May 31. Deadline looms for submitting views on Yateley Common.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Hampshire County Council are consulting on the future management of Yateley Common in Hampshire.
Yateley Common is a s193 common with the right to air and exercise for pedestrians and equestrians over the whole of the common including Darby Green [also known as Derby Green], Hartford Bridge Flats and Hornley [known as Hawley] common.
Yateley Common is on top of the adjacent Ministry of Defence common at Hawley where Natural England has funded the grazing enclosure with pedestrian-only gates - even though riders have to pay for a permit that includes this land.
Says Bob Milton,
If that is not discrimination I do not know what is."
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Hampshire County Council are now seeking views on how best to look after the area to benefit the people who use it and the wildlife that lives there.
A full background paper can be found on the HWT website - www.hwt.org.uk/pages/yateley-consultation.
The closing date for submissions is 31st May.
It is vital that all riders not only take part in this consultation but also complete the questionnaire which is available on the website.
Says Bob Milton
The main things riders need to watch out for whenever conservation grazing is being introduced are the gates when fencing is being considered, their legal rights on the common, the number of access points proposed and the nature of the gates (usually one way self closing gates which shut very fast & can catch horses). They are dangerous. There have been many examples in the last two years of accidents to riders and horses)..
The British Standard does not include self closing gates. Most gates have a closing time of 2-4 seconds.
An example of what can happen is what happened to Verity from Eastbourne.
On Headley Heath last autumn a young horse was caught in a gate and went up throwing its rider and knocking her out.
On Ashdown Forest last year a rider used a non equestrian crossing because of the self closing problems. He and the horse were subsequently hit by a car at the point he crossed the road. The driver died.
The BHS is running a trial of various gates this year which may identify a better gate
It is important that all accidents with gates, dogs and cars are reported to the BHS accident website. Do not worry if it happened a few years ago. The BHS needs the data to enable it to counter safety arguments.