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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

Broxhead Common, Hampshire

Maureen Comber writes to Dr Katherine Stearne,
Lead Advisor, Hampshire, Natural England

"The sign you refer to has no relevance to anyone or anything, sited as it is facing the exit, that is, away from the common towards Picketts Hill along BW54"

Says Maureen Comber

Says Maureen ComberThe point I was making is that the sign you refer to has no relevance to anyone or anything, sited as it is facing the exit, that is, away from the common towards Picketts Hill along BW54? It makes me wonder, as it was erected two days before a Public Inquiry held in 2009, after HCC had objected to its own Order for my bridleway claim to connect BW54 with Cradle Lane, whether this was for the benefit of the Inspector at that PI, since no other reasonable explanation for its appearance could be envisaged at that time?

However my most recent complaint is for the latest,- in the now many signs around and on the common,- which actually obstructs BW46 near the top of the hill.

Broxhead Common, Hampshire

Please may I ask you to explain why:

  • Natural England may ignore sec. 130, HA1980 and deliberately obstruct BW46 with yet another sign?
  • Why the bridleway is not maintained and available to use for its whole width, because of dense vegetation which has been allowed to grow on it?
  • why the signs also instruct horse riders to keep to the bridleways when they have a right to ride where they are able to?
  • I say able to because as you may know, the illegal fencing of 80 acres has obstructed many of the paths horse riders customarily used on the common since time immemorial, as well as the gorse, bramble and ferns, which have been allowed to compromise the heathland itself. This is particularly the case around the unauthorised fence of the misappropriated 80 acres.

Broxhead Common, Hampshire

  • Why the commoners of Broxhead were not consulted before any signage was considered, as interference with the soil would require consent under sec.38 CA 2006 for restricted works and at least the agreement of the commoners, as I have already pointed out in a number of emails to HCC countryside's Andrew Smith? Broxhead Common as you must also realise, is protected by sec.30 CA 1876 and sec 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925 now replaced by sec.41 CA 2006. This gives the right of 'air and exercise' to the public which includes horse riders.
  • That makes the request on the signs for horse riders to 'keep to the bridleways' unlawful as it deliberately restricts their rights, as has the gorse and bramble allowed to obstruct for decades, at least 23 of the trails traditionally used by horse riders .
  • Please also explain why, when and how this part of Broxhead Common has been brought under a management scheme as a 'Local Nature Reserve' which I understand is land managed where the primary focus is on nature conservation and the study of flora and fauna and recreational activities that are compatible with these objectives?
  • As it has been consistently shown by first the Nature Conservancy Council, then English Nature and now Natural England at a local level, that horse riding is not considered to be compatible, it seems strange that not only were local people not advised of the proposal but that the proposal itself does not sit comfortably with the common land or the neighbourhood and public interests of access to it?

I note discussions took place between yourself and Hampshire County Council staff, and hope that they have not been misinforming you as to the true status of Broxhead Common and the strong legal protection it has under succeeding Acts of Parliament?

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