Says Adrienne Yentis
A 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
Common Land and the National Trust
"I would like to suggest that communication is made with local horse riders, to ensure they are content that access arrangements provided by the Trust are adequate, and serve for example, the need to incorporate circular rides and that the fencing, if there is such, is not obstructing access for anyone"
Says Maureen Comber
The National Trust Act 1907 was directed to taking over the properties of a non-profit making association incorporated in the then Companies Acts and to create a statutory corporation for places of historic interest or natural beauty called The National Trust. Sec.4 of the Act in the general purposes, provides that “the Trust may maintain and manage or assist in the maintenance and management of lands as open spaces or places of public resort and buildings for purposes of public recreation, resort or instruction.”
The section of the Act dealing with common land imposes a duty on the Trust to keep such property “unenclosed and unbuilt on as open spaces for the recreation and enjoyment of the public.” Thus providing a right of access to the common and commonable lands of the Trust.
Common lands will also be subject to rights of access granted by dedication by previous owners before the Trust acquired the property, and other enactments subject to rights of access.
The National Trust owns about one fifth of all common land in England and Wales and provides an important amenity for public access and recreation which of course includes horse riders.
The 1907 Act was updated in 1971 and extended in sec.23. This states that it is the DUTY of the Trust, in respect of common or commonable lands to “at all times keep such property unenclosed and unbuilt on as open spaces for recreation and enjoyment of the public.” In addition the Trust is required “to resist and abate all enclosures and encroachments on the land or the appropriation of the soil, timber or roads thereof for any purpose inconsistent with the Act.”
The Act sets out clearly what the Trust may do with regards to maintenance including “….anything appearing to the Trust to be desirable for the purpose of providing, or improving, opportunities for the enjoyment of the property by the public, and in the interests of persons resorting thereto.”
The powers of the Trust are therefore wide ranging in that they may provide facilities like meals, lavatories, shelters, plant trees, and make footpaths and bridleways.
I would like to suggest that communication is made with local horse riders, to ensure they are content that access arrangements provided by the Trust are adequate, and serve for example, the need to incorporate circular rides and that the fencing, if there is such, is not obstructing access for anyone.
Further I would urge local riders to contact the local National Trust Wardens if they feel they are able to help and advise how their enjoyment of the commons can be further enhanced.
Communication is key to making a positive contribution to ‘recreation and enjoyment’ for everyone.
Says Linda Wright
We moved to a Shropshire location a year ago having surveyed the local OS map and noted the significant number of bridleways around the property. Sadly the map appears a total fiction. Scarce any of the bridleways are usable ........... read more