Horses and Public Rights of Way

The Parish Council have been notified of a number of instances of horses being ridden on public footpaths.  The following advice from the The British Horse Society should be followed at all times, to ensure that all everyone can enjoy the Public Rights of Way that cross the parish.

Where can I ride?

You may ride a horse on public bridleways, restricted byways, byways open to all traffic and roads; permissive bridleways; some commons; tracks in some Forestry Commission land (check locally for permit schemes); on paid-permit toll rides such as those provided through TROT. Motor vehicles may only use roads or byways open to all traffic; horse-drawn carriages may use these and restricted byways; bicycles may use bridleways, but are required to give way to pedestrians and horse riders.

Bridleways and byways are public rights of way that are protected in law from being obstructed or moved. They are recorded by county or unitary councils on Definitive Maps, which define where each way goes and its status (who can use it). The routes shown on Ordnance Survey maps are taken from Definitive Maps, but may not be up to date. Herefordshire Council maintains an online map of its Public Right of Way network.

Is it illegal to ride on a footpath?

Unless a Traffic Regulation Order or relevant bylaw prohibits equestrian use, it is not a criminal offence to ride on a footpath but it may be a civil offence against the landowner, that is, you may be trespassing unless you have the permission of the landowner.  If riding causes significant damage to the path, it could constitute an act of criminal damage as well as trespass.

For further advice visit the the British Horse Society FAQ.

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