Questionnaire BHS Access Cornwall Home Page RESULTS
Visitors to this Web Site are invited to complete a simple questionnaire and give information about the riding where they live in Cornwall. This page details the results. The questionnaire gives full opportunity for detailed input from you on any issues relating to your riding.
Most of you who have completed the have also taken full opportunity to give much valuable information and comment on the riding in your area. Nearly 100 riders have replied to date. We still welcome more replies.
1. Summary of the Rider Responses
Over half the responses are from mainly Leisure Riders
One fifth consider yourselves mainly competitive
One third consider yourselves doing a mixture
Surprisingly the majority (62%) keep your horses at home, with a quarter on Paid Livery
Nearly half of you (45%) ride four or more times a week
Most of you have no specific time of day when they ride but 30% tend to favour mornings
The typical ride seems to be 5 miles or so (72%) 15% say they regularly do 10 miles or more. A similar number do only up to 2 miles.
2% of riders have no access to any off road riding 34% have little or no access to off road riding 62% have reasonable access (30% or more of their riding off road)
14% have mostly off road riding. 42% Rarely Ride Bridleways Ė due to their rarity where you ride but 82% Ride Other Paths, Tracks and Footpaths. 6% answered Donít Know Half of you have been stopped from riding paths you used to ride. 67% of say there is a lack of off road riding where you ride. Only 19% of you donít have to use busy roads 8% of you do not have access to any Quiet lanes
58% of you say your bridleways do not sensibly connect 10% say that they do. (the rest sometimes) 13% say you never encounter blocked bridleways. 38% Often, 49% sometimes. 9% say the bridleways surfaces are good, 49% average, 42% poor. 36% say gates are easy. 59% difficult, 5% impossible 8% say bridleways are trimmed, 57% Sometimes, 12% Never (23% Donít Know) 96% of you agree that more bridleways should be available - 76% strongly agreeing, 2 % disagreeing (Those who disagreed appear to have plenty of other off road riding available or are unsure about the status of the paths.) 72% of riders would be prepared to help clearing bridleways. Only 9% definitely could not help. 60% of riders think that more safe riding would encourage more horse ownership. 35% did not know, 6% disagreed. All the replies that disagreed either lived next to major trails or other good off road riding. So probably are only replying for your locality rather than countywide.
2. Summary of the Issues You Have Raised
The quotes below are a representative sample of those received on these issues.
Requirement for Bridleways.
Unrecorded Bridlepaths Ė Lost Routes
Multi User Trails
The biggest issues were increasing traffic and behaviour of motorists, and lack of off road riding in many areas. Riders often also having to use busy roads to reach their off road riding.
Whilst the riding in some areas is good where there are a significant number of bridleways or trails, especially around Camborne and Redruth, or where there is access to moorland areas, the availablity of off-road riding in many areas is limited or non existant.
An important result is the confirmation that most riders ride undesignated paths and footpaths to enable them to ride off road. The security of the paths for the future is another big issue. Much of what is ridden is not bridleway and can be lost at any time, this includes much of the moorland currently ridden. Access to moorland is a valued resource but many riders do not realise how vulnerable this is to loss. For example see quote on Bodmin Moor.
Safety and benefits to economy have been highlighted as other benefits of bridleways.
The major conclusion is that many riders are desperate for somewhere safe to ride, and also that even riders currently with good or adequate off road riding are very concerned about the future with the roads getting busier and busier.
|Appendix 1 - Detailed Analysis of Answers|
Appendix 2 - Sample User Comments in Full
Wadebridge - Generally some good off road places to ride - but mostly ridden footpaths, unrecorded routes, paths through forestry commission (which I am sure were there before the forests!) and so subject to closure at any time.
Dobwalls/Liskeard/Duloe/Herodsfoot/St Pinnock - low trees. dirt bikes on bridle paths. idiots driving too fast on quiet roads. More bridleways wanted because roads are becoming very dangerous around us due to bypass work and also safer riding. Have to pay in forestry woods when limited off road riding this is very expensive when more than 1 horse.
The ability to state where dirt bikes are allowed to be and when. also a lot of off road comps that horse riders know nothing about. Had 15 plus bikes come hairing up behind us last year and they expected us to pull over to side of road to let them past. I think not!!! When we can get to a bridle path most of them are of good condition mainly because they go through forestry ground.
Newquay - Quiet lanes are becoming increasingly busy and the surfacing is often very worn and slippery. The cycle of maintenance seems not to have been updated to take account of the higher usage of quiet roads for rural enterprises.
Connecting bridleways would be of great advantage in respect of safety, enjoyment by all age groups (especially families) and economic benefit to Cornwall.
In the Newquay area there are only 2 bridleways of any length and these are over 2 miles apart, the cross town journey to go from one to another is bad enough out of season, but from June to October it is dreadful and only the bravest undertake the journey. Horse riders during the season are not allowed on the beaches and are mostly obliged to ride before 8 in the morning or after 7 in the evening to even get half a chance of a pleasurable ride.
The response to maintenance requests has been much improved in recent years, but we still seem unable to get the hedges cut back sufficiently to allow for horse and rider to use the soft edges of tracks. This is not confined to the Newquay area, we experience it in many different routes around the county.
St Columb - One bridleway runs up the side of a field which is cultivated. It is often ploughed right to the edge. When a margin is left is usually too narrow, often the surface is deep, soft and stoney. More bridleways required because road users generally do not pay sufficient respect to horses and traffic travels too fast. We do have some quiet lanes and have unobstructed access to Mawgan Porth Beach.
Camborne, Illogan, Tehidy, Portreath, Troon, Brea, Carn Brea, Gwennap, St Agnes, Carharrack, St Day - Traffic is increasing, particularly heavy traffic, and it is not just the volume of traffic but the speed. My children's riding safety is paramount, bridleways keep you off the road, and reduce the risk of riding accidents.
We do have a good bridleway network in my area although, linking them to provide a circular route means 50% road work. I am fortunate to have transport and can travel to parishes with better bridleway, multiuser trail networks. I feel that bridleways are left until almost im-passable before they receive the maintenance required to keep them usable.
St Stephen - More bridleways required because keeping horses off the roads saves lives
There are a number of rights of way which could be opened up and there are far too many stiles and not enough horse-friendly gates! It seems people are keeping horses for pleasure more and more and with the growing interest in endurance and planned pleasure rides, it would be good to be able to cover longer distances without having to load horses into trailers or lorries to reach them! We are very lucky where we are because we can access part of the coast path and we have wide open moors - but the bridleways do get very overgrown in the summer - I would be happy to join a clearing team once a month or so!
Zennor - More bridleways required for safer riding off the roads. as most of my riding is moorland it would be nice if it was grazed down properly as most of the moorland is overgrown with gorse.
Paul Parish - More bridleways required as roads are getting busier and faster traffic.
When the bridleways are cleared riding is a joy, would consider paying an annual amount to ride on farm land.
St Hilary - We ride a lot of unofficial "bridleways" - we are always worried that we will lose them. We are in a holiday area and tourists whip around our quiet little lanes like they were on a motor way. We also have to contend with massive agricultural lorries. The locals are usually very careful around us but sometimes the big transporter don't know how to drive around horses. There are too many types of things using our lanes. We need to be off road
Newmill, Penzance - ancient tracks which were never designated, or wrongly designated and are no longer available. Includes link tracks. Am a bit too aged to do track cutting but try to help in other ways. Riding enables me to reach areas I would not be able to walk. More bridleways required because pleasanter and safer to ride
Breage Parish - More bridleways required because the roads are getting busier and more dangerous. I have been hit by a car recently going too fast around a blind bend. Horses and cars are not a good combination we NEED to get off the roads. The lanes in my area are banked by cornish hedges. There is nowhere for a horse to escape to in the event of a speeding motorist. The lanes have many blind bends on them and the speed limit is 60MPH!
St Day - Mid Cornwall Bridleways were very active in the area but unfortunately have run out of steam and there is generally apathy in the area because we do have off road riding although the surfaces are generally very stony now due to climate change We are probably quite complacent because of the amount of off road riding even though some may be 'illegal', but the effort required to push modification orders through is a deterrent to many people being willing to change the 'status quo'. The County Council's rejection of fast tracking the St Day Parish Review was a disappointment as several horse riders completed evidence forms on their behalf and nothing has happened.
Near Bissoe - The tracks are usually too rough to ride a competition horse on, they get bruised soles and stumble on the poor going. Our horses have often been spooked and upset by scrambler motorbikes sharing the tracks. People use the tracks for fly tipping, leaving little room to pass safely and again spooking the horses. I often choose to ride on quiet roads to avoid these issues. More bridleways required because a recognised and clearly marked bridleway will probably be better maintained. This would encourage more riders to keep off the roads and away from motorists. Although there is off road riding available the tracks are all shared with cyclists and off roaders. It would be wonderful and safer to have some paths marked as specifically bridleways.
Morwenstow - Use of bridleways by 4x4's and motorcyclists, still going on despite being reported numerous times to the Parish Council, County Council and Police
More bridleways required because horses and traffic just don't mix well. It is far safer and more sensible for the horse and rider to be away from traffic as much as possible. Off road riding makes for a much more enjoyable and safer ride for both horse and rider. The increasing numbers of motorists who speed and are discourteous, or just plain ignorant, are making the possibility of an accident happening to you increase every year.
We are lucky in the Morwenstow area that we have relatively quiet lanes and at least some bridleways and 'unsuitable for motors' tracks. However, the past 2 years has seen a massive increase in the use of these tracks and the bridleways by off-road vehicles and motor bikes. The local Councils (Parish and District) have been allowing the use of these to local Motor Clubs for special 'Green Lane' events; which only exacerbates the problem and sets a precedent for all and sundry to take their vehicles on them. The police are helpful, but seem to have little control over the problem. Only last weekend I narrowly avoided an accident after coming face to face with 2 motorbikes on Davids Lane Bridleway (again!) and was met with more abuse from them. I would like to see some of the unsuitable for motors tracks in our area converted to proper bridleways, but as this would not prevent them being used by vehicles, I would also like to see the use of 'Horse stiles' at the starts (and possible ends) of the tracks, like the Forestry Commission do. If this could be achieved on our 2 existing bridleways, I'm sure it would help.
St just/Pendeen, West Penwith - I ride over moorland with many tracks criss-crossing. There are no signposts to designate them as bridleways. In my area I have enough variety of routes to take without the need for more specifically designated as bridleway. Most of the land around where I ride is common land, on the whole you can ride virtually everywhere without being hindered. I have kept horses in other areas in Cornwall and have to say that this area is, in comparison, extremely good for riding.
Boyton, Launceston - We have a lack of bridleways in our area. There is some riding in the Forestry - if you pay for a permit but they discourage cantering. More bridleways required because as we don't have any at the moment. Any which were there were downgraded to footpaths some years back.
Boyton, - (between Launceston and Bude) - More bridleways required to give riders a safer place to ride and the opportunity to canter if they wish.
Penwith. Our local bridleways association is lobbying hard for more access but many paths historically ridden are not marked as bridleways and are being lost for use because of motorbike activity and locked gates are being put up to stop them. This also then stops horse riders. The area in which I live is a very popular tourist destination and in the summer months the roads become very busy when the population of the area almost trebles.
Tredavoe Newlyn - A bridleway cleared in Lamorna has made a huge difference to local riders & myself.Lanes near Tredavoe are all overgrown.
Germoe/St Hilary - Rabbit holes/Overgrown paths/ waterlogged paths where debris is not removed from rivers/ Speeding drivers around country lanes/ More bridleways required The ability for riders to be able to ride on the roads quiet or otherwise is becoming more difficult as drivers wonít slow down or back up if the lane becomes too narrow. I also believe we should not be made to pay for this through the TROT scheme since this is our right not a luxury... horses are expensive enough.
Perranuthnoe, St. Hilary, Germoe, Breage - Lost bridleways and the speed of traffic in the country lanes, the spread of Japenese knotweed which I have reported by phone and written twice to Cornwall C.C. There are more pleasure riders than ever before, many bridleways have been lost through the mistakes in earlier reviews, property owners have taken the land and some are still trying to prevent riders passing their homes-it seems to happen particularly when new owners move in.
Budock/Mabe parish - Although I ride on country lanes, the speed of the traffic is an issue. I don't think there are any 'quiet' roads any more. More bridleways required because I don't like riding on the road. I have found that most traffic will slow down for me but often it's with a skid as they are driving too fast anyway around blind bends. I also have issues with the number of dogs which bark at horses, either from their gardens or which jump out on bridleways, - often these are farm dogs. I have had problems with youngsters galloping at top speed along the narrow bridleways and overtaking at a gallop. Also blocking paths with jumps they have made.
Nanstallon (Bodmin) Camel Trail ĖThe Camel Trail very busy with bikes, walkers, dogs off leads, runners, etc. Some horses upset by this. Many cyclists do not use common sense when encountering horses e.g. overtaking dangerously close to horse(s) when other cyclists are approaching from the other direction, instead of waiting until it is clear to overtake. Super riding around our area. We are very lucky. Possible to ride mostly off road. Lots of horse ownership in the area for this very reason I would think. The Camel Trail is a super link to Forestry Commission trails and surrounding lanes.
St. Agnes - More bridleways required because we need to get off road as much as possible and some bridleways end up on a road or join up to a footpath
Newmill and the moors around Ding Dong & Mulfra More bridleways required because off road riding is much pleasanter and safer. This year much affected by the wet weather which has kept us off the moors to a far greater extent than usual. Lots of old tracks on the moors have grown in or become deep channels from run-off. Within my usual range there are only three actual bridleways, two good, one more or less passable uphill only.
Bodmin Moor - More and more gates are being locked denighing access to moorland; parcels of land purchased by Cornwall Wildlife Trust and do not allow horse riding prevent access to other parcels of moorland; also more and more farmers locking gates and preventing access to their privately owned enclosed moors. Over the last thirty years there has been a marked hostility to horse riders on Bodmin Moor. Also the newish A30 has divided the Moor in half due to the difficulty of crossing over the A30 due to the speed and volume of traffic. Without local knowledge of the type of road surface used on sections of A.30 it would be extremely dangerous to try and cross the A.30 as the surface might be that new slippery asphalt combined with speeding traffic. You need to be very brave or foolhardy without prior knowledge of the conditions. Freedom to roam and explore via a map has been lost. More bridleways required because without more Bridleways providing access to the countryside the only safe place to ride will be all weather schooling areas as country lanes are becoming more and more dangerous to ride on due to speed and lack of understanding of motorists on country lanes. Incomers are finding that when they have bought properties on the moor they have not got open access to the areas of riding they thought they had or they upset the locals by trying to ride over private farmland and create problems for others by their attitude to local landowners.
St Wenn - We are lucky around here as our roads are quiet but others are not so fortunate. This is a very rural area where farmers understand horses and slow down plus we have several tracks and common areas that are widely used. However if these were to be 'over used' there would be problems
Carn Brea, Redruth Cornwall - We are a riding school and have been riding on Gwithian Beach for the last 23 years, we now are having access problems. A few car users, usually holiday makers object to us being on roads We are told we have the best riding in Cornwall, the Mineral Tramways and Great Flat Lode, which I think is probably true.
Helston - Where I keep my horse we are surrounded on three sides by National Trust land and the fourth has a main road connecting to RNAS Culdrose and we do not have any access to off road riding, although there is loads, due to National Trust blocking access. We have already encountered this week a young girl being thrown from her horse and left unconscious in the road, whilst the driver drove off. How long before someone is killed before we have sensible off road riding. Drivers don't slow down and I have encountered many hazards due to drivers driving well above the speed limit. We have no designated bridleways in our area open to us. More bridleways required horse riders are sensible and keen to enjoy the sport and keep off the roads therefore providing safe riding. If we had the support from drivers to get riders off the road then it would please everyone.
Mawgan, Gweek and Mullion - There has been a large increase in traffic over the past 10 years with most households now owning more than one car. This has obviously had an impact on the amount of traffic on the roads making it increasingly hazardous for horse riders to use the roads. Bridleways are a safer alternative so they should be more plentiful. Also I would think there is an increase in the amount of people owning and/or riding horses in the last 10 years as well. Mullion has a very good network of bridleways but to gain access to this parish I have to ride along a busy main road. The same applies if I want to ride on Goonhilly Downs which also has a good stretch of bridleway but again needs to be accessed via a busy road. It would be good if there were more access points for riders approaching from the West side of these downs.
Trevenen Nr Helston - We have to cross 2 busy main roads with poor visibility. A crossing would be so much safer. More bridleways required because we feel very vulnerable on the roads now. We encounter many more instances where drivers are impatient and, on occasion, dangerous.
Camelford - We have one very short bridle trail near by which goes up a sten track usually washed out, through one or two farm gates, through a farm yard with barking sheep dogs, past sheep hurdles and flapping silage plastic, through another gate into an over-grown spinney that is seldom free from mud even in the driest summer and always overgrown, through another stiff gate into a hayledge field then out to either an extremely busy road or, using a permitted path but not a right of way, though a riding school' filed which may or may not have horses turned out, to their drive way which leads you back to the busy road. The once quiet lanes of Cornwall are more and more being accessed by people using GPS and who are not familiar with country life. They seem not to understand the concept of waiting a few seconds for a horse and rider to reach the 'passing place' before overtaking on a single track lane that is bounded by high hedges. The once safe-ish option of riding these lanes is fast disapearing leaving no where to ride except in a sand school- if you can beg, borrow, or hire one. I would gladly pay an annual fee for right to ride through farmers' land. A scheme simialr to that which worked in Windsor Great Park 15 years ago might work. When I rode there, you paid a fee and received a key to gates and a bridle tag identifying who you were.
I've added a lot to above comments. I worry that lack of safe hacking is not helping young riders develop. My brothers and I would go off for hours on our horses when we were young- I am not happy letting my daughter ride out alone as it requires riding on very busy roads to get anywhere near the open moor. As I said above, the one bridle trail near us is probably less than a mile in length and doesn't lead on to any where but busy roads. A year or two ago I would have said the back lanes were quiet and pleasant to ride on but the GPS means they've become rat runs for tourists.
Halvasso near Longdowns, Penryn, Cornwall - Roads are getting busier - even the quiet ones are now very busy at peak times. Generally the trimming of most bridleways in the area are up to date albeit the council leaves it until the paths are impassible until they do it. Most bridleways are just very muddy tracks in the winter, some with barbed wire very close which makes it dangerous. Some paths are completely blocked by the farmers and others have gates which are impossible to open when on board and once you get off you can't find a mounting area to get back on. I also understand the government are thinking of stopping horses going on cycle tracks - disastrous decision. Would like to see more riding routes made within Cornwall with lorry parking facilities. Coast to coast is good but you have to turn around and come back the same way. The councils need to start bridleway initiatives in other parts of Cornwall. Redruth , pool etc are now well catered for. Please can we have some in the South - Falmouth, Helston, Constantine, Stithians etc
Gweek & Wendron More bridleways required as even our minor roads are busy with holiday makers travelling to attractions and they are single track roads..
Trewen / Polyphant / Alternun / Five Lanes / Egloskerry / Laneast Electric cattle wire strung alongside / across the bridleway, switched on and not insulated or clearly marked.
More bridleways required as we have only one bridleway near us, and have to ride on roads nearly all the time. The roads are getting busier, and drivers more impatient.
Constantine Several bridleways around us ( particularly at Mawnan Smith) are blocked up. There are few off road routes available for riders in this area More bridleways required and there are more and more cars now,more provisions for walkers and cyclists,and less than ever for horses. We encounter many dangerous and inconsiderate drivers every time we go out, and it takes the enjoyment out of riding. Bosahan woods is an excellent place for horses,also a new bridleway has been recently opened near Lamanva,which i'll try as soon as my horse is fit enough! There's a lack of off road riding here though,the paths don't link up at all which makes circular routes difficult,and several paths have been blocked up or chained.I'd ride a lot more if i didn't have to face traffic all the time.My horses are very good on the road,but others aren't so lucky,and some off road tracks would make it more fun for all of us.I'd be willing to pay an annual permit fee to have access to off road riding on land that would otherwise be private and probably for the most part unused.It would be worth it for the safety and the enjoyment.
Kenwyn Truro Some paths/bridleways connect with busy roads and my horse is not confident in fast traffic. I am unable to use these which is frustrating as the other end is a quiet lane. Anything over 30mph is a problem therefore need to be in a speed restriction to feel safe. More bridleways required as most roads into Truro are busy and to get to bridleways I have to cross them or box to somewhere like the Poldice valley or Hugus/Chacewater area. I also ride through Idless woods occasionally but find the Zelah-Shortlanesend road is used as a short cut and some cars travel fast. It would help if that road was 30mph limit. I have been riding in the Tregavethan area for 37yrs and I find that the country lanes are much busier now and I have to choose carefully when I ride. It is impossible to ride between 8-00 and 9-00am and between 4-00pm and 5-30pm as we are used as a short cut from Treliske to Shortlanesend and beyond.
I do enjoy riding off-road and the bridleways which we do have are well maintained but it would help if they linked up to each other or were linked to quiet roads. There are one or two paths which I use and hope that I shall be able to continue to use but are not marked as bridleways and one actual lane through a farm which has just had a locked gate put at one end so the generosity which I have enjoyed all these years has stopped. I believe the farm is being sold. I just hope that riders have not abused this privelege.
St Columb Major - One local bridleway is waterlogged and unrideable.Another which runs along the hedgeline of a cultivated field is invariably too narrow and poorly surfaced
Because roads are unsafe. More bridleways required because traffic and speed is increasing. Drivers seem to have unrealistic expectations of the courage of horses. We do have access to local beach. Looks like the Goss Moor tracks will increase our access to off road riding
Madron - Ding Dong - West Penwith Moors Dispute over Bridleway/Path has taken to date 6 years for the Council (County level) to look at meaning many of us have long road trips to reach the moor when there is a suitable path which used to be a bridleway right next to us. One objector is managing to hold this up for many of us.
More bridleways required because good exercise, good for the economy as more people have horses, safer than going on the road, ecologically more sound to use when the moors are wet and we then don't go on them - bridleways tend to be OK in the wet - so we can ride off road even in bad weather. our Council is extremely slow in reaching decision and in the meantime tracks deteriorate. The Council has made a very good job of one bridleway in our area (Kennel Lane) which has allowed all year use. Hope for more of this !
There are many tracks which we used to ride
which have been blocked because they are not definitive bridleways on
the map. This is happening increasingly in the area I live.
Over the years one trail I used to ride got blocked for footpath, a railway track got opened for riding, but then got blocked for footpath and now is inaccessible, mainly due I think to kids on motorbikes complaints. We also used to ride the unused clay roads but they are blocked off now, again I believe due to motorbikes. Roche doesnít connect with any of the Clay Trails or Camel Trail or Saints way which are all nearby anywhere so we have to box or ride busy roads to get to them. There are footpaths that arenít used by walkers that could be opened up for horses! also the new trails on the moors where the old A30 used to be involves riding a mile down a 60mph bendy road! If there was traffic calming it would be better!
I am very lucky living close to open moorland, however I know many people are less fortunate. The more riders can stay off the busy roads the safer for everyone
Many bridleways seem to be blocked mostly by farmers not wishing people to use them