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British Horse Society EXCLUSIVE

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Save Our Forests

* The Government is planning to sell over 635,000 acres of woodland

* Once woodland has been sold, the public will no longer have any automatic "right to roam" on the land

* The "right to roam" laws do not include riding

* Selling public woodland will dramatically reduce riders' rights to ride, force more and more riders on to increasingly dangerous roads and even force many riders to stop riding altogether.

What the BHS is doing

Mark Weston, Director of Access, Safety and Welfare says:

At The British Horse SocietyAt The British Horse Society we plan to do everything we can to ensure that equestrian access to our forests is protected - and in coming months your support could be crucial.

We believe that there should be no disposal of any forests in England before the Forestry Commission has dedicated higher rights for equestrians, (pursuant to section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000). If that cannot be achieved then the Society will strongly oppose any sale.

What are we doing? We are currently working hard to generate as much press coverage as we can for equestrians. Already we have had numerous mentions in the national press, including in the Daily Telegraph and on the ITV1 show Daybreak. We have also had a lot of exposure on local radio with both myself, and our local access volunteers, speaking on a wide range of shows.

We have also been in contact with the government to ensure that the voice of riders and carriage drivers is heard. On 1 February we sent a letter to Jim Paice MP, Defra asking for confirmation that equestrian access will be secured in any forests that are sold off. We also sent an email to all MPs setting out the Society's position prior to the recent Forestry debate in the House of Commons. We will continue to lobby hard in coming months to ensure equestrian access is not lost.

What can you do? We will be in touch shortly with regular updates on our progress. In the meantime, you can help us by encouraging other equestrians to lobby their MP and to respond to the consultation. We will be putting a draft letter on our website very shortly which can be downloaded and sent. We will also be producing a briefing note setting out the key points that can be made when responding to the consultation, so keep an eye on

A copy of the consultation can be found here

Many thanks for joining us in the fight to preserve the right to ride in our forests.

Is the BHS doing enough ?

What else do you think the BHS should be doing to save our forests ? Please email and tell us what you think.

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