There are 680km of bridleways in Worcestershire, which is 15% of the total 'Rights of Way' network in the country with footpaths making up to 85% and Byways 'open to all traffic' otherwise known as BOATS, only 4km or 0.001%
Horse drawn carriages & motor vehicles are not allowed on bridleways
A bridleway is a path on which the public has a right on foot, or to ride, or lead a horse, or pedal cycle, although cyclists must give way to horses. Wheelchairs, mobility vehicles, pushchairs and dogs are accepted as 'usual accompaniments' although farmers do not have to make provision for dogs to use stiles for example.
The legal responsibility for the maintenance of public rights of way is shared between the Highway Authority (Worcestershire County Council) and the landowners with each having specific responsibilities.
Worcestershire County Council are responsible for:
1 Signposting paths where they leave a metalled road.
2 Way-marking paths along the route of the path.
3 Clearance of undergrowth, i.e. natural vegetation growing through the surface.
4 Maintenance of most bridges and smaller ditch crossings.
5 Ensuring landowners comply with their responsibilities.
The Landowner is responsible for:
1 Maintenance of gates and stiles.
2 Clearance of overgrowth, i.e. vegetation growing from sides and above.
3 Re-instatement of paths after ploughing etc.
4 Keeping paths clear of crops.
5 Making sure they don't obstruct paths in other ways.
STALLIONS IN FIELDS
Currently there is no legislation to prevent owners turning out stallions in a field crossed by a bridleway. However, if you give details to the British Horse Society Access Dept, i.e. location, dates, details of the horse owner, they will write to the owner of the horse/land and point out the potential dangers of keeping stallions on fields crossed by a public right of way.
The British Horse Society, Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warks. CV8 2XZ Tel: 08712 02244
If you feel you have a legitimate problem with a ride in your area, then please contact the following authority.
The Countryside services: Tel 01905 768214 Fax: 01905 768222
A reported problem will be given a number and recorded. Problems are dealt with in order of priority, No 1 being a Health & Safety matter to No 5 which might be a missing way-marker or minor problem.