Riders in Surrey should be safer on the roads after the opening of a community-funded horse crossing earlier this month (14 December).

Elmbridge borough councillor Mary Marshall worked tirelessly to raise the funds for the crossing after a horse was killed on Woodstock Lane South in Claygate on 14 June 2014.

The crossing was supposed to open last December, but was delayed by planning problems.

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The project has cost £6,100 to complete with donations coming from local riders and the council.

Councillor Mike Bennison gave £3,000 of Surrey County Council’s local funding allocation for the crossing.

“Claygate has more horses per square foot than anywhere in the country,” he told H&H. “So it was a wonderful opportunity to put up a crossing and prevent any more accidents.

“My wife had a riding accident three years ago so we’re very conscious of making bridlepaths as safe as possible.”

The design of the new crossing was developed by William Kear, whose father runs an equestrian construction company.

“We took our understanding of horses and local authorities to design and build something that works practically for horse riders and works within the constraints of the Highway Code,” said William.

A corral has been built at the end of the path to stop horses going straight onto the busy road.

To get out, riders need to turn their horses round through a gateway. The path has also been cleared of brambles and tress cut to improve riders’ visibility.

“We hope this will solve the issue of horses running onto the road which is very busy,” said Cllr Marshall.

“It’s a huge relief that riders can now safely cross the road with good sight lines. It’s my best Christmas present ever.”

The crossing has been welcomed by riders at the six livery yards in the area.

“Even if you’ve got a horse that’s a bit young and spooky, the nature of the way the crossing is built means that they slow down,” Louise Daw, a rider at Chessington Equestrian Centre told the local press.