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BHS Conference Sept 2008

Gill Ridings and Gill Morrell attended the BHS Access Conference on 21st September 2008 at Penrith. It was a very interesting day and the following are some notes made of the content. If you want to know anything further please contact either Gill Ridings or Gill Morrell

Lectures by

  1. Mark Weston (Directory Access Safety and Welfare BHS) on what BHS is doing on Access.
  2. David Liddle and Darren Cox (Countryside Rangers) on Durham’s Railway Paths
  3. Richard Brookes (MOD Estates Environmental Support Team) on what MOD is doing for Riders
  4. Julie Thompson on Pennine Bridleway
  5. Catriona Cook on Horace and Hilda (great way to get across the problems of height and length associated with riding)
  6. Roger Wright (Highways Authority) on Equestrian Parapets
  7. Vyv Wood-Gee (Countryside Management Consultant) on how she funded and went about the Tweedale & South of Scotland Countryside Trails.


Points to note

·         EMAGIN mapping system to map riding routes. Can only publish ones with Council agreement but will give pdf which can then be put on website for members

·         Highways Agency stated that SMA with Fine Grit lasts 2-3 days

·         SMA is not being used by Highways Agency on Trunk Roads

·         Highways Authority are in charge of A, B, C Roads

·         Northumberland are using SMA + Large Grit surface which is working very well

·         Advantage of SMA is low noise + it is made from recycle material hence eco friendly

·         Since March 2005 all Trunk Road schemes need to do a non-motorised user survey need to ask to see it (cover Pedestrian/Cyclist/Riders/Disability)

·         Tell designers of scheme even if its obvious and

·         MUST back up any comments made in writing

·         Better to get any comments coming from multi use point of view ie include ramblers cyclists etc

·         There is a Design Speed for Horses travelling at 10km/h and 20km/h and states their stopping distances hence the clear view that’s needed at junctions etc

·         Get a copy of Rights of Way Improvement Plan and quote it back at the Highways Authority

·         Highways Agency has a website dedicated to vulnerable users http://www.highways.gov.uk/knowledge/9627.aspx

·         Heritage Lottery is a good source of funding to do feasibility of routes studies

·         Studies have shown that there is a 25% reduction in traffic speed when riders wear fluorescents

·         Fluorescents can be seen by helicopter pilots and they will take evasive action if they see you (MOD chap)

·         Get onto Parish Councils, District Councils + County Councils to get equine view known. Easy to get on and influence can be great

·         Need to raise coastal path issues with MP’s even if you don’t ride on them (raise equine issues with MP’s)

·         Northumberland Council having success with Poo on ex-railway routes encourage responsible riding and move to side to avoid blocking up Fibre Deck surface on routes

·         Sustrans do not have issue with riders using cycle routes but it could be landowners give permission for pedestrian and cyclists but not horses.

·         Encourage Volunteers. Give them small tasks, give them step by step process, then if successful + still willing increase volume of tasks until have a willing volunteer on committees etc. Put how to complain in newsletters etc

·         We now have a DVD on Fit to Tow from Highways Agency which we could show at a meeting


Suggested actions needing to be chased up

1.      Get Action plan together as to how we can use EMAGIN as a mapping process. Need a lead for this.

2.      Obtain a copy of Rights of Way Improvement Plans (Rochdale & Bury got by GAM)

3.      Obtain a copy of Horse Industry Strategy (Done by GAM)

4.      Obtain copies of TA 90/05, TA 91/5 (Done by GAM)

5.      Find out if we have a Parish Council. Any volunteers to attend?

6.      Encourage as many as possible to send in Coastal Path Postcard to local MP’s

7.      Continue to encourage responsible horse riding (eg kick poo to the side etc)

8.      Contact Julie Thompson re getting someone to talk on the bridleway similar to one given at conference

9.   Investigate if we can use Horace and Hilda to get point across to Rights of Way + Highway officers