Responsible riders

We are responsible horse riders in the High Weald. Through the formation of the High Weald Bridleways Group in 1992 we have worked tirelessly to clear, open and improve the small existing network of bridleways and other riding routes.

We have excellent relations with our Parish Councils, ESCC Rights of Way department and with the vast majority of landowners.

All of them have welcomed our co-operation and willingness to do our share of hard work in order to enjoy our right to access the historic routes in The High Weald.

Many, many Farmers are dependent on equestrian related income and horse riding is a prime contributor to the local economy.

It does not need extra obstruction at this time of economic difficulty.

In a survey published by High Weald Bridleways Group in March 2003, out of over 3,000 rights of way, only 27 percent were open to horse riders in the South East.

It estimated that the annual spend on horse keeping in the area amounted to over £14m and that over 120 businesses in East Sussex relied upon this sector. We are now faced with potentially losing one of the most important links in the riding network.

The Restricted Byway from Cade Street

(Heathfield) to Furnace Lane (Warbleton) known as: Heathfield Nos: 29a,b,c, 37a and Warbleton 85a,b,) is being contested for the 4th time by one farmer over one section.

A Modification Order 2011 dated 14.9.2011 has been published in the Sussex Express on 16th September downgrading this path to footpath status.

Letters of Objection are invited before 28th October. They should be sent to Philip Baker, Asst. Director Legal and Democratic Services,

Govt. and Community Services Dept.,, County Hall, Lewes, BN7 1SW stating grounds for objection eg your riding history, to include any obstruction/safety issues concerning your attempts to use the route and any other issues you feel are relevant.

Objections to the downgrading should initiate a Public Inquiry. We have already called two Open Meetings with a combined attendance of over 100 supporters to discuss action open to us.

This includes Councillors from Parish, District and County levels.

Please join with us in sending in your letter if you know this route and are concerned at the loss of one of the fundamental rights of way through our countryside for horse riders which are few and far between as it is.

This path is vital to the existing network of public rights of way and its loss will have a knock on effect for everyone in the local community, not just riders.

Erica McQuillen Clarke Chairman

High Weald Bridle Group