The Sandwell Valley Trail is the third equestrian project hoping to win a share of the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks Fund.

The trail has joined two other equine projects on a final shortlist of six projects facing a public vote in the Living Landmarks: The People’s Millions competition in December (news, 27 September).

The trail, which is in the West Midlands, is entering the competition as part of the £50m A Million People — The Black Country as an Urban Park Project.

The Sandwell Valley Trail is hoping to win a share of the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks Fund

“Sandwell Valley Park is 2,500 acres of greenbelt on the West Bromwich/Birmingham border,” said John Blyth, chairman of the Sandwell Valley Trail group. “We already have bridleways that are visited by 82 riders per day.”

But Mr Blyth said they hope to fund two further projects, worth £12m, to open up the area even more to riders and other users.

One will provide a £4m “green bridge” with a rider-safe entrance to the park on the Birmingham side, where the green space runs close to the busy Birmingham expressway.
The other project will add more miles of bridleway, linking the park to the centres of Walsall and West Bromwich, and will improve the existing trails.

“It’s an absolutely massive bid and will be fabulous for riders in the Black Country,” said Mr Blyth.

All six projects, including the Sherwood: The Living Legend project to create 95km of new routes in Sherwood Forest and Bridge the Gap — a plan to bring an old military bridge in Yorkshire, into use for riders — will go before an ITV public vote in December.

www.thepeoples50million.org.uk

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (25 October, ’07)