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Says Adrienne Yentis

Says Adrienne YentisA friend of mine recently was riding on the heath
and she came across a group of cattle strung out across the bridlepath with no way through – the only way off was to turn round. Fortunately her horse
remained calm throughout. But you can imagine how a nervous horse might react ........... read more

Rural Wales warns over impact on bridleways
in campaign for access free-for-all

Rural Wales warns over impact on bridleways in campaign for access free-for-allLandowners, anglers and riders are on a potential collision course with recreational users over a move towards wider access in the Welsh countryside.

The Countryside Alliance (CA) is hosting a summit meeting to prepare a “plan of protection” for farmland and rivers in Wales.

It fears land managers will face myriad problems if footpaths, bridleways, woodlands and waterways are to be opened up to recreational users such as walkers, canoeists and cyclists.

In July culture and sport minister John Griffiths announced a wholesale review of access legislation in Wales and is planning a Green Paper consultation in December.

CA Wales director Rachel Evans said there could be profound implications for landowners, riparian owners and angling clubs across Wales.

“I believe the minister is under pressure from minority groups but the people of Wales will not take kindly to having access legislation forced upon them as in Scotland,” she said.

The Welsh Government said its review is aimed at modernising current legislation to provide clarity over where people can go and what they can do.

“If more people valued the countryside, and took ownership of the issues, we would all benefit,” said Ashley Charlwood, Canoe Wales access officer.

But the FUW is concerned at the implications for livestock farming if there is a presumed right of access to land, particularly alongside waterways.

It would support a rationalisation of the footpath system but it opposes a statutory approach.

“The proposals could have liability implications for cattle producers,” said Holyhead farmer Gavin Williams, chairman of the FUW’s land use committee.

“If a farmer has a field with a footpath, he knows not to put a bull there. But if there is open access, cattle farmers would have no where to put their animals without fear of prosecution.”

Some councils are believed to oppose open access for fear of the effect on the national footpath network.

Justin Cooke, of Ramblers Cymru, added: “The review is in its early days but we are concerned about some of the proposals on public rights of way, including the idea of removing highway authorities’ duties to maintain footpaths, which could lead to increasing costs to landowners.”

Says Linda WrightSays Linda Wright

We moved to a Shropshire location a year ago having surveyed the local OS map and noted the significant number of bridleways around the property. Sadly the map appears a total fiction. Scarce any of the bridleways are usable ........... read more

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