The BHS President, the Princess Royal, will open a new long distance route for riders on 26 September, which links together the two national trails and forms part of an ongoing campaign to increase access and promote rider safety.

The Three Downs Link joins The South Downs Way and The Ridgeway, creating a route of approximately 96 miles (164km) in total which spans Hampshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire. The Link also takes riders into a fourth county via the new extension of the Claude Duval Way, which gives access to Swan’s Way in Buckinghamshire.

Joining the British Horse Society’s royal president at the ceremony will be chief executive Mrs Kay Driver and chairman Mrs Pat Campbell. Local BHS volunteers, landowners and council rights of way officers will also be present to celebrate this opening, which is part of the BHS’s Ride UK initiative.

Set up in 2000, this project aims to increase access for all, promote safety, meet local needs and assist economic development through the creation of a network of riding routes across the UK. BHS Media and Public Liaison Manager Wendy Peckham described the Three Downs Link as “a very valuable part of the campaign”.

A leaflet produced by the BHS in conjunction with The Countryside Agency, Hampshire County Council, West Berkshire Council and the South East England Development Agency, is available from any of the above organisations or from the BHS Access Department, Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warks CV8 2XZ. A Bed and Breakfast leaflet covering the route has also been produced by the BHS and can be obtained by sending an sae with a cheque for £2 (payable to The British Horse Society) to cover administration costs.