NEWS – History archive 2010


18 January 2010


The 2 stolen miniature horses have been found in Kent


4 horses were stolen last night from a field in Raglan. A lorry and few cars were seen by a neighbouring house.



News from the 'Trek to Petra'

Sponsored walk In aid of the Forest of Dean Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Carriage Driving Group on the 16th to 23rd October 2010

Early in the year I attended the RDA conference for the South West and Wales region. Pauline Lane told us about 'Trek to Petra' which was a 100km walk in Jordan walking from the Dead Sea to Petra. My friend and Whip (carriage driver) Julie had been on a couple of cycle rides and horse ride in aid of charity and I had decided I would like to do something similar. This was ideal for me as the funds raised would go to our local group.

My name is Maggie Saunders and I carriage drive for the above group. We meet on a Wednesday morning at The Rising Sun, Woolaston. Our aim is to teach carriage driving to adults from The Forest of Dean Area who are physically and mentally challenged. It is amazing the reaction, learning and enjoyment they get from driving a horse and cart.

The Challenge

Where do I start; first there was the training, for six months I was walking, cycling, doing weights, hill and stair climbs. The good side was I lost weight and I did feel much better both mentally and physically. I was encouraged by the amount of sponsorship and good wishes I received, from Woolaston alone I raised over £900 in sponsorship.

The walk. 

A camp site

Day 1.

We arrived in Amman, Jordan at midnight and were taken by coach to our hotel on the Dead Sea, arriving late we were given our room keys. I was sharing with Susan and both being very tired after all the travelling went straight to bed. 

Day 2.

We started by floating in the Dead Sea, then you covered yourself in mud and went back into the sea to wash it off. You feel great afterwards. After the briefing it was back on the coaches to our first walk. At Wadi Khuderia there was a Bedouin tent and a donkey and foal tied to a tree. Our first look at Bedouin life. We walked along the narrow wadi. There was a stream running along the wadi with the rocks high on either side. It was beautiful; when we got back to the coach it was 40C in the shade. We were taken to meet the pickup trucks, we all piled in with our cases and off across the desert to our first Bedouin camp. There was a long tent with blanket type material on three side and top. The front was open and there were woven rugs on the ground. The cooking area was divided by a sheet and lights strung along the front. We had foam mattresses to sleep on. We chose our mattress and collected our bags. Dinner was served and it was off to bed at 8pm.

Day 3

Today was one of the two long days, we had 30km to go. We walked along small wadis and over ridges keeping the Etom Mountains to our left. We stopped at an oasis and Bedouin women came with their herds of goats, the goats rushing down the steep tracks to the water.

Day 4

Today was supposed to be easier and it was mostly on the flat. It was supposed to be 20m but we got lost so was a little further. The temperature was 37c and very little shade. I found this very difficult as I am not good in the sun. We stopped for lunch at an abandoned police station up on a hilltop. Some of the trekkers were having problems with their feet and finding the walking difficult. The government had built a town here for the Bedouin but being nomadic people refused to live there.

Day 5

This was the real challenge for me. It was one of the longer days 24km and difficult terrain. 'Vertigo sufferers will find today challenging at times', and I did. We set off a 6am before the sun had risen. I thought we were going to follow the old camel trails, but NO. We climbed the rock face! Fear of Heights – yes, did I do it - YES. After the climb of 1023m we then trekked down and up again to reach Mount Quaran, part of the Red Mountain Ridge. We trekked through a beautiful wadi with small trees and shrubs. We walked into Little Petra and had a view of the old caves and temples.

Day 6

Today was an easy day 13km. We walk from Little Petra to the famous Red Rose City of Petra, built more than 2,000 years ago. The valley is enclosed by sandstone cliffs veined with shades of red, purple and pink, out of which the city's monuments and temples were hewn. Here we had a guided tour of Petra. We stayed in a hotel in Petra, and went to the Turkish bath for a much needed sauna, body scrub and massage.

Day 7

Today we took the Toyota 4x4 trucks to Wadi Rum. We walked along the wadi and saw the graffiti of thousands of years ago. We returned to Jalab Rum Camp for a traditional Bedouin lunch. In the evening we had a celebration dinner.

Day 8

After a good night's sleep we took the coach to Amman for our flight home.

We walked a 117km. Did I enjoy it, yes but it was a far more difficult challenge than I thought it was going to be. Would I do it again? NO, (now I have been home for a few weeks maybe).

Unfortunately I got severe Gastroenteritis and on arriving back in the UK spent 10 days in bed and another month recovering. I hope to have raised at least £1,600 for our RDA group once I have collected all the sponsorship and gift aid. 

I did this walk in memory of Julie Foulks who died earlier this year. She gave me the inspiration and the confidence to say 'Yes I can do this' and Julie I did do it.

Maggie Saunders

We made it!


November 2010

Update from PROW Office

The following results have been achieved :-

GHA56 Danford Lane, Hartpury. Cleared.

GDY 75 Dymock to Redmarley. Cleared.

GCO 35 Corse – Orridge St to Corse. Cleared.

Gorsley – all  4 restricted byways. Cleared.

May Hill Boat & 2x bridleways. Cleared.

Cliffords Mesne, Newent – bridleways & 7xRestricted Byways. Cleared.

Redmarley: GRA34 & 35 Cobhill Woods & GRA 37 &38. Cleared.

GST 9 Bridleway Staunton (Newent) Moat Lane. Cleared.

GUP 3 Edens Hill Upleadon. Cleared.

DMD 28 bridleway,  Mitcheldean to Abenhall– being cleared this week

FSB 21 Bream to St Briavels restricted byway - clearance commenced 10/11/2010

FWO 39/7 Park Hill, Woolaston. Cleared

Surfacing work and clearance done on GHA/48 at Murrells End Hartpury


Dymock to Bream

At a committee meeting on 4 Nov 2010 a proposed route from Dymock to Bream was agreed with the Destination Marketing Group (DMG) who are acting as our consultants on our project to create a more cohesive bridleways network. The proposal includes community circuits for local users as well as a linear route.

Philip Cooke of DMG is now working on approaching landowners to seek their agreement to grant permanent rights of way


Local Marketing Group to promote Forest bridleways

The Forest of Dean Riders and Carriage Drivers Association, who were recently awarded grant aid from the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-2013 to examine the feasibility of establishing connected bridleways in the Forest of Dean, held an open evening on Thursday, September 23rd at Speech House to introduce the consultants who will be carrying out the work.
The Gloucester based Destination Marketing Group awarded the £11,000 contract were represented by company director Phillip Cooke, who outlined his plans during the evening to the riders and carriage drivers.

The company works primarily across the tourism, economic development and professional services sectors in independent marketing and PR. Philip has had an award-winning career in the public and private sectors of the tourism, sport and leisure industries and is keen to get in contact with riders, carriage drivers and landowners who willing to support the project. ‘We are really excited working for this project’  he said ‘I feel it is so important to get multi-user trails identified and to be able to promote the Forest as a place where people can ride, drive and cycle safely. It will be such a boost for local users and for tourism.’

Jenny Carling, chair of the Association, was pleased with the response during the evening and demonstrated the areas which are due to be surveyed. She stressed the need to identify gaps in the bridleways network and the importance of getting as much information from local riders. ‘It is vital that people contact us about blockages where they ride or carriage drive and areas where they feel links can be made to extend safe riding and driving. We want to ensure that riders get the bridleways that they feel meet their needs’
One of the bonuses of the new project is that landowners can benefit from dedicating access rights across their land with direct payment. They can find out about these opportunities by contacting Phillip by telephone on 01452 500663  or by emailing


September 2010

Come and join us at an open evening at Speech House Hotel on 23 September 7.00pm to find out about our exciting bridleways project. Refreshments available.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Funding Approval

This project is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-2013: Europe investing in rural areas

European Commission Agriculture and Rural Development

September 2010

Offa's Dyke Endurance GB

Sunday 26 September

Plump Hill Group Social Ride, Drybrook, Forest of Dean

The Plump Hill ride will run from a new venue at Shapridge Farm, Flaxley, Mitcheldean.  The venue is a large grassy field with direct access to Flaxley Woods, giving us a chance to extend the route into this area of the Forest, which is not normally used on our rides.   16km & 25km routes (10 & 16 Miles). Over undulating forestry tracks in the northern Forest of Dean. Includes a couple of steeper climbs and good views of the river Severn

Contact :Offa's Dyke Endurance Riding


July 2010

Have just heard that our bid for funding has been approved!!!!! 

The funding is for £11,000 to cover the costs of employing someone to carry out a feasibility study and route investigation to fill in the gaps in the current network of bridleways and similar status routes across the District.

The aims are to develop at least a N-S route with circuits off if time and money allow. We will be providing the management time which forms the other £2,400 of the total bid. We will be working with other partner organisations such as GCC Public Rights of Way, the Forestry Commission, The Trails Trust and Natural England to deliver the project.

The first phase is to map what is possible and cost the implementation and the second phase will be puttting the route on to the ground - we will have to bid for more monies for this second phase.

This is the outcome of almost 3 years of work to develop a more cohesive network of bridleways


Good News!

The roads at Oldcroft have been re-surfaced after many years of neglect and, although this is a vast improvement, it meant that the road surface was extremely slippery for the horse riders and carriage drivers. After contacting Gloucestershire Highways the following email was received:

'Thank you for your e-mail concerning the difficulties that horses are having with the new surfacing on the roads in Oldcroft.  I appreciate the concerns that you have raised, and can confirm that we have arranged for some stone grit to be spread over the carriageway surface to help to alleviate the problem.

If the surfacing continues to be a concern, then please do not hesitate to contact me.'

Brian Watkins
Stakeholder Manager (West)
Highways and Customer Services
Tel: 08000 514514
Gloucestershire Highways
Vallet Wood
Gl16 7EH


June 2010

Our application for funding for developing a bridleway network has met with some positive response from the decision makers. However, we have had to do some more work on it to reasure them that the finished cost will not be prohibitive and that we can manage the project. The decision makers will be meeting at the end of June so hopefully, we will have a final decision then

April 2010

Our bid for funding to carry out a detailed survey of existing "bridleways" and to work with landowners in joining up the fragmented network across the whole of the FOD District is going forward at the end of April for formal appraisal. The process has involved the writing of 2 lengthy proposals - one of which was 15 pages long! So you can appreciate the effort that has gone into this on behalf of all equestrians, and, of course, our network will also benefit cyclists and walkers as well. We have been delighted in the large number of cyclists and walkers who have supported our project ideas

March 2010

Thank you to everyone who sent back their completed Register of Support form and we have now delivered the 15 page document saying why we need a cohesive bridleway network together with lots of other supporting evidence. It will take about 2 months for a decision to be made so keep your fingers crossed!

February 2010

Your local bridleways group, The Forest of Dean Riders and Carriage Drivers Association, have been working very hard behind the scenes bidding for funding to create a network of long-distance and local, circular routes across the Forest of Dean District.

The great news is that our application has cleared the first hurdle and we now need to add some more details to our final bid. We need to show just how many people would appreciate a “joined-up” network of bridleways. As riders and carriage drivers there are obvious benefits to us in creating new paths, and especially linking some of the areas that are currently inaccessible due to busy road crossings or lack of connecting bridleways.

By incorporating options for long-distance rides from Dymock in the north to Tiddenham in the south, there will be business opportunities for pubs and B&Bs en route to enjoy the custom of both local riders and tourists. On top of this the value of equestrianism to the local economy is worth £millions ! That’s farriers, tack shops, livery yards, feed and bedding suppliers, instructors, vets etc…. Everyone’s a winner!

So please show your support for a new bridleway network, and ask every one of those people who will also benefit, by filling in this form (click here) and returning as soon as possible by email. And if you can copy this to friends and service providers as well, that would be great!

This is a fantastic opportunity and all you need to do is show that you care.

Click here to download the support form.


We have been successful in the first formal stage of obtaining funding for developing a bridleway network throughout the Forest of Dean District. This doesn't mean that we have the funding in place just that our project can be supported by the Local Action Group at the FODDC. We now have to go through the longer process of making a full application. 

We really need your support to say how an improved network would benefit you or your business. So please write to our Secretary and let us know.