Horse riders in Kent say council’s actions have made riding unsafe

  • Horse riders are campaigning to remove posts set up to stop them from using a footpath.

    Since a track that runs alongside Foal Farm Animal Sanctuary in Biggin Hill, Kent, was blocked off last November, riders have been forced to use busy A-roads, which they say are too dangerous for their animals.

    The Biggin Hill Riders Group wants Bromley Council to upgrade the path — which has been used by riders for decades — to become a bridleway. The group claims that posts were put up overnight and that no one — not even the landowner — was consulted about the installation.

    Spokesman Jean Seager says that no one who lives in the area — even non-riders — agrees with the decision, and she has written to the Local Government Ombudsman about it.

    She said: “It is totally inexplicable why these posts were put up. No one had complained about riders using the path.

    “The official reason the council gave was that it was protecting the surface from getting muddy. But what do they expect? It’s a track in the middle of the countryside: they get muddy.”

    She added that horses being forced to used busy A-roads instead “creates a very serious road safety issue”.

    “If traffic is going too fast, horses get spooked — and then you could have a rider being thrown off and breaking their neck.

    “And it is not good for horses to use tarmac roads because they are slippery and cars are forced to brake suddenly when they see a horse. It won’t be long before there is an accident.”

    The group has learned that the council has agreed to discuss the matter at a date to be set.

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