rhinestone-style

New riding trails opened in Gloucestershire

Theresa McCaffrey

Sabrina Way Crossing Nottingham Hill - geograph.org.uk - 79523

A new network of horse riding trails has been officially opened in Gloucestershire.

Providing 30 miles of safe and scenic tracks to get to grips with, the routes promise to be a real boon for riders looking to enjoy the Forest of Dean.

Whether you live nearby or fancy a change of scenery and track for you and your horse the Forest of Dean Greenways offer four inter-connected circuits linking up new bridleways, existing public rights of way, country lanes and Forestry Commission tracks.

Extending from Dymock in north Gloucestershire to Blakeney and Yorkley in the south, taking your horse out on one of these routes could be a great way to get used to longer distances and a variety of terrains - allowing you to work on control and building up a bond between horse and rider.

Heather Clatworthy, British Horse Society (BHS) senior executive (Access and Rights of Way) described the tracks as an "invaluable network of routes", which has come about thanks to a local community initiative and the hard work of unpaid volunteers.

"I am very proud that this bridleway group [the Forest of Dean and District Horse Riders and Carriage Drivers Association] are affiliated to the BHS and feel privileged to have supported them on this project," she explained.

Chairman of the association, Jenny Carling, has been campaigning for better access for horse riders and carriage drivers through the forest since 2005 and said "our ambition was to secure better access to the beautiful countryside of the Forest of Dean", and invited residents and visitors to learn more about the routes and experience them for themselves.

Each of the new tracks are open to horse riders, cyclists, walkers and carriage drivers, meaning it is important that your horse is familiar with other animals and vehicles and trained to stay calm when out of the paddock or ranch and in unfamiliar territory.