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Riders in Nottinghamshire are angry about a decision to ban horses from a new 300-acre country park, which is due to open in July.

Allowing horses access to Gedling Country Park could have been a golden opportunity to provide locals with some much-needed safe, off-road riding, say residents in the surrounding villages.

Pamela Shipley, who lives just outside the village , has started a petition protesting against the Borough Council’s decision to keep the park horse-free. It has nearly 120 signatures so far.

“There is a large equestrian community in the area and there were many of us looking forward to the new park,” she said. “The council has said that the decision is based on health and safety, but dogs and bikes are allowed, so why not horses?

Ms Shipley is planning to submit the petition to the local council at a planning meeting on 14 April.

A spokesman for Gedling Borough Council told H&H: “The issue of allowing horses on to the new country park was discussed at a recent members’ forum. A decision, in principle, was made that the paths — which have been designed for walkers and cyclists — would not be appropriate for horse riding.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (10 April 2014)