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Plans to build up to 35 wind turbines close to miles of designated safe riding trails in the Dyfnant Forest have been branded “ridiculous” by Powys riders.

The 185m-tall turbines have been proposed by ScottishPower Renewables.

The windfarm is planned around The Rainbow Trails, in Powys — a range of riding tracks from 6-25km that were created using Government funding in 2003.

Thousands of riders and carriage drivers use the trails and fear the turbines will cause chaos.

Maggie Eaton from PT Spanish Stud near Welshpool said she’s “devastated”.

“It’s ridiculous. Thousands of pounds were put towards diversifying the area and so much time has been invested in making the forest rider-friendly,” she said.

“There are B&Bs for riders and a car park specially designed for horses and lorries.

“You wouldn’t take children or young horses on the roads round here — but no one would take them near a windfarm either.”

She’s also concerned that the pylons and turbines could cause health problems for horses at her stud.

Susan Wilkinson of Dyfnant & Vyrnwy Riders’ and Carriage Drivers Association has raised a petition against the windfarm.

“There will be no routes left unscathed,” she said.“I’ve invested so much into helping establish the trails that I cried when I heard. Who’d use them with 35 turbines there?

The British Horse Society (BHS) isn’t happy either.

BHS director of safety, Mark Weston, said: “We will be submitting an objection. It’s close to the trails and no alternatives have been cited.”

ScottishPower Renewables says plans are “very much in the consultation stage”. A spokesperson added they will work to allow “continued multi-use of the forest”.

A spokesman for Powys County Council said: “We have 15 windfarm applications pending in Powys. But in a meeting on 29 June there was a popular motion for the Welsh Assembly to reconsider the policy for concentrated wind farms in the area.”

Visit: www.dyfnantforest windfarm.com

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (7 July, 2011)