RIGHTS OF WAY WATCH
The Open Spaces Society has spoken
They have just published a report on commons and common land.
Finding common ground
Integrating local and national interests on commons: guidance for assessing the community value of common land
For riders, the key paragraph is the following:
"7.29 On commons where there are rights for horse-riders (whether over the whole area or on bridleways), or riders have traditionally enjoyed access, the gates must be suitable. Not only must they be to British Standard 5709, but they must not be self-closing, as this can cause accidents. The time normally allowed for such gates to close is four to six seconds, which is inadequate. The speed and efficiency with which a horse and rider can get through a gate varies with the size of horse and the amount of training it has had. Many riders can-not mount their horse without a mounting block and/or assistance. In any case, leading a horse through a self-closing gate is not practical either, as the rider has to let go of the gate when he is part way through, causing the gate to slam on the horse‟s side. There also needs to be turning and manoeuvring space around the gate. The British Horse Society can provide details and advice."
The report was commissioned by Natural England and funded through its Major Project on Common Land.
Let's hope Natural England not only read their own report but pay attention to it as well.