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Essex Bridleways Association
Update Autumn 2016
Inside this issue... • EBA Campaign News • Online Survey Results Published by Essex Bridleways Association • Dates for your diary Charity number: 801530 www.essexbridleways.co.uk • Victory at Southway
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Contents 3: 4: 6: 8: 10: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 22: 23: 24:
ON THE COVER
A note from the Chair EBA News Better Bridleways Campaign Online survey results EBA Petition Assembly Dates for your diary AGM information ViewRanger training Historic Research report Bridleways Development report BHS Acts on Access Progress at ECC meeting Victory in Southway Claim Taking it Slow How horses shaped our highways EBA membership information EBA contact details
Julia Wilson presents the EBA Petition to Councillor Eddie Johnson at County Hall in Chelmsford. Photo:
© Oli Cutmore Media
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.
Let’s leave a lasting legacy By Katie Jerram, EBA Patron 2016 has been an exciting year and I was incredibly honoured to take part in the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, which was an obvious highlight in what has been another busy competition season. Anyone who owns or works with horses will understand the hard work involved in caring for them and keeping them fit and healthy, but that is part of the pleasure. For people of all ages, horses and ponies are the perfect antidote to the stress and pace of modern life. Youngsters learn the responsibility of caring for another living being and also enjoy the pleasure and freedom of riding in the open countryside, and it is especially important that we work to improve the Bridleways network in Essex, so that future generations are not continuously forced to ride on fast and busy roads.
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A note from
The Chair By Julia Wilson, EBA Chair
ell it’s been 6 months since our Spring Update and what a contrast in weather conditions we have experienced. When you have horses you always have an eye on the weather. I am constantly consulting the weather app on my phone to help me decide what rug to use and where to put the horses. When you organise as many rides as EBA does you have even more reason to check, as the weather leading up to and on the day can determine whether a ride will run or not. Ground conditions are so important to our riders and landowners, as well as for the parking! This year has been no exception you have no idea how stressful a downpour can be, or how
many emails it can generate! That said, we have enjoyed a year of fabulous rides and a very successful holiday. When I last wrote I promised you some action this year. I can therefore report that we have had a very busy year with our publicity campaign. We ran a petition and survey which were responded to in great numbers. Members helped greatly by collecting signatures at various venues and generally raising awareness. The petition was handed into Essex County Council and received by Eddie Johnson, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport. The publicity prompted a live interview on BBC Radio Essex; I cannot tell you how daunting that was. With only 2 hours notice and no advance warning of the questions, I must admit to shaking with fear. It went better than I hoped - after all, I can talk for hours about what should be done to improve rider access. I will let you read on for more details of how our campaign has been going and what is still to be done. EBA’s researchers, Sue Dobson and Chris Tout, are beavering away to improve access for us all.
Their reports appear in this issue of the Update, so no need for me to say more, but I must thank them for not giving up. It can be so frustrating and time consuming to get anywhere with PRoW but I really feel we are making some inroads. We are trying hard to work closely with the BHS, ECC PRoW team and local councils. EBA is starting to get recognised as the driving force for riders in Essex and the message that we will not give up is getting through. It does all take time, sometimes years, but slowly we are making small steps in the right direction. Our annual AGM takes place in November and I am excited to announce that we have William Reddaway coming to speak to us about his amazing Ride Around England. I hope to see many of you there; it is always an enjoyable evening with plenty of tea and cake. Soon we will be looking at next year’s rides and pulling together our agenda, so no time to sit still. I know you all look forward to what’s to come. That just leaves me to say a huge thank you to the Trustees and Reps of EBA. They all work tirelessly and we couldn’t do it without them.
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BHS South East Access Conference
In April, Essex Bridleways Association was invited to speak at the BHS SE Access Conference in Kent. EBA Vice Chair Jan Arthur reports on the day. We all gathered at Underriver Village Hall on 16th April for a very informative day. Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access, set the scene and welcomed the speakers which included EBA’s Bridleways Development Officer, Sue Dobson, who gave a presentation on EBA’s Approach to Development and Access Opportunities. Hugh Craddock spoke about Equestrian Access on Commons: rights and sources of data; and Hilary Pierce gave a presentation on Tackling the 2026 Challenge – Don’t lose your way (Sussex) project. Phil Wadey and Sarah Bucks rounded off the day by updating us on their work on 2026: Restoring the Record. All of the presentations were very useful in developing our knowledge of PRoW issues and making contact with others in the southeast who are working in similar areas to EBA. The BHS made us all very welcome and the atmosphere was extremely supportive. A good number of interested people formed the audience.
Congratulations to Kay Vowles who won the Mark Todd Jacket in our prize draw. Kay’s name was selected at random from those that had gathered signatures for our petition. Thank you to all that got involved. We collected 2,644 signatures for the petition, which was presented to ECC in June. Full report on page 10. (With thanks to the Mark Todd Collection).
Rotary Club Donation The EBA committee is extremely grateful for the continued support of Chelmer Bridge Rotary Club who have, once again, made a generous donation of £500 to EBA funds. The money was raised across a number of charitable events, including the annual ‘Rotary Ride’ which took place in April.
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EBA Lead Rein Rides EBA Southway victory We are delighted to announce that the Southway Bridleway Claim has finally been successful. Originating in 2004, this claim has been hard-fought but proved to be a good use of EBA resources in the end. Well done to EBA Basildon Area Rep, Jan Arthur, and all of the many people that have been involved along the way. Full report on page 19.
Donations help raise funds Some of you may have rummaged through the bargain box of donated horsey odds and ends at our rides. This is proving quite popular and makes a little bit of extra cash for EBA funds. If you have any small, new or nearly new items that you would like to donate please bring them along to one of our rides.
This year, EBA took the decision to introduce a ride that was exclusive to riders on the lead rein. The intention was to create the opportunity for children, beginners or nervous riders to experience a gentle hack through our lovely Essex countryside. The event, which took place in May at Weald Country Park, was such a success that we repeated the exercise at Thorndon in October.
EBA History As with all associations, volunteers come and go over the years which can cause us to lose track of where early ideas originated, and who was responsible for the work that has gone before. We were therefore delighted to receive the following email from EBA’s President, Deirdre Graham, who was instrumental in founding EBA back in 1979: ‘I wonder whether anyone looks at the horse’s head - our emblem - and wonders where it came from. It was designed by my daughter Alexandra and is patented to EBA. She is now quite well known in the art world, as Alex Orgill, for her seascapes. I feel very proud of EBA and congratulate you all, past and present, who have contributed so much to it.’
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EBA Campaigns for Better Br
It is all too apparent that the needs of equestrians are being overlooked when it comes to Public Rights of Way funding in Essex, which appears to favour cyclists and walkers. Consequently, EBA has raised its public profile this year with the Better Bridleways for Essex campaign which promotes the need for improved off-road access for horse riders. Pedestrians already have use of an extensive network of footpaths, while multiuser routes (that generally exclude horses) are being structured into many of the new developments springing up across Essex. Cycling is a buzzword in Government and in June, ECC announced its Essex Cycling Strategy, with Cllr Eddie Johnson quoted as saying: ‘This long-term strategy will help focus our efforts for years to come to improve infrastructure for riders across the county.’ It would seem that no such infrastructure is on the cards for horse riders however, since feedback from a variety of sources at ECC suggests that bridleway creations are unlikely due to lack of funding – but
why? Bridleways are multiuser routes open to walkers and cyclists. Bridleways are natural corridors for wildlife and give riders and other users the opportunity to enjoy a healthy, outdoor lifestyle, with obvious benefits to mental and physical wellbeing. A failure to recognise the widespread benefits of investing
© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
in bridleways creation seems at odds with Government and ECC policies which promote exercise and outdoor activity. Meanwhile, horse riding was the focus for this year’s national Take up the Reins Tour, devised by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and supported by Hoof - the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) initiative to encourage people ‘of all ages and backgrounds’ into the sport. Listing a host of benefits, the tour encourages everyone to ‘Get Horsey’ for improved health, fitness and wellbeing. Indeed,
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r idleways for Essex
Play your part What you can do to help: Thanks to funding from the Aviva Community Fund, EBA has created a poster and leaflets to support our campaign. We need your help with display and distribution: download via the ‘campaigns’ tab on our website, or pick up copies at our rides.
© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
BETA’s press release highlighted what we, as riders, already know - that horses are: “…a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors and they’re also perfect for: keeping healthy and burning calories at a time of concern about increasing obesity; helping to relieve stress and aid mindfulness; and establishing new relationships – with horses and people.” Such initiatives are to be applauded, but where are future generations of equestrians going to ride? Horses may have shaped our highways network historically but our Survey of Essex Riders confirms that there is now a desperate need for investment in bridleways (full report on page 8). Pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders are all vulnerable road users
© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
Write to 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. Just write to them explaining why you need more bridleways in your area. Who to contact:
© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
at risk from increasingly fast and heavy traffic – even our country lanes are no longer the safe haven they once were – and yet Essex equestrians have a disjointed network of bridleways which fails to satisfactorily serve the significant number of horse riders in the county. EBA is working hard to alert those in power to the plight of horse riders and we need your help. Read on to find out what we have achieved so far and how you can play your part in making our collective voice heard.
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 Councils: 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.
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the eBA 8
ONLINe Survey To support its campaign work, EBA conducted an online survey with the aim of gaining a snapshot of Essex riders and their thoughts on riding in the county.
of people regularly ride on busy main roads.
said they were in the saddle for over an hour
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• 1046 riders completed the • 95% of people said that survey, made up of 36 male improved off-road access and 1010 (97%) female*. would make them hack out more. • 94% of riders were aged 17 or over. 46% were aged between 31 and 50 years of age, with 30% being 50+. • 91% ride more than once a week, with 64% of those riding every day or most days. • 84% ride for fun, with 48% of those also competing locally. • 52% said that they are in the saddle for over an hour – 10% of those ride for more than 2 hours.
• 1,000 people selected specific answers to best reflect their feelings when riding on the roads. Of these: 37% don’t enjoy hacking because of the traffic, while 6% don’t hack out at all because they feel the roads are too dangerous. 50% avoid some roads because of the traffic. Others used the comments box to expand on their concerns.
Where we ride
• 98% said they would like to see the Government do more to consider the needs of equestrians.
• 47% of people regularly ride on busy main roads.
The equestrian industry
• 55% of all respondents classed off-road access in their area as poor or very poor; 26% thought it was Okay.
• Respondents listed a total of 2,231 horses (with 10% of respondents sharing or loaning equines).
would like to see the Government do more to consider the needs of equestrians
• 31 people classed themselves as professionals/ competitor/business**, accounting for 111 horses (plus 1 Mounted Police). • Of those that specified, 739 people keep their horses at livery/friend’s property; 20 keep horses at their own equestrian business; and 282 on their own private property***. *Sport England’s research revealed that far fewer women than men participate in sport regularly: the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, was designed to address this gender imbalance. Horse riding meanwhile, is enjoyed largely by females of all ages. **Equestrian ownership and activity makes a significant contribution to our regional and national economy. The British Horse Society supplied us with the following figures: 27 BHS Approved Centres in Essex 2,241 BHS members in Essex (as of Dec 2015). *** There is a common misconception that horse owners are wealthy landowners. A large number of riders support the local economy by paying for livery.
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What you said: People that completed our survey were given the opportunity to make further comment. Many feel that Essex roads are getting busier, with faster traffic and increasingly intolerant or aggressive motorists. The disjointed bridleways network is a problem, with bridleways that lead nowhere or end on busy roads. Others expressed concern that fly tippers and off-road vehicles make PRoW impassable. Thank you for everyone that took the time to complete our survey. We will continue to analyse the results and comments in detail and by region. Since we don’t have contact details for respondents, please have a look on the EBA website if you have a specific query: you will find plenty of useful information – www.essexbridleways.co.uk.
Over 2,600 riders sign EBA Petition
On 8th June, Essex Bridleways Association presented a petition to Essex County Council requesting increased access to safe off-road routes for horse riders. The petition contained 2,644 signatures and was received by Councillor Eddie Johnson, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport. As a result of our efforts, EBA achieved news coverage in a number of publications, including a substantial piece in Essex Chronicle. EBA Chair, Julia Wilson was also interviewed live on the Dave Monk drive-time show on BBC Essex Radio. In a written response to the letter accompanying the petition, Cllr Johnson highlighted a number of actions designed to improve the safety issues affecting equestrians riding on the county’s roads. These included support for the British Horse Society’s ‘Dead Slow’ Campaign – information which was shared using social media, e-newsletter and the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) website: www.saferessexroads.org/road-users/horse-riders. However, the EBA Committee felt that the main point of the petition – i.e. the need for increased off-road access - has not been addressed. As we go to press, EBA has replied and awaits further correspondence.
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A small selection of comments… “My children hack out and I worry constantly as drivers drive too fast and don't slow down on the country lanes especially bends!” “Have recently sent my horse to my niece in Suffolk as impossible to ride in this area without stress.”
“Thinking of giving up as roads are too bad.”
“Nearly every time we ride drivers are aggressive and pass too close and too fast. We always thank careful drivers but over the last couple of years we have noticed that more and more drivers actually want confrontation. I have ridden out for over 40 years but it is so dangerous now I am thinking of giving up.”
“With the ever increasing house building in our area our previously quiet country roads are now like racetracks and so dangerous that we soon won't be able to ride out at all. It's very sad.”
“...there are literally NO safe routes to hack on! There is one short bridleway (approx 1 minute ride in length) which leads nowhere; other than that it is road riding. It really is pretty dire. Make it a safer environment for all involved add in decent bridleways! There are enough footpaths.”
“Horse riding and access to safe bridleways/multi user routes should be integrated into all sports/outdoor and leisure strategic planning at a national and local level.”
“I have completely lost my nerve to ride on the road. Even the small lanes are lethal. Cars drive so fast, have no idea you are around the corner. Please give us more off road riding.”
“Would love to see a continuous link of bridleways around Essex to allow you to roam our wonderful countryside and to enable young horses to learn to hack out without fear of collision or fretting with the occasional ignorant driver on the road - this should be a pleasurable hobby for both horse and rider as well as much needed exercise for both.”
“Riding in the manège gets quite boring very quickly, I really wish we had some bridleways near us.”
EBA is extremely grateful to those that expressed their thanks in the comments box; it was also good to see that so many people are members of EBA and/or the BHS and other access groups. However, over 33% of people were not a member of any RoW group. Completing our survey and signing our petition are fantastic first steps but we would urge all Essex horse riders to be more proactive. EBA is a registered charity, run by a small team of volunteers and, while we do liaise with the authorities and fight the cause for riders in Essex, we also ask that you help us by joining and becoming actively involved wherever possible.
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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY... Thursday 10th November
Essex Bridleways Association AGM
Our AGM is the ideal opportunity to meet EBA Committee members, Area Reps and Researchers and to find out more about our work, as well as giving you the chance to discuss any Rights of Way issues you might have. After speeding through the formalities we will enjoy a fascinating talk by William Reddaway who, in 2013, rode 2,700 miles around England. Free refreshments and a fundraising raffle with our usual range of high quality prizes will be on offer. Full details on opposite page.
Raffle prizes kindly donated by...
Saturday 3rd December EBA Epping Forest Ride (EBA members only) Bury Road, Chingford Plains, Chingford, Essex E4 7QH. Epping Forest is a wonderful place to ride in winter as the surfaced tracks are excellent at this time of year. It’s also a great opportunity to get out the tinsel and put on fancy dress. As usual, EBA rosettes will be given to all those riding and there will be mince pies and mulled wine to warm you up and get you in the festive spirit.
Great gift idea Why not treat a friend to EBA membership? At just £15 for a year, it really is the ideal present for the horse rider who has everything and they will benefit from discounts on EBA rides and more, so it really is the gift that keeps on giving.
A Ride Around England On 10th May 2013, 65 year-old ‘happy hacker’ William Reddaway and his horse, Strider, set off from Cheltenham to make a journey of 2,700 miles: more than twice the distance from John O’Groats to Land’s End. On 8th December they returned, having travelled to the four corners of England via 30 cathedrals, with no back-up vehicle or crew. Strider came home, fitter, fatter and more relaxed than when he set off. William came home ‘a wreck, weary and aching, but on the planned date and in the saddle.’ So far they have raised more than £78,000 for the Family Holiday Association and Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre - Riding for Disabled Association.
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Essex Bridleways Association
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Thursday 10th November 2016 Keene Hall, Galleywood, Nr Chelmsford, Essex CM2 8PT Doors open 7pm for a 7.30pm start Agenda: Arrive, get yourself a free cuppa, buy a raffle ticket, have a chat, grab a seat
7.30pm Apologies for absence Approval of 2015 minutes Matters Arising Chair’s Report Treasurer’s Report & Appointment of independent examiner of a/cs for 2017 Appointment of Trustees (nomination forms available from email@example.com or via the news page at www.essexbridleways.co.uk) Other matters at the discretion of the Chair Note: Only members aged 18 and over may vote at the AGM
8.00pm Short break
8.10pm: One man, one horse, 2,700 miles and 30 cathedrals William Reddaway promises to enthrall and entertain us with an illustrated talk explaining why and how he completed a mammouth fundraising trek around England. He will describe what it’s like to ride through the centre of a major city, why he dismounted and led his horse for 1,000 miles, how he planned for 212 nights on the road and arranged feed and shoeing, as well as how he coped with blocked routes, what it feels like to lead your horse into a cathedral, and how help appeared when needed.
9.00pm Raffle winning numbers announced and a chance to meet your Area Reps, mingle and chat to the Committee and meet other EBA members
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ViewRanger training By Louise Fuller, EBA Treasurer
Ten EBA members came to learn about the ViewRanger app at our training session in March. ViewRanger is a mapping app for your smartphone. The app is free and you pay to download Ordnance Survey map ‘tiles’ which are very reasonably priced. Will Khan from ViewRanger showed us how to use the various features. Most useful for horse riders is being able to pinpoint where you are - very helpful, especially in places like Thetford Forest where every tree looks the same - so you don’t get lost. You can also track your route and see how far you have been, along with your average speed on the ride, and your top speed - some riders love to know how fast they have galloped. Routes which have been plotted by other people can
be downloaded from the ViewRanger website, and you can share routes with your friends. As an example of the app’s usefulness, a couple of people at the session had recently moved to a new yard. Some local riders had been taking them out and about, showing them various places to go but it was quite hard to absorb this new information when you are on horseback. With ViewRanger they can track their path, then study it later and follow it again when they go out on their own. Everyone enjoyed the afternoon and took away some useful information; we will probably all use ViewRanger in different ways to suit our own purposes. Let us know if you would be interested in a further training session.
Harold’s Park Riding Centre and Stables Firewood logs now in stock Get ready for winter with our seasoned logs which are available to buy in bulk or by the bag. Prices: £125 for 1.2 cubic metres or £6.00 a bag. Kindling £6.50. Happy to deliver. Stabling and DIY Livery Full range of equestrian facilities including hacking and indoor and outdoor arenas.
Locally grown Christmas trees Telephone: 01992 893948 for details or visit www.haroldspark.co.uk Harold’s Park Farm, Bumbles Green, Nazeing, Essex EN9 2SF
Kind supporters of EBA rides.
Guess the weight competition On the Harold’s Park Farm ride, we were joined by Sally Scott from Spillers Horse Feeds who brought their weighbridge along to provide riders with their horse’s accurate weight. Many riders took advantage of the service and it was good to see that most of the horses had the perfect condition score. Why not have a go in our fun competition to guess the weight of Dyce (pictured). Whoever gets closest to his actual weight will receive a 1kg bag of Spearmint Horse Treats kindly donated by Spillers Horse Feeds. Email your entries to: firstname.lastname@example.org Entries close: 9th November 2016. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn at random from the correct entries.
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Historic Research Report Historic research has taken a bit of a back seat this summer as we made the decision to review all the OS Explorer Maps for Essex and create spreadsheets recording the routes identified for research. This task is now complete and we have around one thousand routes recorded. The routes have, as far as possible, been grouped by parish, meaning that specific areas can be researched at one time thereby speeding up the process. If you wish to know if a route you are interested in is recorded for research, or have information on routes within a particular parish, please get in touch (contact details on back page). It’s good to talk Sometimes, submitting a claim is neither possible nor the best option. Early on in my research I was asked to look at a bridleway that just stopped in the middle of a field. Whilst walking the area (this research thing can be quite healthy) to see exactly what was happening on the ground I met the landowner. Far from being a bad experience this resulted in agreement to find a solution to meet all our needs in relation to the Public Rights of Way crossing his land. To cut a long story short, in time we agreed a diverted route for the dead-end bridleway, diversions to other bridleways which improved the routes for both riders and landowner and, finally, the landowner offered to create a new bridleway which reduced the amount of time riders had to spend on a busy road. The purpose of this tale is to show that whilst research and claims are necessary, it is also sometimes good to talk and
By Chris Tout, EBA Historic Research Officer
15 negotiate. There are good guys out there and polite enquiries may well lead to successful outcomes. ‘She also believes in Father Christmas and the tooth fairy’ I hear you say – but if there is no evidence on which to make a claim what have you got to lose? Claims Update We are awaiting decisions on five claims that we submitted earlier this year, so fingers crossed that these will be successful. Colchester District: The Definitive Map Modification Order for Restricted Byways 29 Chappel & 65 Great Tey (Pattocks Lane) was finally confirmed in December; a successful outcome.
The Definitive Map Modification for Bridleway 11 Chappel & 64 Great Tey & Restricted Byway 28 has not been confirmed as objections were received. The objections were not withdrawn and the matter has been referred to the Secretary of State; an Inspector has been appointed and will make a decision based on statements of case and a site visit. We hope to have a decision before the end of the year.
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Bridleways Development Report
Over the last year or so I have been looking at ways that we can make our presence more prominent with those in authority and, apart from doing our best to influence local policy, it has become apparent that attitudes towards equestrian access need to change nationally in order to filter through to local level. Otherwise we will continue to be ignored whilst cyclists appear to get more funding and facilities than they can possibly use, not only throughout Essex but the country as a whole. To this end I have established links with the British Horse Society and have now become their County Access and Bridleways Officer for Essex. This means that the work that I am doing on behalf of EBA can be ‘doubled up’ with the backing of our national equestrian organisation, which is becoming increasingly proactive on Access issues. There are several Government consultations on policy being held currently and, where previously we would have heard of these purely by chance, we are now involved - which means that both the BHS and EBA have a chance to put their views to those in power (see Mark Weston’s summary on page 17). On behalf of EBA, I have been involved with the following major projects/consultations:
By Sue Dobson, EBA Bridleways Development Officer
• I am a member of the A120 Forum looking at the proposed upgrade of the A120 between Braintree and Marks Tey – the same project management company will be looking at the feasibility study for the upgrade of the A12 from Chelmsford to Colchester and we will also be invited to contribute to this later in the year. • Network Rail Anglia – level crossings closure consultation: several crossings in the region are scheduled for closure, some of which affect bridleways. I have been involved in looking at compensatory routes if these closures go ahead. • Local Plans – several Districts have Plans, either currently under consultation, or due shortly. I have been busy compiling a response from EBA and on behalf of the BHS, so that two equestrian organisations have their views heard.
• I am on the Steering Group for the Northern Gateway development in Colchester and have held meetings with the Planning Department at Colchester Borough Council. • I chair the Thurrock Local Access Forum. • I am also responding to national Government consultations, such as the Walking and Cycling Investment Strategy. With restrictions on funding from Essex County Council, it is becoming more and more crucial that the equestrian voice is heard on a national scale as well as locally. I firmly believe that EBA and other regional bridleways groups need to look at the wider picture if we are to succeed in achieving improved equestrian access in the future. I am committed to this strategy and you can also play your part by writing to your MPs and councillors (see page 7).
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British Horse Society acts on
ACCESS Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access, updates us on some of the national issues that he has been involved with recently
Deregulation Act – 2026 Cut-off: The Society continues to contribute through Defra’s stakeholder group to the drafting of the necessary secondary legislation and statutory guidance to implement the Rights of Way provisions of the Deregulation Bill. Highways Accessibility Strategy: The BHS Access and Rights of Way department, Access and Bridleway Officers, and equestrian access groups around England worked collaboratively with Highways England in the consultation process of the Accessibility Strategy, to ensure equestrians were included alongside other road users in this document. Highways England Designated Funds Stakeholder Forum, 26th July: It was good to hear Jim O'Sullivan, Chief Executive, Highways England, referring to improving Bridleways in his address to the Forum giving the examples of the works that have
been done at the A14/M6 link to reconnect Bridleways that were severed when the M6 was originally constructed, and on the A1 at Leeming Bar in Yorkshire where the Society and Bedale County Access and Bridleways Officer have worked hard to secure Bridleways improvements. Highways England Environment Designated Fund and Cycling Safety and Integration Fund are both opportunities for us to use to get Bridleways improvements wherever possible. Cycling and Walking Strategy: Following on from the response to the Department of Transport’s Cycling and Walking Strategy, we are continuing to lobby Government that equestrians should not be excluded when such provision is being provided, and we have met with Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Transport Select Sub-Committee. The BHS has also been active with their ‘Dead Slow’ Campaign earlier this year following some of
the tragic incidents that have occurred on the roads recently, most notably the shocking one involving Mark Evans who sadly lost his carriage horse, Will.
BHS Letter to the Editor, The Daily Telegraph, 23rd May issue: ‘SIR - It is concerning that once again an important Government Consultation, namely the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, fails to recognise equestrians and their need for safe routes alongside the identified needs of cyclists and walkers. This can and does lead to situations where an equestrian offroad route is severed, or it is inadvertently ruled that horse riders can safely remain on roads which are not considered to be safe for walkers and cyclists. The British Horse Society has received more than 2,000 reports of road incidents involving horses in five years, including 36 rider deaths; hence our urgency to ensure equestrian safety is included in this important Strategy.’
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Positive progress at ECC meeting By Jan Arthur, EBA Vice Chair
Back in April I joined Sue Dobson, EBA’s Bridleways Development Officer, for a meeting at County Hall with Councillors Rodney Bass, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, and Eddie Johnson, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport. Shirley Anglin, Public Rights of Way (PRoW) and Localism Officer, was also present. They assured us that we are ‘pushing at an open door’. The ECC Local Access Plan does promote all forms of access. ECC has ‘a desire to make bridleways’ and Councillor Bass said that ECC can,
and will, look at creating new routes via the planning system. A number of areas were discussed and some positive progress was made:
Help us to help you
1. Cycle Routes: Councillor Bass took on board the idea of horses accessing cycle routes and was of the opinion that it could be safer for horses to use cycle routes than busy roads.
Can you help us identify the need for a linked-up network of routes across Essex?
2. Surfacing standards are seen as a problem for PRoW creation due to the cost of upkeep. EBA felt that, if the route was a link, then it would be preferable to have tarmac than nothing at all. 3. Connectivity: Councillor Bass suggested EBA demonstrates a “need” to have connectivity by showing PRoWs that can be linked up (for example, where clusters of riders use a livery yard or riding school). 4. Planning for Bridleways: ECC said that getting in early was key - something EBA is already doing through Sue Dobson’s work on Local Development Plans. It was agreed that the meeting had been useful, but while ECC was broadly in favour of the idea of bridleways creations, cost was a major issue. However, there was room for creative thinking by all.
Area reps required We have vacancies for area reps in both Harlow and Thurrock. Area reps act as a contact point for their district and have the full support of the EBA team, so it’s not as daunting as it sounds, even if you have no previous experience. For more information contact EBA Chair Julia Wilson – details on back page.
• Can you identify cycle routes that could be used by horses to get you off roads in order to access bridleways? • Can you identify a circular route where livery yards or riding school numbers could be used to support the need for a PRoW? Are there roads that could be identified by Highways as linking roads for circular routes? • Is there a link that could be made to join up a route and which you would ride in order to avoid roads? • Do you know of any local developments where a new bridleway could be included? • Do you know of any landowners who would be open to putting in a PRoW? If you can help build on these ideas please email Jan Arthur email@example.com – or write to Jan Arthur, Essex Bridleways Association, PO Box 12014, Chelmsford CM1 9UD.
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EBA victorious at last in Southway Bridleway Claim It has been a long time since Essex Bridleways Association made the claim for the Southway bridleway in Langdon Hills MMO 557 (Footpaths 271, 272 and 273, Basildon). Deirdre Graham, our President, made the first claim in 2004. Eleven years later, the first inquiry was held in February 2015 and was supported by many witnesses. The result was a decision in favour of a bridleway, thanks to very clear evidence submitted by EBA. This decision was challenged and a second inquiry was held on 10th May 2016. This proved very interesting as none of the objectors, except one, turned up! So, the only people present were the EBA, ECC (who were neutral), the Inspector, one objector and a few members of the public. The final decision has now been made and EBA has been successful. The whole route from Beeleigh Avenue to Southway is to be a bridleway.
By Jan Arthur, EBA Vice Chair and Basildon Area Rep
19 Here is a very abbreviated summary of the the Inspector’s decision: • The order proposes to modify the Definitive Map and Statement for the area by adding footpaths linking Lee Chapel Lane and Dry Street, Basildon. • …I have given notice of my proposal to confirm the order with modifications to alter the status of the order route from footpath to bridleway and to reduce its width. This result could not have been achieved without the help of many people. We had 50 witness statements altogether: a fantastic number of riders, cyclists and walkers who were willing to stand up and be counted in trying to prove our case. Thanks to all of them. Our oldest witness was
over 90 years of age and her memories went back to the ‘30s. Particular thanks are due to those who came to the original inquiry and gave testimony of their use of the route. It showed how much the claim was of importance to everyone who rode it, both now and in the past. We also owe thanks to Alan Kind, the solicitor who represented EBA at the inquiry. His knowledge and guidance ensured that the correct evidence was presented and helped the Inspector to make a clear decision. These legal costs were paid for by EBA: a good use of our resources which highlights the value of our fundraising work. The result was worth waiting for and many future riders can enjoy riding in Langdon Hills now that the circular route is assured for the future. Perseverance pays off!
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w o l s
Earlier this year we received an email from someone seeking advice on attending EBA rides. Although she was an experienced rider, she was retraining a horse so wanted a slower-paced ride and lacked the calming effect of a companion to accompany her. If you are in a similar position, then here are a few pointers to help: • On most rides there are places where the horses can canter but it is not for the entire ride. Read the ride details – any with lots of long grassy tracks are likely to encourage those that enjoy a good canter. If you are still unsure, please get in touch – the rides organiser should be able to advise which rides might best suit. • Riders on EBA rides set off at intervals and are generally considerate but we do ask that riders who wish to go slowly
© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
have an early start. Our rides are marshalled by volunteers so we try not to keep them waiting longer than necessary for slower riders to finish. • If you would like a companion to ride with, try posting on our Facebook page before the event to see if you can team up with someone in a similar position. • Come along and marshal at one or two of our rides so that you can see what goes on and get a feel for things. • One other consideration might
Howletts Hall Livery Yard Full, part and DIY livery Private off-road hacking 20 x 40 ﬂoodlit manège Schooling and working livery available 5* bespoke livery for your horse Howletts Hall, Chelmsford Road, Blackmore, Ingatestone CM4 0QA
Tel: Lauren on 07827 737471 Kind supporters of EBA rides.
be EBA's Ride & Share scheme which is open to members and offers accompanied hacking with our volunteer Ride & Share hosts - a great way of making friends and exploring new areas. Ultimately, we hope you find the confidence to come along as there are some lovely rides to enjoy in our beautiful countryside.
Ride marshals needed We depend on sufficient volunteers being available to help us marshal the rides. Without enough volunteers we cannot continue to provide the number and variety of rides that we currently do. Please consider whether you (or a friend) would be willing to help us. Volunteers are entitled to a free ride entry or a year’s free EBA membership for helping, as well as priority entry for EBA holidays. Please contact Sandra Deeran on firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
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Nifty ideas! EBA’s Rides Organiser shares her favourite hints and tips… © Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
Thank you to longstanding EBA member, Claire Green, for emailing us with these kind words. It certainly makes it all worthwhile… I would just like to say how fantastic the Braughing ride is, I know it's a bit of a trek for us, however, well worth it. The views were stunning, lots of places to trot and canter, an outstanding ride. Unfortunately, I have to rely on transport so I can't do every ride, otherwise you'd see me on all the rides and at every Ride & Share place I could get to. I just can't think of a better pastime you could do with your horse. I'm so glad to have found the EBA; this fantastic organisation provides outstanding organised rides. From the moment you leave your yard you know there will be no confusion on finding the ride. Once arrived, the smiling friendly faces of the EBA team always greet you, no matter the weather. The routes are so well marked we have never lost our way; you can enjoy your ride knowing that the EBA team will ensure your safe return as you are tracked at many check points along the way and, to top it all, you receive a lovely rosette at the end just for participating - Ronnie, my trusty steed, has many and he well deserves them. I challenge anyone to find a better leisure riding organisation than the EBA! Claire Green
Fed up with having nowhere to put your phone whilst riding or when working around the stables? Don't want to wear a bum bag? These running cases are an ideal lightweight alternative that don't bounce around as you ride. Most are waterproof and some have plastic screens that you can use the phone through. Some also have a small space for a key. I had been looking for something like this for ages when I hit upon these.
Snipping away Lesley has also taken to snipping away at the hedgerows as she hacks. “I attach a pair of garden secateurs to my saddle and snip as I ride. Cases can be found at garden centres.”
Shiatsu for horses Free relaxation session for your horse
I’m studying Equine Shiatsu and looking for more horses to work with in order to enhance my theoretical knowledge and practice. Shiatsu is similar to Acupuncture, but without the needles. It involves gentle stretches to warmed muscles; leg and tail rotations. Experienced practitioners work Meridians and powerful points to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal itself. This oriental therapy works particularly well for horses - for more information see www.schoolofequineshiatsu.com If you feel you would like your horse to experience this amazing therapy please give me a call to discuss (permission from the vet will be required before a session can be arranged).
Dian Van Eyck – 07772 642244
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How horses shaped our highways By Ken McDonald, Secretary of The Hundred Parishes Society
Many settlements within the Hundred Parishes evolved alongside highways to serve passing traffic: initially farm carts, drovers with cattle and travellers on horseback, then passenger coaches and bigger farm wagons. Some vehicles were drawn by six or more horses or oxen. The busiest routes radiated out from London. Roads did not have the luxury of a firm surface until the introduction of tarmac at the beginning of the 20th century. Since the Middle Ages parishes had maintained roads but increasing traffic meant that some could no longer find the necessary resources. Roads were badly rutted, muddy in winter and dusty in summer, often only passable by encroaching more and more onto adjoining land.
Increasing vehicle size and volume of traffic, especially taking farm produce into the expanding capital, caused much damage. Parliament authorised the overseeing of key routes by surveyors, and later by boards of trustees, who were responsible for maintaining a given length of road from the proceeds of tolls. These roads were known as “turnpikes” after an old word meaning toll gate. The first turnpike road in England was established in 1663 on the Old North Road, known more recently as the A10, running from Wadesmill in the parish of Thundridge north to Huntingdonshire. The country’s first toll gate was set up in Wadesmill. More turnpike roads and toll gates followed in the 18th century.
© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
The arrival of the railways in the mid 1800s took much traffic off the roads and spelt the end of economic viability for turnpikes. Main routes became the responsibility of county or district authorities and they were given road numbers in the 1920s. Much still survives of how things used to be if you take time to look. The Hundred Parishes Society aims to increase awareness, enjoyment and care of an area that encompasses parts of Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and North Essex. EBA is a member of the Society, which particularly encourages healthy recreational activity. Find out more at www.hundredparishes.org.uk
Cutting back The winter months are the ideal time to cut back overgrowth on bridleways and, whilst clearance is the responsibility of ECC, budget cuts sometimes mean that this can be a slow and frustrating process, so some riders may wish to take matters into their own hands. If this is the case, EBA can help coordinate work parties. We have some tools but would ask for your help enrolling local volunteers too. If you would like help or advice, please contact our Bridleways Clearance Coordinator, Brenda Hatch (details on back cover).
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Strength in numbers EBA needs your support to fight for safe off-road access for horse owners. Membership costs just £15 a year and is free for under 16s.
How to join: 1. Online Visit www.essexbridleways.co.uk and on the ‘join us’ page you can find links to join online, renew your subscription or download a membership form. Joining online helps us by cutting down on administration and saves EBA money. 2. By post Ask our membership secretary to send you a membership form, download one from our website or pick one up at one of our rides. Contact: email@example.com or write to Alison Craigmile, EBA Membership Secretary, 40 The Chase, Romford, Essex RM1 4BE Save our resources: Choosing to renew your membership automatically via PayPal or by standing order cuts administration and reduces EBA print and postage costs. Members’ benefits: • Up to £5 off EBA rides entry fees • Priority entry to some EBA events, including EBA holidays • EBA Update magazine delivered to your door twice a year • Email notifications of news and events • Access to EBA’s Ride & Share Scheme • Help with bridleways issues and claims • Up to 10% on new insurance policies from South Essex Insurance Brokers • 10% discount from John Griffin
Trailer Training • 30% discount on your first BHS membership - join by phone or paper application, state that you are an EBA member and give your membership number to receive your discount. This action cannot be done via online applications.
We couldn’t do it without you If you ever wondered just how many people are involved in running our fundraising rides then consider this… Over a period of 10 rides we had 147 helpers which resulted in 107 vouchers being issued meaning 40 people helped without taking a voucher. During this time, 41 vouchers were used for ride entries which equates to the value of £625, and 19 vouchers were used in lieu of EBA membership subscriptions to the value of The cyclists that unmark our rides go to extraordinary lengths to £285. retrieve our tapes. These figures do not include all those volunteers that organise and plan the rides programme or the bikers who do such a fantastic and efficient job of collecting all the tapes after each and every ride. A massive thank you to you all. On the subject of numbers… Rides Secretary Denise Dillon collected these statistics last year relating to riders’ actual start times compared to their booking time: 10% start early 57% within 15 minutes 21% between 15 & 30 minutes 11% between 30 & 45 minutes 1% more than 45 minutes after their time. If you can help us to keep things running smoothly by leaving on time we would be really grateful. Thank you.
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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 Coordinator Brenda Hatch
Petra Studholme 07784 024106
EBA Area Representatives Basildon
Michelle Woodall 07809 439383 Mandy French 01371 850215
Brentwood & Havering
Heather Brady 01992 578072 Liz Hollingsworth 07855 329059
VACANT - contact EBA Chair Julia Wilson if you could fill this role
Rochford & Southend
VACANT - contact EBA Chair Julia Wilson if you could fill this role
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 Assoc Twitter @EssexBridleways