The British Horse Society (BHS) has secured funding to open a long-awaited bridleway in the Eden Valley, Cumbria.

The 135km Eden Valley Loops — which runs from Kirkby Stephen to Ullswater — links with the Pennine Bridleway. It launches on 24 June after a 20-year battle for funding.

“This is the first recognised network of maintained routes for horses in Cumbria,” said Pam Bonnick of the Cumbria Bridleways Society.

An £18,500 grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Defra will be used to pay for free route guides and way-markers.

BHS’s Heather Clatworthy, said: “Cumbria has good rights of way, but many routes are inaccessible at the moment.”

Alison Roper, from local trail riding company Stonetrails, said: “This is a massive step towards promoting the Eden Valley for horses.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (13 May, ’10)