Breaking News! Calling all riders,
Shepton viaduct multi user path project
We are asking for your help to set a precedence for Multi User Paths Nationwide. These routes totally exclude any use by motorised vehicles thus offering safe enjoyment for all vulnerable road users including equestrians.
Please would you take a moment to comment on the Planning Application at mendip District Council for the new section of the Strawberry Line Multi User Path which is due for Planning consideration on 25th of this month. You may never use a Multi User Path with your horse but for many riders these are links from towns to countryside and onto bridleways so it is incredibly important that they are all open to everyone. The plan is for many more of these routes across Somerset and the whole of the UK so it is vital that this test case is correct as it will stand as a bench mark for the future.
In principle, the lengthy Report, which can be viewed on the MDC planning portal (if the attached version is too big to download) ref 2021/2805/FUL, appears positive and inclusive. However it is NOT! You will find that there are serious reservations about equestrians in Section 9 – Notes on Equestrian Policy.
Firstly regarding equestrians using the short tunnel (at the moment the Report implies – erroneously – that tunnels cannot be used by horses! Despite proof of many tunnels being ridden safely, countrywide!)
Secondly, riding over the viaduct, on which large raised central seating areas are proposed, thereby pushing riders to the outside, close to the parapets. What a daft idea!
Most importantly, the surface as it is planned, is simply not suitable for all users. This surface should be made up of a resilient, weather proof material throughout which will be sustainable, maintenance free and enable everyone to use it with ease. As a result, the correct surface would allow all users to access and enjoy the impressive historic features along this stretch of new path. Users should not be segregated.
At the moment, the suggestion of a dust surface in parts is not inclusive of the disabled in wheelchairs. Horses are limited to riding the 20” wide grass strip alongside the dust so that it is not spoilt! You can imagine what this would look like after a couple of days.
The limitations mentioned above mean that the route really isn’t multi user at all which is totally contrary to the promise from Mendip District Council to include the requirements of all vulnerable road users, as per Central Government guide lines.
The Report further implies that all these issues could be rectified at a later date, but as we all know, later could mean never and it is vital that the Planning is correct when it is passed, without caveats which can be changed on a whim.
MBBA, as an Association, is therefore planning to OBJECT unless these restrictions can be changed to show total inclusivity throughout. (in which case our objections will be withdrawn) This is partly an urban route which will encompass Shepton Mallet so it is important that everyone can use the route in all weathers, without any hindrance. This should not be a fine weather only route! MBBA can demonstrate, with supporting statistics, that there really is no reason why there should be any limitation placed on those using the route if changes are made to the Planning Application Report.
There are a huge number of comments in support of this planning – mostly from walkers and cyclists and indeed, the idea in principal is fantastic and fully supported by MBBA but the detail is not. In its present format, this report could actually exclude some users.
MBBA has a strong membership and if you feel able to OBJECT to this planning, with the proviso that if our concerns are met we will withdraw the objection, your support really would be welcomed. An objection from MBBA will only count as one vote so we need individual objections from you all to have any influence. You do not have to support your decision with any detail. MBBA’s submission is attached, for interest and please feel free to cut and paste if you wish. We believe we can demonstrate that the points regarding the unsuitability of the tunnel and viaduct are easily overcome, however more importantly, an all-weather, surface throughout is vital and there should be no compromise.
In order to vote with regard to this important decision, please log onto the Mendip District Council planning portal and put in 2021/2805/FUL as the ref. so that you can see all the documents and comments and judge for yourselves.
MBBA are not alone with our concerns. The BHS, The Trails Trust and Disabled Ramblers are also Objecting to the planning as it stands. Each of you will be replying as a private individual, (not necessarily as a horse rider or member of MBBA) as we are trying to avoid the impression that we are once again ‘those wretched horse riders’ having a rant!
Thank you so much for taking time to consider this email. At the moment there is funding for these routes and MBBA continues to campaign hard to gain new riding routes for the future.
Although tarmac/flexi pave or other firm surfaces may not be quite like a bridleway; right now when the ground is sodden, I would love to ride on a nice, clean, mud free and moreover safe route through the countryside, away from our busy roads and endless fast moving traffic. I think my horse would like that too!
The full report is available to view on the MDC planning portal and all submissions should be in by 25th Jan.
We achieved a huge amount over the past few years which is surprising bearing in mind our present pandemic!
Our biggest project was the upgrade to the damaged surfaces on Lydford Lane, West over Lane and Babcary bridleway. This network of Restricted Byways and Bridleways had had been totally trashed by illegal 4 x 4s and so heavy machinery was needed to rectify this problem. The lanes were also ditched and cut back to allow light and air to keep them dry. Below are just some photos of the finished job. Lydford Lane is now protected with bollards at each end and Applications are under way to protect the other lanes in a similar fashion. Our sincere thanks to Somerset County Council who joint funded most of the work, south Somerset Bridleways Association for their BHS donation and finally the two parish Councils of Babcary and Lydford and the local residents who have not only donated to these projects but also stepped in to keep us informed of any illegal use and updates on how the lanes were progressing. Thank you to Ashley Beaton who carried out this work and also Sean for installing the bollards so effectively.
More projects on our Routes News page – do take a look to see how we use your valuable subscriptions.
‘Hats off’ to our amazing venue crew, each of the very good humored 20 stewards and of course our lovely happy riders, all of whom had a great day at our fun ride Photos of the ride on https://www.ttyphotography.co.uk
All the photos of the ride can be seen on Caitlin’s site https://www.ttyphotography.co.uk/f212582424.
Welcome to our website. Please take time to visit our ‘Routes News’ page to find out what we are achieving for the riders of Mendip and also our Events Page. We try to be up to date with news but the most recent items appear on our facebook page first.
Our contractors continue to work on the bridleways as they are sole contractors and are taking care with social distancing and all safety measures.
Just another day in the life of MBBA – this time, a Royal visit!
July 1st was a very special day for MBBA.
HRH The Princess Royal came to Somerset to meet the MBBA Team and see our latest project. The day was organised by The British Horse Society and demonstrated the work of the BHS Access Department, from whom MBBA received a grant of £1,000 towards this project together with a similar grant from Somerset County Council. The lion’s share of all our projects is always funded by MBBA but by applying for grants, we can make our money go further.
MBBA has been lobbying MPs for inclusion as vulnerable road users in the recent Highways Bill. Originally there was no mention of horse riders at all which was utterly disgraceful. The bill was heard on Monday 5th Nov and our efforts were rewarded. Full report from Hansard on the comments made is on the BHS page of this website. Thank you to all who lobbied their MPs – you made a big difference and we are finally being heard.
A gallery of some of our successful projects over the past five years and our fund raising events
Thank you for your support, without which we could not carry out improvements to your riding routes. Please join our Association and help us – to help you – to safer and better off road riding.
Fab photos available of all our Rides on True to You Photography – clients page
Thank you Wocket Woy and the Pwoducer for giving us such a brilliant show summer 2017, seen here doing pairs dressage!!.
MBBA is one of the largest, most proactive and friendliest
Bridleway Associations in the country.
Affiliated to the British Horse Society and an entirely voluntary organisation dedicated to maintaining, and creating safe riding routes for all.
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Another great fund raising year for MBBA with lots of big projects completed. With our Chairman Jo Rossiter at the helm, we look forward to the coming year.
The funds are available – so let’s have some projects from you for 2020!
As we are an entirely voluntary association, all the money from subscriptions and fundraising goes to improve our riding routes in Mendip and create new ones. It is time for all riders to take on the responsibility of ensuring the future of off road riding. You know what significant improvements MBBA has achieved in the last few years in fact over the past 8 years we have funded over £75,000 worth of improvements to routes across Mendip.
Your support as a member is the cornerstone of our Association and enables our work to continue.
Please join today – it is just £15.00 per annum and gives big benefits to members. firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact email@example.com if you have a problem with a right of way and we will try to fix it. Sometimes we joint fund with Somerset County Council, sometimes we fund the whole project ourselves. Whatever the problem, we promise to do our best and stretch our funds as far as they will go.
The aims of the Association are to protect and preserve the character and status of Mendip’s green Ways, to advertise their existence via our map marking service and to encourage the active participation of our members to identify routes in need of improvement. We have a good working partnership with Somerset County Council and indeed many of our projects are joint funded.
To find out how we have been improving rights of way in the area, please see our Routes News page.
If you would like to join the Mendip Bridleways & Byways Association, please proceed to our Membership page, where more details and a membership form are available.