Forestry Commission letter to TROT
- Why does the Forestry Commission need money to have 'some measure of control of horse riding as against the substantially larger numbers of cyclists who use the forest tracks as well as a perceived yet unproven amount of potential damage by equestrians and user conflict." ?
- It is my opinion that the letter is nothing more than a distortion of the truth and blackmail.
- What we want and need is to be treated the same at cyclists and pedestrians on the FC estate across the country and not allow local bias and preferences of local area officers to act in a way that discriminates against equestrians as against other non motorised users.
- I hope that the BHS will be able to support its members in dealing with this one sided and biased position of the FC SE.
Says Bob Milton
It is my opinion that the letter is nothing more than a distortion of the truth and blackmail. The FC has admitted they have no records of any money specifically spent on equestrian access. The only benefit equestrians have is to use the roads and tracks constructed as haul roads and other purposes. The stated concordant which as they say excludes the Bridleways has been disregarded and the FC warden even stated at the last meeting as not being in force. The key to charging is 'what management control is required' and does use by equestrians as against cyclist warrant any regulation at all when compared to walkers. If so what do TROT spend the money on? And what happens to the difference between the £33,000 raise from riders [2010/2011] and that given to TROT in administration fees. It is my opinion that no money was or is used to mitigate any damage by Equestrians or for which required regulation is required by the concordant.
What evidence is there that supports the FC statement that the FC needs the money to mitigate for equestrian access and why is such a scheme required to have 'some measure of control of horse riding as against the substantially larger numbers of cyclists who use the forest tracks as well as a perceived yet unproven amount of potential damage by equestrians and user conflict.
In Bramshill estate there are no charging car parks or facilities for secondary spend. In fact a large part of the licence covers land which is no longer access able due to mineral extraction and future SSSI heathland regeneration and new rotational cropping. This part of the FC SE estate supplies the bulk of the income from riders and other users alike and where there are facilities such as Alice Holt equestrians are refused access on par with walkers and cyclists. It should be remembered that cyclists do not have the same rights as pedestrians and are covered by the same bylaws but the FC SE refuses to enforce and chooses to grant permissive access free of charge and bends over backwards to construct on site and access facilities with special cycle tracks at no charge.
What we want and need is to be treated the same at cyclists and pedestrians on the FC estate across the country and not allow local bias and preferences of local area officers to act in a way that discriminates against equestrians as against other non motorised users.
The importance for the FC in regard to supporting other access initiatives is in my opinion just pc speak for using riders as a cash cow to support political prudent free facilities for others.
It must be remembered that TROT does not speak for all riders as they claim especially those who are members of the British Horse Society. Where equestrian access has been facilitated on the FC estate it has like Hodgemoor been supplied by the riders. Equestrians do hold the odd event on Bramshill which they pay for and / or have permission from the landowner as seen by the payment for the jumps by the Sandhurst Drag Hunt and not TROT or the FC
The works at St Neots car park is not predominately for equestrians but for the dog walkers as it is the access to FP10 right of way and heavily used by cyclists and some horse riders as a prescriptive bridleway. It will be interesting to see why this part of the plantation was voided as registered common - CL165- under the 1965 CRA when Part 1 Commons Act 2006 is finally rolled out in Hampshire. Sandy Lane which is also served by the car park is as we know a de facto restricted byway awaiting HCC to process the claim.
It is interesting to know that the meeting on the 11th April excluded the British Horse Society which has over two hundred members active in the area.
I hope that the BHS will be able to support its members in dealing with this one sided and biased position of the FC SE.able to ride over Larks Meadow and through the adjacent woodland where they plan to enclose and graze.