Coastal Access  BHS Access Cornwall Home Page

The BHS continues to fight for equestrians right of access - The British Horse Society has put forward proposed amendments to the Marine and Coastal Access Bill 2009, which will be debated in the House of Lords.

The Marine Bill was published in December and is continuing its passage through parliament. It proposes to create a national coastal access WALKING only trail around England. MPs have so far ignored requests to include provision for equestrian access. The BHS along with cyclists and the Open Spaces Society are continuing to lobby hard to get horse riders included in providing better access to the coast, enshrined in law.

So far the government is fobbing us off saying we can negotiate for access with landowners. We know that this will not yield any tangible permanent access for us. If it was that easy, why is legislation to provide access for walkers required?!! It is blatant discrimation against horse riders.

A question was asked off the Secretary of State as to how much equine access has been provided under the CROW Act (Right to Roam). The Hansard reply was

Section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) allows voluntary dedication by land owners and long leaseholders of public access rights over their land. To date 156,246 hectares of land has been dedicated in this way for public use on foot.

The same section allows a voluntary dedication to extend the CROW rights to include a right for the public to ride horses or cycles as well as a right of access on foot. To date there has been only one dedication of this kind, which created access rights for horse riders over 0.25 hectares of land in East Riding of Yorkshire. As yet there has been no such dedications of cycling rights.

Please do continue to lobby your MPs. We and our members have had useful replies from some of local MPs but we are still not convinced how seriously they are taking the issue and whether they do really see that access by agreement will get us nothing.

Find out who your MP is here

Remember the government's current assertion that access for higher rights users can be provided “by agreement” will give us nothing! Only one small bit of land has been opened by a landowner for equestrians under section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Even the Forestry Commission, a government department, has refused to do so.