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Cantering towards greater access for riders

[Saturday 20 May 2006]

IN THE month that has seen restrictions placed upon the 4x4 and trail bike community, another altogether more sedate and less destructive group is highlighting the problems its members face in accessing rural Britain.

Riders campaign for greater access
Riders campaign for greater access

Today sees the launch of the British Horse Society's annual Access Week, during which the organisation aims to raise awareness of equestrian access and rights of way issues throughout the UK and Ireland.

Access Week is when BHS volunteers, staff and Affiliated Bridleways Groups organise events and presentations across the country to highlight the problems facing riders.

It is also marked by the presentation of the Riders Charter Awards, which recognise good practice among individuals, groups and organisations that have made a contribution to equestrian access.

This Access Week will see the presentation of more than 20 awards, as well as the launch of CANTER - 'Creating A Network To Encourage Riding campaign'.

Based around the National Bridleroute Network, CANTER aims to get riders and carriage drivers out and about, identifying, testing and opening routes throughout the UK.

We consider that now is an opportune time to petition the Government for more equestrian access

Mark Weston - British Horse Society

Following the introduction of the Countryside Rights of Way (CRoW) Act, ramblers and cyclists are enjoying an unprecedented increase in their rights of access, say the BHS.

The charity adds that very little progress has been made in securing equestrian access. Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access, Safety and Welfare, said: "We consider that now is an opportune time to petition the Government for more equestrian access.

BHS Senior Executive for Access, Henry Whittaker, added: "It is important to strike a balance between celebrating the great achievements of our staff and volunteers, and raising awareness of the work still ahead of us in our campaign for a safer, easily accessible off-road network."

For more information on the National Bridleroute Network, visit www.ride-uk.org.uk

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