Will your local bridleway disappear in the next 10 years?

Will your local bridleway disappear in the next 10 years?

The British Horse Society is committed to protecting and preserving the equestrian off-road network. However, there’s only so much they can do. They are in a race against time to save England’s historic bridleway routes by getting them recorded on the definitive map before 2026. Volunteers have been working tirelessly, but they need your help.


In 2000, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act was introduced. The crux of the Act is that all historic footpaths and bridleways in England that existed before 1949 need to be recorded on the definitive map by 2026, or they will be extinguished. The stark fact is that you and future riders could lose any route you currently use and enjoy if it is not recorded. That’s a frightening thought because there are some areas with very few recorded routes and 2026 is closer than you think – we’re already more than half way there from the year 2000.


The BHS has a dedicated team of 230 Access and Bridleways Officers throughout the country, who protect and take care of routes in your local area. They have been campaigning assiduously to save those routes you ride – one particular volunteer has now recorded routes totalling in excess of 20km and made applications for more than 100 others, which are waiting to be processed by his council. However, there are thousands of routes that are still in jeopardy.



“We are mobilising all equestrians to fight for their local bridleways by providing them with a mapping tool kit which contains all the information required to check whether the routes you ride are recorded – and if they aren’t, how you can protect them beyond 2026. It takes you through marking up your local routes that aren’t currently shown on the OS map, and how to gather the evidence you need to back up the existence of your route. The tool kit will make it much easier for us to save the routes so loved by equestrians,” explains spokesman for the BHS.  



Don’t take your routes for granted. If you don’t want to see the day where your only local hacking route is on increasingly busy main roads, then join the campaign and register your local bridleway now. Improved and increased off-road access for horse riders and carriage drivers is something that most equestrians feel passionately about, so do get involved and make the equestrian voice heard. For more details on these opportunities, email access@bhs.org.uk or visit bhs.org.uk