Routes News

Projects for 2019/2020

This year and for part of 2019 we have been fortunate in securing a generous grant from Somerset County Council towards our work, which has enabled us to press on with a number of projects.  MBBA pays the lion’s share of any project but grants make the whole process much more achievable and we can stretch our hard earned funds a wee bit further.

Lydford network.  Lydford on Fosse Once again returned to a decent riding surface.  Below are some of the culprits responsible for the damage.

But now look at it!

Cotton Lane, Keinton Mandeville

Another huge improvement to this very boggy section of the Restricted Byway.

Known by the local riders as the Glue Pot, this pretty lane is now a pleasure to ride in all weather.

Hollowpit Lane, Radstock

May 2020 and just finished.  Hollowpit Lane Radstock  Last Summer, at the Bellevue fete, MBBA was approached by a carriage driver who highlighted a route that was impossible to use.  We like a challenge and we visited the lane to see for ourselves. It was appalling!  Huge slabs of rock protruded from the surface causing enormous natural steps in the lane, deep enough to sit in,  making it impossible and unsafe to use.  After two weeks work, the steps have gone and the lane is level and a joy to use.  Bollards will be installed at both ends by the Council to ensure no illegal motorised use takes place.  Once again with thanks to Somerset CC for their help with funding this expensive project.

Completed Monkley Lane

Late 2019  The infamous Monkley Lane, nr Rode has finally been transformed. This Lane, and its sister lane Duck Pool Lane,  have both flooded each year.  The ditches were blocked and water rushed down the lane like a drain.  Our contractors spent two weeks clearing, digging, laying drainage pipes and stoning the surface.  It is now a delight to ride and hopefully no riders will not feel it necessary to trespass on the adjoining fields because the restricted Byway is flooded.

Both ends of Monkley have received work and signs have been put up to confirm that No Motorised vehicles are permitted.

Feb 2020  Knoll Lane, Eastcombe, nr Batcombe.  When the main A 359 road was built, it took a straighter line than historically used. This left a short curved section of the road abandoned and it simply disappeared under vegetation.  Over the years, MBBA had attempted to re open the lane as it enabled riders to access Witham Friary, Upton Noble Batcombe and Wanstrow without the need to ride along the A road.  This project had proved too expensive in past years and as this lane has no status there was no funding available from the Council.  Wanstrow Parish Council came to our aid with a generous grant from their ‘Turbine Fund’ and with a further grant from The British Horse Society South West, work commenced.  The result is a delight and a genuine safety measure.  It is now used by walkers, horse riders and cyclists.  This route is now permissive and covered by our Permissive Paths Insurance Policy.

Summer 2019 Faulkland to Knoll Farm route   About 8 years ago, MBBA carried out some drainage and resurfacing works on this cross-field route.   However a considerable stretch was left unchanged as at that time, riders were able to avoid the deep clay and ride along the field margin.  The landowner fenced his field to allow cattle to graze and the problem resurfaced as riders had to stay on the track.  With a grant from the British Horse Society Paths 4 Communities fund and Somerset County Council, MBBA was able to fund the total resurfacing of this delightful Bridleway.  In 2019 We were honoured with a visit from HRH The Princess Royal in her capacity as President of the BHS.  The Princess duly inspected our work, including the gates, chatted to our contractors and MBBA committee and spent time with the other guests.  The day was hosted and arranged by The British Horse Society to showcase their Access work.  It was a truly memorable day and one we shall never forget.

Routes News 2018/19

Clearance of Roemead Lane bridleway at Binegar .  Fantastic job from our contractor Adam and his flail.  first project for 2019 – Many more in the pipeline. The old and wobbly fencing along this length of bridleway is due for replacement this year.

Southwood Bridleway, Lydford.  Massive two day clearance opening up this heavily overgrown route.  Now riding well and hopefully due for some surface work in 2019.  Thank you Adam.

Serious veg clearance of Charlton Route carried out by our flail man Adam.  Wherever possible, MBBA now cuts back routes to their original historic width, often up to 20ft wide as many were droves.  This enables the Council to strim more effectively on their annual ground clearance schedule..

Spring 2017  Open to ride! The biggest project this year, joint funded by MBBA, SCC and Ammerdown estates.  Two new culverts/river crossings on the Coffin Route at Coleford.  This route has been closed for three years and will now be safe to use once more.007 (2)CIMG0927  Photos show the collapsed bridge and the new replacement – what a fantastic job!  Jointly funded by MBBA, the landowners – the Ammerdown Estate and Som CC.  Also band new rails on the culvert by the road and adjusted gates throughout.  A big commitment financially but a result that will stand the test of time.

Surface growth on a Right of Way is the responsibility of the Council and side growth, hedges, brambles etc are the responsibility of the landowner.  The Council have a clearance schedule for surface growth which should result in all Rights of Way receiving a surface strimming at least once a year.  Due to cuts in funding at SCC this now does not happen on all routes and let’s be honest, strimming nettles once a year does not keep a bridleway clear to ride for 12 months.  What riders need is a nice clear track with decent head height and no brambles across the path!!  With this in mind MBBA has brought in a new approach.  We tackle bridleway clearance as a seriously BIG project  Side growth, hedges and all vegetation are cut back to as much as twelve to fifteen feet wide, wherever possible, which SHOULD ‘enable’ the Council to strim slightly wider than their usual 3 ft. strip!.  Our clearance man then burns all the debris on site and if necessary our contractor goes in to dig out long-lost ditches and repair boggy areas.  In many cases, this heavy and lengthy clearance has to be done by hand because the routes have become so overgrown that the landowner cannot get access with his tractor and hedge cutter.  However, once it has had the MBBA treatment, hopefully the landowner will be able to carry out his duty.  Each route can cost in the region of £2,000 to clear properly so progress will be slow but it will make a huge difference to your enjoyment of your lanes.  So let us know if you have a project in your area.

Duck Pool Lane Beckington after clearance Dec 2016.  Super job Mike Jennings – our clearance warrior.clearance dec 2016 (3)

Tennantsfield Lane/Shoscombe bridleway, Faulkland.  this is a beautiful bridleway through farmland and woods.  It offers opportunity to canter and have a superb 3k ride off road through pretty scenery.  Except for one area – The boggy ski slope!  This is a disastrous 40ft drop of sheer clay which leads down to the bridge over the stream. Needless to say it is lethal and consequently many riders do not use the bridleway at all.  MBBA is funding a solution, with the help of Som CC and hopefully a grant from the BHS.  The plan is to install sleeper-steps set in concrete filled with stone in an effort to make this route accessible once again.  Work will start very soon so please be patient if you find signs showing that work is in progress.  Due to the difficult access, our contractors will have to work on this project for a number of days but hopefully it should do the trick and you will be able to enjoy riding Tennantsfield Lane in safety again.   Yukky Lane in present state!  Work delayed due to wet weather, now a project for 2018.

Job completed successfully in 2018.  Joint funding with Somerset County Council and The British Horse Society Paths for Communities fund.  How’s that for an upgrade???

Downhead, ‘chicken shed’ route  now finished.  Looking fantastic with all weather stone surface.  No more slipping and sliding through the winter months.  Big thank you to Norman Baker our contractor.  Fully funded by MBBA with the help of Torr Quarry who kindly  supplied the stone.

During the past few years MBBA has created a number of Permissive Routes which do not appear on the OS maps.  They tend to be known only to MBBA members as they appear on our marked up maps which members may purchase.  These routes are given through the kindness of the landowner and usually facilitate avoiding a dangerous road or obstacle.  MBBA insures these routes and accepts the maintenance liability, all of which is paid for by our fund raising.

The Routes Archive page has more projects covering the past ten years.

All funds raised by MBBA go towards improving routes.  If you ride the bridleways and value well maintained and enjoyable rides,  please support our work by joining MBBA.  Every single new member enables us to achieve m