete, a march to take part in and publicity material to circulate, so please help us to help you. Finally, I would like to thank all our members for their continued support. All the Trustees and Reps are volunteers and we are always looking for additional help. If any readers would like to volunteer some time, perhaps to marshal a ride or even become a Trustee, please let me know. That just leaves me to wish you all a happy and safe year of riding. Be sure to come and say hello if you see me out and about this year.
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AGM R E P O R T
Thank you to all who came to the EBA AGM. It’s never particularly tempting to venture out on a cold, dark winter’s night, but we always get a good turnout and November’s meeting saw increased attendance. It takes an enormous amount of work to organise the evening so it’s wonderful that many of you make the effort. After the formalities were dispensed with, Seán Rooney from Blaircourt Veterinary Practice kept us enthralled with an excellent talk on equine dentistry, which was both entertaining and informative. The AGM is also the perfect opportunity to meet our hard working area reps and researchers, and there is always a good gathering around the various tables. Once again,
Simon Taylor, ECC PRoW Enforcement and Liaison Officer, kindly joined us to answer your questions. Inspector Ian Gennery from Essex Police was also present to talk about the Active Citizens on Horseback scheme which is being trialled in the Chelmsford area. With so much talking, our guests were glad of the refreshments provided and Lesley Gillman once again showed off her considerable cake making skills with a fantastic EBA horseshoe cake. We were also lucky enough to have a great selection of quality raffle prizes, which raised £160 for the EBA coffers. Thank you to The Mark Todd Collection, Equisafety, Likit Products, Jumper’s Horse Line, Stud Muffins and Westgate EFI for kindly donating the prizes.
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EBA News Rotary Club Donation EBA is extremely grateful, once again, to Chelmer Bridge Rotary Club who made a generous donation of £500 arising from the ride they organised in April 2015. This year’s ‘Rotary Ride’ ride takes place on Saturday 23rd April. For further details see ‘Events’ page at www.essexbridleways.co.uk
BHS Access Conference 16th April The British Horse Society has invited EBA to give a presentation at the BHS South East Access Conference. Our Bridleways Development Officer, Sue Dobson, has stepped up to the challenge and will talk about the valuable work she carries out on behalf of EBA. The event takes place at Underriver Village Hall, near Sevenoaks, Kent.
BHS Access Week 28 May to 5 June The British Horse Society is planning to make Access Week even “bigger and better” this year. Access Week is designed to highlight the work being done to improve equestrian access and to celebrate the dedication and time given by both BHS volunteers and those involved in affiliated Equestrian Access Groups, such as EBA. We will share information on our website and Facebook pages as we receive it, so please take the time to join us in supporting any events organised by the BHS Eastern Region.
BHS Free Communications EBA members can subscribe to the BHS Access Update, a monthly email packed full of information about what the BHS is doing for equestrian access. Simply contact email@example.com, stating that you are happy to receive these emails.
The final countdown It is now just 10 years until the great British public loses the opportunity to reclaim lost or mismarked Public Rights of Way. ‘Why should I care’ you might say. Well look around you. Unless you are among the lucky few to have easy ridden access to country parks or a great network of bridleways on your doorstep, you need to get involved NOW. EBA is funding historic research but it is a hugely time consuming process. Ten years might seem like a long time, but it takes an age to research, prepare and process each claim. We need your help. So please, join EBA and contact our Historic Researcher, Chris Tout, and ask her what you can do to help. In 2026 these lost routes, and your right to ride them, will be gone forever.
Marshals required for all rides EBA depends on sufficient volunteers being available to help us marshal at our fundraising rides. Without enough volunteers we cannot continue to provide the number and variety of rides that we currently organise. Please consider whether you can spare some time to help us. In return, volunteers are entitled to a free ride entry or free EBA membership. For more information see our guide on page 16 or contact Rides Marshal Co-ordinator, Sandra Deeran (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Riding for Health and Wellbeing
Blowing away the cobwebs By Hilary Clifford, EBA Website Administrator © Helen
It had been a hard week at work and I really wasn't sure I could afford to spend a whole day with my horse hacking around Epping Forest, even with friends from EBA on the annual Christmas Ride. I had so much to do! What is more, it was blowing a gale and the horses were all pretty fresh, but once I was in the saddle and walking through the glorious forest all those niggles and irritations at work – not to mention all the Christmas preparations - just didn't matter. And we were out of the wind! We were outside enjoying our favourite activity, with good friends, sharing the fun with all of the others who were out, riding their bikes and walking their dogs. I bet every one of us had forgotten all about the things that sometimes seem to wear you down. The mulled wine and mince pie at the end of the ride was just an added bonus!
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Share your stories... We’d love to hear how horse riding benefits your physical and mental health and wellbeing. Post your comments on the Essex Bridleways Facebook page or email email@example.com if you have a story we can share.
Explore the EBA website Our events page is probably the best known part of the EBA website. After all, most of us want to book a place on the fabulous fundraising rides. However, the site also offers much more – it is a store of ideas and useful information for members and visitors alike. The home page sets out our purpose, which remains unchanged since we formed in 1979. EBA exists to: • Preserve and maintain existing bridleways • Restore old rights of way, many that have been lost through incorrect classification and are not registered on the Definitive Map • Create new bridleways The work we do in researching, lobbying and achieving this purpose is funded by EBA membership fees and, of course,
the income from our rides. On our membership page you can read more about our work and the benefits of joining. For a modest fee you are supporting our efforts and immediately benefit from a saving on our rides’ entry fees. We also have a wealth of information on the bridleways page, as well as links for other organisations and places to ride in Essex. The events page is the most frequently visited but also, once you have renewed your membership, do take a look at our Ride & Share scheme which provides members with a unique opportunity to ride with another EBA member who will guide you and your horse around their home patch. It’s is a great way to meet new people and to explore new areas and another great reason to join EBA.
All our forms and guidance are also available on the website, as well as contact details for area reps and members of the committee. Finally, we have our rides photos; regularly updated throughout the year. Images are also available for purchase after every ride. Details are all on the website. So, do take some time to explore the rich source of information available at www.essexbridleways.co.uk and, if you have any suggestions or ideas, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Better Bridleways for Essex
EBA PUBLICITY DRIVE 7 Essex needs more bridleways and now is the time to spread the word amongst the riding community and beyond. EBA exists to create, claim and improve Public Rights of Way for horse riders but this is proving to be an increasingly uphill struggle in the light of Council cut-backs and a Government policy which favours development and ignores the needs of equestrians. EBA is proactive • Our Area Reps are involved in day-to-day problems that members encounter.
new infrastructure. • We have representatives on the Essex Local Access Forum to voice the concerns of horse riders to Essex County Council. • We follow up on schemes such as the Quiet Lanes initiative and the Parish Paths Partnership, co-ordinating bridleway clearances. • We are trying to establish links with Active Essex to raise awareness of the many benefits of riding for health and wellbeing. • In 2016, we are going to make ourselves heard!
• We fund Historic Research and make claims on lost, historic bridleway routes.
We need your help
• We fund Bridleways Development, meeting with those in power, looking at Local Development Plans and planning applications to see if bridleways can be included in
Although EBA is working hard to represent horse riders, we really need a greater voice, especially when it comes to development and planning matters. There is a real lack of awareness by national
and local Government when it comes to horse riders’ needs. National Government planning focuses on mobility issues, especially concerning access to work and health. ECC’s regular Active Essex newsletters promote outdoor activity for health. Everywhere, money is being spent on promoting cycling and walking in our region but no mention of horse riding – a hugely popular activity in our county. A healthy lifestyle is extremely relevant to the many Essex leisure riders. Horse riding offers real benefits for physical and mental
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health and wellbeing; something we must bring to the attention of those in authority. Let’s make our voice heard. EBA has developed a strategy to improve general awareness of our needs and you can help us get our message out to a wider audience: We need Better Bridleways for Essex! What you can do 1 Join Essex Bridleways Association The more members we have, the greater our voice. Just £15 a year and free for under 16s and cheaper ride entries too.
2 Survey We need statistics to create a profile of Essex horse riders and their needs. Complete our survey and get your friends to do the same. Share with local yards and everyone you know in Essex who owns horses and has an interest in riding or the equestrian industry. Complete online via the Essex Bridleways website or facebook page. The survey will run until midnight on 31st May 2016. We need this information to
support our claims and negotiations. Numbers count with Councillors! 3 Petition Essex horse riders need increased access to safe off-road riding. We intend to present a petition to ECC during BHS Access Week at the end of May. This may include a Better Bridleways March to County Hall which, ideally, would include horse riders; something that has been done successfully by other bridleways groups. Get in touch with Jan Arthur (email@example.com) if you would like to be involved.
More information will be posted on the EBA website and social media pages. The centre pages of this Update contain the petition form and all the information you need – just remove them and get as many signatures as you can then send to Janet Arthur, Essex Bridleways Association, PO Box 12014, Chelmsford CM1 9UD. Deadline is 10th May 2016. You will be entered in a prize draw for your efforts. 4 EBA Update Get as many people as possible to read the EBA Update magazine. Share and circulate it to all your friends and acquaintances, even non-riders, to raise awareness of our publicity campaign; the more people that know about these issues the better - numbers count with Councillors. A digital copy is available on Essex Bridleways Associations’ page at www.issuu.com. 5 The Media We aim to involve the media as much as possible. If you have any useful contacts please spread the word or let us know. EBA will use arguments set out in our publicity literature. Look out for articles in the Essex press and bring them to the attention of non-riders too.
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6 Publicity Pack The new EBA Publicity Pack will be available for distribution and includes a poster and leaflets to support our campaign and raise awareness of the need for safe off-road access for Essex horse riders. We need your help with display and distribution: download from our website, pick up from our rides or see our Resources section (right) for more details. 7 Contact the people who hold power To make an impact we must make District, Borough and City Councillors, Parish Councillors, County Councillors, and local MPs aware of bridleways issues. See the Resources section (right) to see how we can support you with contact details and suggested content. Essex horse riders must work together if we are to make an impact and get the message across. Only if we pull together will we make our voice heard. Contacting your Councillor or MP members of Parliament: www.theyworkforyou.com Put in your postcode to find your local MP then use the ‘Send a message’ button at the top of the page to contact them.
Councillors and MPs www.writetothem.com Enter your postcode for a list of local contacts. Parish Council Contact through the Parish Clerk – a quick internet search should bring up your Parish Council’s website or try the Essex Association of Local Councils website: www.ealc.gov.uk At the bottom of the left hand menu, click on EALC Member Councils for a list of Parish Councils.
So, EBA members, friends and keen leisure riders, now is the time to get going, spread the word amongst the equestrian community and beyond, and give your active support to the EBA 2016 Publicity Drive.
Let’s get the message across to those in power and help create
Better Bridleways for Essex
Resources EBA has made the following available for your use should you want to find out more or help spread the word by making a presentation to your Parish Council, Riding Club, yard etc. If you need help or support do get in touch: • EBA Better Bridleways Publicity Pack: which will include an A4 poster and leaflets. • Lists of County Councillors, MPs and Parish Councils. • Sample letter to your MP or Councillor. • Five Questions to ask your MP • Briefing paper for Councillors • EBA Videos: available to share from the Essex Bridleways Association YouTube Channel • EBA Update online: go to www.issuu.com and search for Essex Bridleways Association • EBA Powerpoint presentation: puts forward The Positive Reasons for Bridleways Download from the EBA website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org Available from: EBA’s Fundraising Rides: dates and venues on pages 10 & 15 in this issue. EBA Website: www.essex bridleways.co.uk By email from Jan Arthur: email@example.com By mailshot: We will send information out to EBA members as appropriate during the year. By writing to: Essex Bridleways Association, PO Box 12014, Chelmsford CM1 9UD. British Horse Society The BHS website has useful information on Access. Read or download The 2016 Toolkit and Recording a Right of Way leaflets from: www.bhs.org.uk/accessand-bridleways/2026
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EBA 2016 Rides Sch
Friday 18th March
Great Notley Country Park, Braintree, Essex CM77 7FS
Sunday 17th April
Middlewick Farm Livery Yard, Southminster, Essex CM0 7JQ
Sunday 8th May NEW
South Weald Lead Rein Ride
Weald Country Park, Brentwood, Essex CM14 5QS
Sunday 22nd May
Quinbury Farm, Hay Street, Braughing, Ware, Herts SG11 2RE
Saturday 18th June Members Only
Elgins Car Park, Hatfield Forest, Takeley, Essex CM22 6NE
15th - 17th July Members Only
Holkham Beach Ride Weekend
Whitehall Farm, Norfolk PE31 8HN
Sunday 24th July NEW
Finchingfield, Essex CM7 4NL
Saturday 6th August
Harolds Park Farm, Bumbles Green, Nazeing, Essex EN9 2SF
Sunday 28th August
Thetford Forest Picnic Ride
Kings Forest, Thetford Forest, Fire Road 203, Suffolk
Sunday 11th September
Writtle Park Estate, Highwood, Essex CM1 3QF
Sunday 9th October
Brocks Farm, Twitty Fee, Danbury, Essex CM3 4PG
Saturday 3rd December Members Only
Bury Road, Chingford Plain, Chingford, Essex E4 7QH
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The Horse Riders and other Bridleway Users of Essex therefore request increased safe off-road access for riders and other users.
The roads of Essex are getting busier and the opportunities for safe riding are in urgent need of improvement. Essex has one of the largest populations of horses in the country. Many horse riders are leisure riders and ride to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but Essex has one of the smallest networks of bridleways. Bridleways are multiuser routes open to walkers, cyclists and the less mobile and are cost efficient. These multiuser routes should be the Public Rights of Way of choice in planning.
We the undersigned Horse Riders and other Bridleway Users of Essex request increased safe off-road access for riders and other users and that consideration be given to this as a matter of routine by Essex County Council.
Essex Bridleways Association Petition to Essex County Council May 2016
Carefully lift staples and remove these 4 centre pages and fold staples back down
The Horse Riders and other Bridleway Users of Essex therefore request increased safe off-road access for riders and other users.
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What must be included in a petition 1. It must be addressed to a specific body and make a clear request. 2. It should use respectful language and must not be offensive. 3. It must have no crossings out, deletions or extra text added to it after it has been signed. 4. It must be clear that the final petition is the same one that the petitioners signed. 5. It should be in English. 6. It should have the names, addresses and original handwritten signatures of the petitioners. 7. The signatures must be of Essex horse riders and other bridleway users only. 8. It should contain the full petition text with signatures on the first sheet and just the ‘prayer’ of the petition (the petitioners therefore request…) on any subsequent sheets of paper. Check that the petition that you are completing complies with these points.
Number of sheets sent: .......................
..................................... Post Code ....................................
Please complete when you return the form:
Carefully lift staples and remove these 4 centre pages and fold staples back down
• Return this petition to: Janet Arthur, Essex Bridleways Association, PO Box 12014, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 9UD • Deadline: 10th May 2016 • Fill in your name and contact details (right) • Add a postage stamp of the correct value – underpriced postage costs EBA time and money • All submissions will be entered into a prize draw to win a Mark Todd Jacket. • Your contact details will only be used in connection with this petition.
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Please read the information and instructions overleaf before returning to the address provided
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To enter our rides visit www.essexbridleways.co.uk Entries open about a month before the ride date (EBA members notified by email)
Details A 13 mile weekday ride from Braintree to Little Dunmow and back on the surfaced tracks of the Flitch Way (an old railway line) that is sure to be firm whatever the weather. Starting 10.30am so that you can get the kids off to school first. A little later in the year this time to see if we can get some better weather. Ride on farm tracks and lovely grassy headlands with some (optional) jumps. A few very quiet remote roads. Very flat and great for some lovely long canters. A three mile gentle group lead rein ride, all in the park. Great for starting off beginners or nervous riders. Must be led. Mainly in walk with one or two very short trots. Just over the border into Hertfordshire. This ride was enjoyed by many last year, even in the pouring rain so if we get better weather this year we are sure youâ€™ll love it. Well worth the journey. A chance to ride in this wonderful ancient forest on wide grassy clearings and tracks between the trees. The shorter 8 mile ride is contained within the forest, the longer 11 mile ride includes some minor roads. So popular and with limited parking we have made it a members only ride. Sorry, this is already FULL but if you want to go on the waiting list in case anyone drops out then please email firstname.lastname@example.org A new ride for us this year over the estate grounds and farmland of Spains Hall. All on grass headland and farm tracks. Only 300 yards of very quiet lane. Ride to the wonderful Warlies country estate and back. Fantastic views and grassy tracks in the parkland. Come with the family, make a day of it, bring a picnic and then ride the wonderful grass and sandy tracks of Thetford Forest. NO roads at all. A varied route which takes in the wide grassy tracks and optional jumps of Howletts Hall and Fingrith Hall. Oh so many canters. Always our most popular ride. A variety of hilly tracks through the woods, country lanes, surfaced bridleways and field edges. It will include the (optional) cross country course at Riffhams. A fun Christmas Ride with fancy dress, mince pies and mulled wine. The surfaced tracks are excellent at this time of the year â€“ no mud!
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Marshalling at an
EBA RIDE Louise Fuller, EBA Treasurer
day. The same applies if you have anything else that should be taken into account (mobility etc.). Once you have offered to help The organiser will keep in touch and tell you what you will be doing, where and when to report, and anything else you need to know. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about anything. We will look after you all the way. When you arrive at the ride On arrival, you will be usually be issued with hi-viz, a clipboard and pen, and instructions on how to reach your position and what you are required to do when you get there. It might look a bit complicated but all will become clear as soon as you get into place and the riders start coming through. Depending on the work involved, marshals are usually placed singly but that’s not to say you can’t bring a friend to keep you company, and sometimes we need two people in one place.
You might have considered offering to marshal at an EBA ride but have held back as you are not sure what it entails. The first time I marshalled, I was quite anxious about what to take, what would happen, whether I would get it right. I survived to tell the tale and hope that this guide will encourage you to volunteer. What sort of jobs do EBA marshals do? We have a couple of people in the car park directing the horseboxes and trailers as they arrive. There is always someone at the start to check riders going out, making sure they have hi-viz and are wearing riding hats and suitable footwear. They note each rider’s number and the time they set off. Many marshals are placed at road
crossings to check that riders cross safely. They will often take numbers and times as well so we can keep tabs on where our riders are. If there is a point where riders make a choice between a long and a short route, there is often a marshal present to note numbers, times and which route has been taken. If there are gates on the ride, we place marshals there to open them for you. If you can help on a ride Please contact Sandra Deeran as soon as possible (email@example.com); if everyone leaves it until the last minute the ride organiser will panic, thinking there won’t be enough people to marshal. If you can’t help for a full day, tell us how much time you can spare and what time of
Will I need transport? You will need to find your own way to the start of the ride; if necessary, we will then take you out to your position. Sometimes you can take a vehicle close to your position but some are a bit more remote. We will make sure you are in the right place in case it’s not immediately obvious. What do I need to bring? It’s a good idea to bring a chair, something to eat and drink and maybe something to read in the gaps between riders coming through. Definitely bring suitable clothing for the weather conditions – we get wind and driving rain, brilliant sunshine, and everything inbetween, so be prepared. Don’t forget your mobile phone (fully charged) so you can keep in touch with the organiser during the day.
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How long will I be needed? This depends on the ride and your position. You might be needed to start quite early, about 8.30am, and you could finish anytime from midday to about 3pm; don’t be put off if you can only manage a few hours or half a day, just let us know at the planning stage.
Epping Christmas Ride
What support will I have? The ride organiser will keep in touch with you during the ride, telling you the last rider out etc., and you can always contact them if you have a problem or a query. What facilities will there be? Unless you are positioned near the start of a ride, it is unlikely there will be toilet facilities, so use them before you head out or you might be reliant on finding a “convenient” bush! Some, but not all, rides will have a catering van at the start.
Please don’t let us down If you volunteer but find that you are unable to help after all, please let the organiser know as soon as possible so she can find a replacement. The rewards Being an EBA marshal is a great way to pass the time: you are usually in lovely countryside; you meet some very pleasant people and see some beautiful horses. At the end of the day you will be issued with an EBA voucher which entitles you to a year’s free membership or a free ride as a thank you for your help. You will also have earned our undying gratitude, for without our marshals it would not be possible to run EBA’s fundraising rides.
Fancy Dress winners Ruby Miller and Claudia Newman
Fancy Dress winners Mia and Bronte Griffin © Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
Can I take my dog with me? Mostly, yes, although it should be kept on a lead and may need to stay in the car for some of the time, or be tied up.
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Persistence pays off at I first contacted the Essex Highways Public Rights of Way (PRoW) Inspector for our area in June 2013, regarding a section of bridleway that was notoriously difficult to navigate and steadily deteriorating over time. It was overgrown and had very poor drainage, resulting in considerable erosion and very bad poaching. The two main problem areas from a rider's perspective were:
1. The 'muddy corner' where Birch bridleway BR23 met BR36. Almost a year-round problem, it was either a choice of slipping and sliding along the edge, or going through very deep mud full of debris. More than once a horse walking through there came out the other side with a cut or an abrasion. 2. The 'ditch of death' access to BR35 from BR23. In fact, the map confirmed that the designed route for BR35 had not been used in years and was completely overgrown, not to mention being a bog most of the year as it followed a stream. The 'anomaly' route that had been used by everyone is marked by the dotted orange line on the map; access was via a muddy ditch, filled with branches and enclosed by trees and vegetation. We usually had to lead the horses across - if they decided to jump the ditch while you were still mounted, you would impale yourself on the low branches on the other side.
By Dee Pollard The PRoW Inspector, Jason Botelho, replied very promptly, confirming that this was a known problem area, and that a number of Ramblers and riders had raised these issues previously. When I followed up on this in October 2013, a site visit had been carried out and the maintenance team had outlined a plan to run permeable piping along several sections, cut French drains and do some surfacing work. However, severe budget cuts meant there were no resources available to carry out any work that required new materials to be bought. Essentially, any planned work on these routes had ground to a halt. All was not lost though; he very helpfully mentioned another possibility. For larger, more expensive schemes there was a separate budget where submitted requests would be evaluated, costed and prioritised before, hopefully, being approved. This had, however, been taken over by Local Highway Panels (LHPs), meaning that requests had to come from the local community, via their local district/county
councillors. These LHPs are responsible for making recommendations and setting priorities for Highways schemes in their areas and have a revenue budget to put towards these schemes, including PRoW improvements. Jason also said that their PRoW & Records Manager had requested examples of some of the worst sections suffering from lack of maintenance - and he had submitted this section of Birch bridleways, including a quote from one of my earlier emails listing accidents that had occurred here. He suggested I contacted a local councillor and asked them to submit a request to the LHP. He felt there was strong evidence to indicate this was a deserving scheme and he would lend all his support but the request had to come to the LHP via a councillor. I contacted the councillor for the Winstree and Birch ward, Cllr. Kevin Bentley and, in January 2014 I sent him an email, detailing the problem, the evidence gathered from other
Muddy corner This was during one of our driest summers! The middle of the track, then covered in vegetation, was deep mud littered with debris. You can image in winter, the narrow ledge on the outside becomes a slippery slope!
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Birch, Colchester riders and my exchanges with the local PRoW Inspector. I asked if he would be willing to submit a request to the LHP for money that would enable the improvement works in Birch to proceed. Cllr. Bentley replied that he would be happy to make this request. At the end of June 2014 we received news that the budget had been approved. The priority was to improve drainage by laying down the permeable pipe and to fix the 'muddy corner'. Following this, any leftover money would be used for vegetation clearance and reinstatement. It wasn’t until a year later that the work actually commenced and, in July 2015, we were delighted by the transformation when we rode that stretch again. My friend, Sara, took some photos and I immediately emailed Jason to thank him. The muddy corner had been flattened, resurfaced and drainage fitted and access to BR35
Map of Birch bridleways, highlighting problem areas.
was a vast improvement. Since then, much of BR23 has also been resurfaced and had drainage installed and the route is much more of a pleasure to use for everyone. Additionally, a request to officially divert BR35 was approved, so that it now follows the better, less boggy
The ‘ditch of death’ before.
route that people had already been using. Work surrounding PRoWs can be long and at times appear fruitless but it is really worth doing. I also think it's important to give praise where it’s due. We all like to make a noise when things are not the way we want them to be, but perhaps not as quick to give thanks and acknowledgment when it is deserved. I admit that all it took on my part was a number of emails, gathering some evidence from other riders and taking photos, to set the wheels of change in motion. I was the EBA Colchester representative at the start, but even though I stepped down from the role to start my PhD studies, I still continued being involved with it. So I would urge you, if there are any particularly bad stretches of bridleway in your area that require considerable work, do explore the LHP option. Getting in touch with your local EBA Area Rep would be a great first step, after which they could help advise you and agree on a strategy going forward.
Happy riding! The ‘ditch of death’ after. Photo: Sara Kulikowski
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By Louise Fuller, EBA Treasurer
Have your membership number ready 20 When we are taking ride entries we get a lot of requests from members who can’t remember their numbers. Very often these come in at the last minute just as a ride is about to close: this is much too late as we are unable to give instant responses - we don’t sit by a computer 24/7 waiting to hear from you and you may even miss the opportunity to enter the ride. Every member is issued with a membership card when they join and on annual renewal so there is no excuse for not knowing your number and you will need it to get your discounted entry.
Remember, EBA is run by volunteers trying to do the very best job for our members and we would be extremely grateful if you can help us by following these simple steps... PLEASE keep a note of your membership number so you don’t have to keep asking us, and if you sometimes do your friends’ ride entries, keep a note of their numbers too. If you really can’t find your membership number please contact the Membership Secretary. If you have a query with your ride entry please contact the Ride Entry Secretary, who has the current information. Do not contact the other officers. They won’t be able to help and will just refer you to the Ride Entry Secretary. Please be considerate when phoning, don’t call early in the morning or late at night, and when we answer, check that it is convenient for us to talk before you launch into your query.
your membership TOP TIP: put number into your phone That way, you will always have it to hand when you want to enter a ride and you won’t have to rely on one of us getting back to you.
ou y k n a h T
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EBA supports Flitch Way Action Group EBA has donated £5,200 to support the work of the Flitch Way Action Group. The money is required to assist with funding for an ambitious but important PRoW project in Great Dunmow, and will also allow the Group to attain charitable status. The Flitch Way follows the route of the old railway line, which runs from Rayne near Braintree through to Bishops Stortford. Much of this route is already well established and accessible for horses, walkers and cyclists, with good, surfaced going About FWAG at either end. However, when the Great Dunmow by-pass was built, FWAG aims to create a multiuser the line was broken and, while cyclists can pick up the National Cycle off-road route that reconnects the Network Route 16 to continue on their way, horse riders and Flitch Way through Dunmow to pedestrians must face traffic, coming to and from the nearby A120, if form a continuous Definitive Bridleway between Rayne and they wish to continue on the Flitch. Bishops Stortford. The group is As a result, FWAG has been set up by a group of local people who are working with Dunmow Town passionate about helping everyone to have improved, continuous Council, Uttlesford District access to the whole length of the Flitch Way. Council, Essex County Council, landowners and developers to secure their commitment to provide a suitable path.
How can you get involved? JOIN the FWAG supporters group and pledge your support LIKE the Facebook page: Flitch Way Action Group HELP FWAG needs help with fundraising, publicity and IT SPREAD THE WORD about the Group and its aims CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
LET’S WEIGH IT UP! plus any load, and the GTW Allen & Page kindly brought a By Brenda Hatch (gross train weight) - the weighbridge to our 2015 Little maximum weight of the vehicle Easton Ride, weighing 50 horses and any trailer that is attached, ranging from 258kg to 741kg plus any load. and providing dietary advice Here’s a bit of food for thought. where required. I weighed my pony’s tack along A weight tape was used on the with my grooming kit/mounting horses before going on to the block, travel rug, travel boots weighbridge. Some owners also and haynet and found that they offered to guess their horse’s came to 30kg. More surprising weight: was the half full water container • Of the riders who guessed, which weighed 15kg. Then we 31% underestimated their horse’s need to think about the water weight and fuel in the vehicle, gas • Comparing the use of a weight bottle, cooking equipment, tape to the weighbridge results, Portaloo, etc. These items could add a further 34% of animals weighed more than the weight 100kg to 200kg to a small lorry. Taking into account tape calculation. the average horse weighs 550kg, two horses and This leads on to questions about accuracy when riders plus their kit and other extras could easily worming our horses and ponies and also about the possible overloading of our vehicles when travelling. weigh in excess of 1500kg. So, the next time you make a trip with your horses, it might be worth Looking at the subject of travelling, manufacturers’ visiting a local public weighbridge to ensure that you or ministry plates specify the weights which should stay legal. be adhered to on every vehicle (these are usually We are hoping to have a weighbridge at another fixed to the inside of the passenger door frame). The plate will give the GVW (gross vehicle weight) - two EBA rides this year. the maximum weight of the vehicle on its own -
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I first became involved in campaigning when the British (Carriage) Driving Society had a very forward thinking chairman for whom Access was an important matter. He developed a network of area representatives, led by a chap called Alec Fry, whose wife was a BHS Access volunteer in Hampshire - the two of them eventually led Hampshire Local Access Forum into the research scheme that has delivered brilliant results there. Unfortunately the BDS became less interested in access and it became clear to me that I would be better involved with the BHS, who were then interested in getting more carriage drivers involved. Eventually, I was invited to join the BHS Access and Rights of Way Advisory Committee. In the early 1990s I attended an AGM of the Essex Bridleways Association, having come into contact with Katy Haines through her being given the brilliantly forward thinking Ways through Essex role at Essex County Council.
Mick Brash, EBA Historic Records Officer, tells us how he got involved with equestrian Rights of Way issues and gives credit to others that have played a part in making Essex Bridleways Association what it is today.
During the meeting, Deirdre Graham (then, of course, EBA Chair) asked whether there was anyone who might be able to store and move around a tiny old caravan for the rides they organised. This I agreed to do. You just wouldn’t believe the work that got done in that caravan. It was barely 10 feet long but sandwiches, cups of tea, burgers, booking in and out, sheltering from the rain, storing all the signage were all done in that tiny space, mostly by Rosemary Carrington. Somehow we kept the old caravan alive until another, larger one was gifted to us. And so I got “sucked in” to EBA. In the mid 90s, a lady from Burnham-on-Crouch, Sian Branchett, took a great interest in bridleway matters in the Maldon area and managed to get Celia Henson and a few others involved too. As a result of her keenness it was decided to put on an equestrian event and to invite all the local councillors and newspapers, and to try to use the event to get more local riders to join EBA. Enormous effort went
into the organisation; Ann Hull kindly gave us the use of her land and equestrian centre and all was brilliantly planned. There were riding obstacle courses, harness demonstrations, jumping, children’s activities, demonstrations by farriers, tack suppliers, all in marquees and several catering trailers. I invited an army of carriage drivers and had organised a ‘drive out’ into the surrounding countryside for willing guests, particularly councillors. And so the big day arrived. We all arranged to meet on the field at between 6 and 7 in the morning but, on the way there, having loaded horses and all the other necessary equipment, news came on the radio that shut down the whole day: the date, 31st July 1997... Princess Diana had died! Imagine the scene. No-one was interested in anything other than the previous night’s events. It was the only topic of conversation. There was suddenly a complete lack of any public interest in horses and Rights of Way. Well the day passed very slowly as far as our bunch of organisers were concerned. It was only as a matter of kindness from many suppliers that we did not incur a financial loss. But the damage was done. Eventually we all recovered our enthusiasm, but
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we are nothing there has never been another attempt to put on a show like that. It was during this time that I came to admire so much the stalwarts of our EBA: Deirdre Graham (now EBA President) with her enormous workload and Rosemary Carrington organising rides, helped so enthusiastically by members of the committee. It was during the 1990s that the ECC review of Rights of Way in the Rochford area was started, and the indefatigable Jane Feather led a group of locals who made numerous claims to get RoW on the Definitive Map. The workload was massive and I well remember meeting up with them all at the Essex Records Office and the excitement whenever we found useful documents proving public rights. At that time the EBA newsletter was being printed on a duplicator (remember them, with tanks full of toner?) and the stencils were cut using an old manual typewriter. Eventually we upgraded to an electric typewriter! During this time we were joined by Jillie Gardner who, being a
computer expert and a brilliant writer, took on production of various policy leaflets and campaign documents. This brought us (kicking and screaming I seem to remember) into the modern age. Eventually we lost Jillie to South Wales, where she is now running a brilliant equestrian tourism B&B in Brechfa, and in due course I ended up taking on the duty of producing the meeting minutes and, eventually the newsletter. In this I was admirably assisted by Mary Balch, who would come over to my office at the yard almost on a weekly basis. Julie Pryer had by now taken the chairmanship of EBA and, together with other members of the committee, agreed to the purchase of a Brother printer to be kept here. Another few years passed and EBA managed to recruit some brilliant campaigners and fundraisers, especially Lesley Gillman who developed, with Katy, our amazing rides
programme. EBA took a major place within the Essex Local Access Forum and much progress was made. Then in 2003 along came my wife Carol and, with her skills on the computer and our new printer, suddenly we had colour photos in the newsletter! Many a long night was spent waiting for the printer to turn out the A4 sheets, then trying to decide which way up to feed them in order to get the other side correct, before stapling them (many a newsletter went out with the pages in non-numerical order) and then came the envelope stuffing. And so to the arrival of John Heginbotham and what a relief! Someone with a lifetime of experience in publishing and printing. A breath of fresh air. From there it just went from strength to strength.
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Essex Bridleways Association Contacts List Chair
Rides Entry Secretary
Rides Marshal Coordinator
Ride and Share
Historic Records Officer
Publicity/ EBA Update Editor Carol Allison
Bridleway Clearance Co-ordinator Brenda Hatch
Petra Studholme 07784 024106
EBA Area Representatives Basildon
Michelle Woodall 07809 439383 Mandy French 01371 850215
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Brentwood & Havering
Heather Brady 01992 578072 Liz Hollingsworth 07855 329059
Rochford & Southend
Sarah Hodgson Sarah Moss
07871 169406 07966 994367
Essex Bridleways Assocation, PO Box 12014, Chelmsford CM1 @EssexBridleways 9UD www.essexbridleways.co.uk Essex Bridleways Association Twitter www.essexbridleways.co.uk Essex Bridleways Association Twitter @EssexBridleways
All the latest news and information from Essex Bridleways Association.