This page provides a flavour of the many and varied things that MSABG Voluntary Officers and Members have got up to in past years. If you have any similar issues or projects within MSABG’s area then please contact us.
Several bridleways which had been obstructed for many years when the group started in 1978 have been re-opened. Identifying and applying pressure and support to the local authority is the key. But there are still paths recorded on the definitive map that riders struggle to use. The latest one is a path on the South Downs that bestrides three parishes, path Poynings 22/ Fulking 11/Brighton and Hove 14 which the landowner was finally forced to re-open to riders in January 2011.
Working with local authorities, we established a licensed bridleway along the disused Barcombe railway.
At our suggestion, riders were able to use Mid Sussex District Council’s Green Crescent route around the western side of Burgess Hill and after many years use our ultimate objective of it being dedicated with bridleway status was achieved to allow horse use forever.
We successfully objected to a Road Traffic Order which would have stopped horses using a bridleway in Lewes.
Members have collected user evidence to support several Definitive Map Modification Orders to create bridleways. Some were successful, e.g. St John Without 22 (at Courthouse Farm); Burgess Hill 71 an urban off road link that cuts out riding a roundabout; Cuckfield Rural 22 (between Deaks Lane and Broxmead Lane) a former footpath, and some not so successful, East Chiltington 45 (at Wootton Farm).
MSABG supported (including financially) the creation of a new bridleway linking the Southdowns Way at Southease with the bridleway at Rodmell taking riders off the busy C7 road. It was formally opened in June 2014. MSABG also helped with funding towards the fencing and gates for a new bridleway, now recorded as Iford 13 on the definitive map, between Lewes and Iford. The route, which runs from the bridge under the Lewes by-pass at Cockshut Road, Lewes across the levels to Iford, is for equestrians, cyclists and walkers. It is part of the growing network of routes for non-powered users south of Lewes and fills a large gap in the rights of way network locally.
We have been instrumental in the creation of several permissive and licensed bridleways in Mid Sussex, e.g. ‘behind the hedge’ next to the A273 and the fields belonging to The Three Greys at Pycombe; The Jubilee Pathway at Westmeston; Paythorn Barn bridleway at Fulking. We also obtained a lease on a ‘behind the hedge’ path to allow riders off the busy B2116 in East Chiltington.
MSABG volunteer officers were instrumental in retaining free use of Telscombe Tye (common) and having fencing removed that obstructed the use of paths.
We represented riders’ interests at the A23/A27 trunk road Public Inquiries including obtaining a suitably sized underpass and new linking bridleways when the A23 was widened at Handcross in the early 2000s.
MSABG responds on a regular basis to innumerable planning applications that would affect ridden use of bridleways. These have resulted in ensuring used BW width is maintained when development occurs alongside (eg Burgess Hill 18, Sunset Lane), ensuring BWs are not used for the transport of materials during building (Eg too many to mention!), requesting alternatives/crossings when extra traffic is generated from large developments (eg Burgess Hill 10) . Riders should alert other local riders and the group to any proposed developments that would affect our riding.
Formal support has been given innumerable times when riders identify problems on bridleways they use (blocked culverts causing water to damage surfaces, gates badly hung or difficult to use, vegetation impeding full use of BWs, surface issues, dangerous bridges and so on). Together we have worked to get a solution. Some are big issues (eg the ford and bridge at Meadowsweet Cottage in Streat; the drainage on Earwig Lane, Bolney), many are small day-to-day issues but these ‘stitches in time’ prevent further problems at a later date.
We have provided formal support when riders ‘hit a brick wall’ in dealing with authorities. Eg obtaining a ‘Horses Crossing’ sign on the A2300 at Goddards Green, pressing for surface improvements where the land ownership is in dispute (Westmeston 11 rail bridge).
Members fundraised to provide financial incentive for the authorities to do surface works on Wolstonbury Hill, Bridleways at Pyecombe and Wapple Way at Westmeston in the early 2000s.
The group frequently helps members with clearances to their bridleways, providing tools, insurance cover and expertise.