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Horse riders join forests plea

Posted 11 May 2011
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Horse riders join forests plea
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Representatives of those who like to spend their leisure time in horse riding clothing are among those who have issued a plea to the panel discussing the future of England's forests to ensure public access is maintained.

The panel, chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool James Jones, has been established to formulate policy by environment secretary Caroline Spelman and the appeal to it has been made in a statement signed by various outdoor groups, including the British Horse Society.

Others include the British Mountaineering Club, the Ramblers and the Open Spaces Society.

Director of access, safety and welfare at the British Horse Society Mark Weston said: "Horse riders have access to only 22 per cent of public rights of way and horse-drawn vehicle drivers to only five per cent so the permissive access they enjoy in our forests is of immense importance."

He argued this should be protected by the designation of equestrian rights of way under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

The body had reacted angrily when the make-up of the consultative body was announced by Ms Spelman, as it had no representatives from the equestrian community on it.
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