NEWS – History archive 2007
21 December 2007
We are working with the FODDC to access European funding for the extension and development of rights of way for both carriage drivers and horse riders throughout the district. Our goal as explained at our recent annual meeting is to make a more cohesive network. Our bid for monies will go to DEFRA as part of the FODDC's expression of interest. We should know around the end of Jan 2008 if the FODDC has been successful in the competition for money (which covers the whole of the SW of England). If we are successful then the real work starts! Watch this space!
Working Party to clear the path, known locally as “The Pylons”
on Saturday 6 October, meet at 2pm
The track before work started on clearance
The track after clearance
An invitation to help clear a very overgrown track
Directions to site :-
Coming from Yorkley towards Viney Hill, cricket pitch on the right, then down to the bottom of the hill, on the right is a small lay-by and crossing over the road entering the forest on the left; that is Deadman's crossing. There is a barrier into the forest, which I will open. If one gets to Viney Hill Church, that is about ½ mile too far!
Because of the volume of work now facing Glos County Council on implementing their Rights of Way Improvement Plan they are in the process of allocating a priority status to this work which at the worst could mean that some changes to the definitive map are not addressed in time for the cut off in 2026. We are seeking to see how much work is in the pipeline and the priority allocated to it - this is not information readily available or normally given to a group such as ours. We have been asked to be patient and so watch this site for more information
June 2007 - Press Release
FORESTRY COMMISSION APPROVE ROUTES FOR HORSE RIDERS & CARRIAGE DRIVERS IN THE YORKLEY AREA
Negotiations between Forest of Dean District Horse Riders & Carriage Drivers Association and the Forestry Commission have recently yielded results.
In the Association's bid to promote and develop circular horse riding and carriage driving routes in the district, the Forestry Commission has agreed to permit horses to use the old stone track from Danby Lodge through Cockshoot, alongside existing users, all year round, to create a circular route for riders. "Providing there is no damage to the track, when it is reviewed in 2008, it will become a permanent route for horses", added the Forestry Commission.
The Association's Chairman, Jenny Carling, said "This is a really positive first step forward in developing much needed circular routes for riders and carriage drivers in the District. We have welcomed working in partnership with Phil Morton and his team, which we will continue to do, to achieve our aim. It will not only benefit local forest users but also provide routes for tourists".
A second track, from Deadman's Cross on the Viney Hill Road at Yorkley, running parallel with the pylons down to Blakeney Straits Road, has also been given the green light for horses by Forestry Commission. "We are willing to dedicate this track to horses year round," said the Forestry Commission this week. "We recognise the importance of providing links to hard tracks for riders and carriage drivers and this route is a key route for our equestrian forest users".
Horse riders and carriage drivers will also benefit from the opening of another route, which runs north, parallel to the walkers' track from Bailey Hill Cottages. As it is a soft track the Forestry Commission has granted Summer use on this only, from the beginning of May until the end of September. William Reddaway, Gloucestershire BHS Bridleways Officer, commented "This demonstrates the Forestry Commission's willingness to open up a number of tracks for equestrian users, however, we would ask that riders and carriage drivers are responsible in their use of these routes, particularly in wet weather". To build on the good will, we ask that all riders respect other users of the forest and stick to the agreed routes, especially in Winter, when damage to tracks is greatest.
These are recent successes of the Association's on-going negotiations with the Forestry Commission in the Yorkley area but it will continue to work in partnership to develop any further equestrian routes in a number of other areas within the District.
Anyone interested in joining the Forest of Dean District Horse Riders & Carriage Drivers Association, or seeking advice on local issues for riders, should contact the Membership Secretary on 01594 510435 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors:
Survey results show Forest of Dean District horse riders and carriage drivers bring an estimated £12.5 million to the local economy annually.
. Horse riding and carriage driving is a healthy way of enjoying the surrounding countryside and spans all age groups. The Association is trying to develop circular riding and carriage driving routes in order to promote this healthy activity.
. In developing a network of circular routes, the Forest of Dean District can promote and improve its equestrian tourism opportunities in the area. Equestrian tourism could bring additional value to the local economy.
. The Forestry Commission is charged with managing the development of Recreational usage of their land within the Forest of Dean and does this in partnership with all relevant stakeholders.
. Other than the routes described above for Yorkley, the Forestry Commission policy for horses and carriage usage is for riders and drivers to obtain permission via their Bank House Office (contact 01594 833057) and riders must generally stick to stone tracks.
A meeting was held on 24th April at Speech House between the FODHR&CDA committee, Phil Morton and Dee Ashurst representing the Forestry Commission, and Marion Winship (District Councillor)
Items discussed were as follows :-
Mapping of horse routes
Phil Morton advised that a simplified map together with individual route cards, which could easily be updated and complied with the branding image of the Forestry Commission was the preferred way ahead. Discussion followed and the main points raised were: that equestrian routes needed to be linked and where this involved soft tracks this would be investigated; the current use of cycle ways by equestrians needs to be clarified by the Forestry Commission. In earlier discussions with FODDC the £5000 fund towards mapping equestrian routes by Tina Hodge was meant to cover all the Forestry Commission owned/managed woodlands within the District and not just the Forest of Dean. This Association has offered help in mapping routes as we are already in the process of doing this across the District in specified areas; there is to be a small charge for cycle maps but equestrian maps could possibly be made available through this Association. to its members as part of their membership package. We would be grateful for any horse routes you ride and an example is here
Click here to see the Ruardean Ride
Problems of access were discussed where equestrians use a soft track to access other stoned tracks. A site meeting was set up for May 11th starting at Danby Lodge at 9am. Phil Morton reported that the surveyor’s report on the contentious piece of “closed” track near to Danby Lodge has not yet been dealt with.
It was suggested that the problems being experienced at Tiddenham were very similar to those at Viney Hill/Yorkley where an individual had complained but which could probably be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties with very little, if any, financial cost.
Forestry Commission Future Plans
The Forestry Commission would consider new routes/tracks for equestrian if funding available subject to management constraints such as proximity of rare wildlife etc. The need for equestrians to have access to softer tracks was discussed and there could be a possibility of some upgrading if partnership monies could be accessed. The Association was again advised to go with a wish list and to discuss this in the light of some conservation issues which seem to impact on the smaller parcels of woodland such as Dymock. Horse riding policies are to be determined for the whole area and the issuing of permits was discussed. The Association’s view is that permits are negative and cannot be effectively managed/policed and that the best way forward is to provide multi- user paths so that all can enjoy the healthy benefits of our local countryside. Phil Morton is to write a new recreation strategy to get consistency across the board. Phil Morton agreed that he would prefer not to have “negative” notices.
GCC Environment Dept at Shire Hall is currently engaged in updating their asset register as it affects rights of way. This will include such assets as bridges, gates, and quality of rights of way. This starts in the south of the Forest of Dean District and will move north as resources allow. This would be a good time for all equestrians to provide information to the Environment Dept. on things that need to be improved. For example one equestrian group negotiated with the Environment Dept. and their parish council to improve the drainage of a restricted byway to the benefit of all users. Is there anything you could do in your locality? Contact 01452 425576 for the Environment Dept or talk with your parish councillor and get them involved.
Working with FoDDC – Forward Plan Team
In August 2006 the FoDDC published a Development Control Policy – Issues and Options document which included a section on Equestrian Development. Resulting from discussions with the Planning Officer, Forward Plan this Association is now on their list of consultees for the Local Development Framework Document. If you want to read more then copies of the documents should be available in your local library – see Section 6: Equestrian Development.
Gorsley with Kilcot : Local riders continue to seek change of status to the definitive map for an unrecorded right of way through local woodland and are grateful to William Reddaway of the BHS for writing to the parish council and to Gloucestershire County Council in support of the claim.
May Hill: All seemed to be going well until Longhope Parish Council recently objected to horses having access to May Hill. The legality of this objection has been questioned by representatives of this group and action to remove the objection may be taken by the parish council. We continue to advise and support this group in claiming this historic right of way which crosses the county boundary into Herfordshire.
Aston Ingham: An environmental group is interested in exploring the creation of “green lanes” in the locality to reduce the hazards of speeding traffic and we have offered our support to them. (Are green lanes something that might slow down traffic speeds in your area ? Probably worth exploring – contact us for more information and help.)
Forest of Dean and other FC woodlands: We have met with members of the new management team and are pleased that they intend to treat equestrians on an equal basis with all other users. (For more detailed information see our website.) We are waiting to see their draft all users map for the Forest of Dean which should include equestrian friendly gates to get into and out of some fenced areas that at present prevent extended riding and driving opportunities. Dymock Forest: The permit system is in abeyance. The whole issue of permits for equestrian use of Forestry Commission land is being discussed locally and nationally. This discussion affects not just Dymock but all Forestry Commission owned and managed woodlands. (Let us know if you have any problems of access in your local woodlands – in particular we would like information on FC land in Tiddenham area.)
Poets Path 1 and 2 – Restricted Byway: Peter Maunder (GCC) continues to seek improvement to the sagging gates along this bridleway on behalf of all users of the route. (If you are experiencing similar problems tel Environment Dept at Glos CC.)
Corse Lawn: The proposed high pressure gas installation was turned down by FoDDC Planning Committee but there will be an appeal by developers. Having expressed the concern of this Association to Planners about the venting noise and the possible dangers to equestrians it is gratifying that we have been contacted by site management at Tirley to warn us of venting taking place as part of a new pipe installation at the existing site.
At Mork, a little northwest of St Briavels, an Association member is working on a claim to win back a route through the woods that has been ridden for years but never claimed as a bridleway. It was closed to riders following a complaint but now a claim is being prepared with User Evidence Forms for the route to be upgraded to bridleway status. As so often, the loss of this route means riders are forced onto a narrow, bendy and quite slippery road where drivers do not expect them and are going too fast for the safety of horse, rider and car driver!
Committee members are working with riders in the Tiddenham area to seek a resolution to the closure of a route which now means that equestrians are faced with using a potentially dangerous stretch of road. Feb 2007
Group of riders join together to fight closure of route leading from Cliffords Mesne to May Hill that has been ridden regularly for many years. Jan 2007
BHS (Gloucestershire Branch) is helping riders in Kilcot to overcome opposition to a proposed change to the definitive map based on over 20 years usage of woodland tracks. Dec 2006
BHS is supporting us in helping a member to address the problem of motorised vehicles using tracks previously designated as bridleways in the south of the district. Dec 2006
We are in discussion with PROW Officer at Glos County Council over gate problems on Poets Path 1 and 2 in the north of the district. Nov 2006
Committee members meet new management team at Forestry Commission. We are currently helping them with the production of an all users map and have talked with them about the particular needs of equestrians. A productive meeting all round. Oct 2006
The need to purchase permits for Dymock Forest is on hold at the moment – we are in discussion with Forestry Commission about changes nationally where the permit system is being phased out. Oct 2006
Forest Enterprise is now renamed “Forestry Commission” with “FC England” having a particular focus on leisure/sport pursuits rather than timber production. Sounds like good news for equestrians who will at last have an equal voice in discussions on access issues.
Riders have worked together with their parish council and local environment group to open up previously overgrown or blocked byways in the area of Gorsley and Kilcot. Two routes are class 5 roads and the highways authority now takes responsibility for cutting and clearing these twice per year.
Highways Authority have installed “horse warning” signs on the Allaston Road and Viney Hill/Yorkley Road following meetings with local members of the Association.
Written support given to equestrians in the Corse Lawn area during their fight against the planning application for a gas installation. We learnt that excessive noise and its possible effect on horses is not considered by FODDC when debating such an application. We hope to change that procedure.
Open meeting on 20 June 2006 was a huge success! Many issues of access were talked about in front of an audience that included representatives of Public Rights of Way, Gloucestershire County Council; local parish councillors; a district councillor and a representative from FODDC Tourism department.
Forest of Dean District Council Planning Department add this association to its list of consultees for Local Development Framework Documents. At the moment there is no specific policy related to equestrian development.
Forestry Commission put up hitching posts to help carriage drivers negotiating gateway on well-used track in the Forest of Dean.
Yearly permits and keys can be purchased from the Forestry Commission for carriage drivers to negotiate barriers and gates. After discussion with the Association, it has been agreed that the Tourism Office in Coleford will administer the supply of ‘temporary’ permits/keys for carriage drivers, living outside the area, wishing to visit and drive in the Forest for short periods.