Horse riders enjoy riding ancient highway in Lancashire after years of campaigning

Horse riders enjoy riding ancient highway in Lancashire after years of campaigning

An ancient highway has become available again to horse riders after being blocked for 34 years. The locking of a single gate had denied access to riders to the route between Edenfield and Rawtenstall for over three decades. Many horse riders and cyclists had used this off road route and in September 1980, a group of riders formed the Forest of Rossendale Bridleways Association (FORBA), and the campaign began to restore access to this ancient highway known as Bury Old Road.

The breakthrough came through a chance discussion with a local historian and genealogist. Incredibly, he had a great deal of evidence including records of Quarter Sessions from 1762 where the Justices accused the local residents of Edenfield of non-repair of the ‘Kings Highway’. The highway from Edenfield to Rawtenstall was a regionally important route which had been a public carriageway prior to the 1790s. The claim that Bury Old Road was a ‘Byway Open to All Traffic’ (BOAT) was now indisputable. So, 34 years after it was first obstructed and after several changes in ownership of Horncliffe Top Farm this ancient highway is now open again.