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Campaign for forgotten bridleway

Riders are campaigning to reopen an overgrown riding track from Liverpool to Manchester

The Leigh, Atherton, Astley and Tyldesley Bridleways Association is campaigning for a long forgotten riding track along the A580 “East Lancashire Road” to be cleared and re-opened to horse riders.

The horse track was set up when the A580 was built in 1936, according to local residents, and is screened from the road by treesand hedges.

Brenda Gaskell, a member of the TAAT Bridleways Association, says horse dealers and farmers traditionally used the route to drive or ride Irish horses from the Liverpool docks to farms in the area.

“I used to ride along the grass verge beside the dual carriageway as a child until I was told about the horse track by a local farmer,” says Brenda. “It was great to be shielded from the traffic by the hedgerow.

“I gave up riding in 1983 due to the birth of my twin daughters. When I started riding again just two years later, the track was completely overgrown and blocked with flytipping in many places.”

Long term campaign

Brenda has been campaigning for the route to be cleared and recognised as a bridleway ever since but to no avail.

The local council seems to be more pro-cycles than horses, despite many farms in the area providing stabling and livery services to supplement their income,” she says.

“Many of the farm tracks exit onto the A580 leaving riders no choice but to negotiate the heavy traffic. Most of the grass verge is now taken up by a cyclepath, which riders are not allowed to use, so the riding track is needed more than ever.”

However, before the Highways Agency and local council will be consider any official change of access, Brenda must prove the right of way existed and was previously used horses.

“I am looking for historical evidence such as plans, photographs and statements that the route was used regularly by horses so I can present a strong case to the local council,” says Brenda.

“Unless we act now, riders will find their local bridleways and byways disappearing forever.”

If you think you can help, please contact Brenda on (tel: 01942 677323).

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