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The British Horse Society British Horse Society Access Week Highlights Safe Off-Road Riding With Celebration Ride

The annual BHS Access Week takes place from Saturday 17 May to Bank Holiday Monday 26 May and this year features several organised off-road rides and a road safety training session. The highlight of events will be the 'Access Week Celebration Ride' celebrating the opening of the 42-mile long Mary Towneley Loop, part of the Pennine Bridleway. The ride will take three days, starting from Sunday 18 May until Tuesday 20 May, and all riders are welcome to take part whether it be for one day or for the whole route.

Currently, Access Week awards are being prepared for over ten Good Guys and newly created routes. Good Guy Awards acknowledge dedication and determination shown by individuals or organisations in maintaining or improving existing rights of way, while Route Creation Awards publicise new routes now available. Each award will be made during a short ceremony, organised locally.

With a growing interest in equestrian tourism the need for more off-road riding routes is increasing, and the BHS Access Week provides the opportunity to publicise the availability of existing routes. It also acknowledges the hard work put in by many BHS and affiliated bridleway group volunteers as well as private and public landowners to provide those routes.

The BHS launched its Ride-UK initiative in 2000, aiming to set up a nationwide network of bridlepaths and many new routes are now being opened as a result, including the Sabrina Way and Claude Duval Way last year; the Mary Towneley Loop is the latest addition with the completed Pennine Bridleway anticipated for 2004. Riders wanting to take their horses on holiday can purchase the BHS publication, Bed and Breakfast for Horses from the BHS Bookshop (price £6.95 plus p&p) providing over 300 places to stay and ride.

Anyone wishing to join the 'Access Week Celebration Ride' of the Mary Towneley Loop should contact Hannah Brown in the BHS Access & Rights of Way Office as prior booking is required. Please (tel: 01926 707813) or email:

British Horse Society Access Week 17 - 26 May 2003

18 May: Opening of Mary Towneley Loop
Rossendale Bridleways Association
Contact: Chris Peat 01254 386459

18 May: 15 mile Spring Ride starting at Sutton Hall, East Essex
Horse Owners and Riders of South East Essex
Contact: Jill Whistler 01702 557734

18 May: Smithills Countryside Park (Greater Manchester)
Smithills & District Bridleways Association
Contact: Caroline Arrowsmith 01204 334010

25 May: 5 and 12 mile rides from East Somerset Railway, Cranmore (Shepton Mallett)
Mendip Byways and Bridleways Association
Contact: Harriet Ray 01749 890582 or <>

25 May: Fun ride at Ascott-under-Wychwood (West Oxfordshire)
BHS Oxfordshire Committee
Contact: Tanya Newbery 01865 460634

29 May: Mounted Road Safety training session
Swavesey & District Bridleways Association and Over & District Riding Club
Contact: Sue Rogers 01954 232758

Good Guy Awards

Angela Yeoman
Nominated by Mendip Byways and Bridleways Association
Shepton Mallett
Since 1985 Mrs Yeoman has been in negotiation with the Somerset County Council to create a network of safe, linking routes around the family owned quarry site in Downhead and diverting the dangerous exit onto the busy A361 road.

Rachel Thompson
Nominated by Mendip Byways and Bridleways Association
Shepton Mallett
Rachel has been the prime motivator in preparing a Business Plan for the MBBA, setting up the Mendip Cross Trails Trust - a registered company achieving charitable status - enabling it to receive major funding for the MBBA bridleways network project.

John Elliman
Nominated by Chris Peat of Rossendale Bridleways Association
Whilst a member of Rossendale Borough Council John Elliman was instrumental in procuring sufficient funding for the creation of 50 miles of off-road riding through the Cycleway and Bridleway Project. His initiative will result in total of £6million being spent over ten years to transform the riding country around Rossendale.
John Elliman received his Good Guy Award at a surprise presentation during his retirement celebrations on 29 March.

Peter Harling (Ockbrook, Derby)
Nominated by Daphne Cliffe of Erewash Riders Association
Now in his eighties, Peter has been involved for over 30 years in bridleway work. His contribution in researching and seeking out information on routes has proved invaluable in Derbyshire

Wendy Asheneden-Bax
Nominated by Elizabeth Parmenter, BHS County Bridleways Officer
South East Kent
Wendy has been instrumental in providing information and surveys on crsooings over several major routes in south east Kent including the M2, A2(T), the M20 and A259.

Heather Wilsher (formerly of East Grinstead, West Sussex now living in Scotland)
Nominated by Julie Hart of the Ashurstwood Bridleway Group (East Grinstead)
Heather set up the Ashurstwood Bridleways Group and lobbied the Council for better rights of way surfaces and signs. She recently flew from Scotland to West Sussex to act as witness in a Public Inquiry about a route she has been working on for thirteen years.

Richard Masters
Smithills Park Ranger, Smithills Country Park (Greater Manchester)
Nominated by Caroline Arrowsmith
Smithills & District Bridleways Association
Richard has helped to set up the Smithills & District Bridleways Association and actively promotes horse riding in the country park and surrounding areas within Bolton Metropolitan Borough. He also publishes a quarterly bridleways newsletter.

Jane Ridley (Hill Chorlton, Newcastle, Staffordshire)
Nominated by C Beeley of North Staffordshire Bridleways Association
Jane was a founder member of NSBA in 1991 and in the early days worked to clear rights of way. Since then she has worked tirelessly on research, collecting historical information and user evidence forms in efforts to upgrade footpaths to bridlepaths and in reclaiming lost bridleways.

London Borough of Hillingdon
Nominated by Joyce Bellamy, BHS London regional Access Officer
The London Borough of Hillingdon sustains an excellent equestrian liaison committee in the area and is acknowledged for its outstanding management of the riding network within an urban environment. It installed a circuit in the new Lake Farm Urban Country Park last year and administers many statutory routes as well as a number of rides in public open spaces.

Cllr Gwilym Williams, Waunfawr, near Caenarfon, N Wales
Nominated by Wendy Davies, BHS NW Wales Region Access Officer
Cllr Williams created the Waunfawr Horse Riders Group. His work has involved opening up old routes and joining Waunfawr with Bethgellert using a cycle and bridleway route. A survey conducted by Cllr Williams revealed 400 horses resident in Waunfawr.

Route Creation Awards

Mark Franklin, North Wootton, Somerset
Nominated by Mendip Byways and Bridleways Association
Shepton Mallett
Mr Franklin bought land including Folley Lane, an ancient Anglo-Saxon track which had become unusable due to ground conditions, and took it upon himself to fence off the definitive route, clearing the ground, digging drainage ditches and repairing the surface to a high standard. The route can now be enjoyed by both riders and walkers all year round.

Alexander Hood, Rotherfield Greys, Henley-on-Thames
Nominated by Tanya Newbery, BHS County Access Officer, Oxon
Mr Hood has planning permission for a golf course on part of his land and has constructed a bridlepath and footpath to run parallel with each other round the entire perimeter of the course enabling riders to enjoy spectacular views in a safe environment. Mr Hood consulted with the BHS during the project and now plans to increase the length of the route in line with an expansion of the golf course (awaiting planning permission).


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