RIGHTS OF WAY WATCH
RIDERS RIGHTS Horseytalk.net EXCLUSIVE
Rider stopped and questioned by Forestry Commission ranger carrying a shotgun
Read Adrienne Wright’s account
of the incident with the shotgun below
Adrienne Wright describes the incident with the shotgun.
“I was riding my horse in Alice Holt at about 7.30pm when a Forestry Commission van stopped in front of me and two rangers got out.
“One of them approached and stopped me while the other went to the back of the van and took out a shotgun which he slung over his shoulder and he then just stood there, fairly close to me, while
the other ranger questioned me about riding in the forest.
Adrienne and Brook >>
“Eventually they let me pass and I continued my ride to the exit. It was a lovely summer evening and there were many other visitors to the forest at that time, including families with children and dogs, etc.
“ I was shocked to think that the forest rangers were apparently intent on using the shotgun in such a public and busy place, and for what purpose?
“The following day I contacted the police and was visited at
my home by two lady police officers who took notes and said they would
look into the incident and get back to me. Of course
they never did and when Maureen Comber, (Member of the BHS for 35-years, former Trustee and local Councillor) took it up with the local police, they actually denied ever having the incident reported to them!
“I have been a rider in Alice Holt Forest for over 40 years and am very sad to have such a simple enjoyment, which does no harm to anyone else, completely spoilt by the attitude of the present day forest rangers .”
What the Forestry Commission's own byelaws state,
"xxi. carry or use any firearm, shotgun, bow or other missile weapon, or any ammunition or missile for use therewith."
What the Forestry Commission publication, Diverse woodlands, diverse communities, says about ”breaking down barriers facing people from every part of the community.”
Presumably that includes riders
How a ranger illegally carrying a shotgun on his shoulder while talking to a rider can be described as “breaking down barriers” is difficult to see
Says Bob Milton
This is the most amazing example of the Forestry Commission’s management arm – Forest Enterprise being out of control. Yet last week a member of Forest Enterprise Scotland won an award from the British Horse Society. It only goes to show the distain that FE South East in particular has for riders and the lack of control that the Commissioners and the Secretary of State have over their management arm.
Forest Estates SE has entered into a partnership with other local stakeholders in the area for the promotion of the Shipwrights Way from Alice Holt Forest to the Queen Elizabeth Country Park. The original scheme was for a multi user path but in line with the lack of power to dedicate Forest Enterprises and EHDC seemed to have managed to down grade this to footpaths and cycle tracks so that s106 developer contributions can be diverted to meet statutory duty under sustainable transport. Eighty percent of the route is already public footpath. Is the funding going to be used to help fund the new visitor centre at Alice Holt?
What is wanted is parity with cyclists and pedestrians not unsubstantiated waffle on the need to charge to cover damage mitigation. Neither the FC nor FE south east can supply any figures for what they spend on equestrian damage mitigation either individually or as a whole. Equestrians are seen, it seems, as a cash cow to FE SE and Toll Rides UK and the police are being inveigled in to enforcing these discriminatory bylaws and to make equestrians criminals.
Do you think Forest rangers should carry shotguns on their shoulders when talking to riders ?
Do you think that if such an incident happens, it is right for riders to report the matter to the Police?
Have you ever been stopped on Forestry Commission land by a ranger carrying a shotgun on his shoulder ?
The more we know, the more we can help each other.