An innovative underpass built specifically for horseriders under a busy trunk road has been officially opened in Somerset
Riders in Somerset will be able to hack in safety thanks to a new construction spearheaded by Somerset County Council.
The unique innovation is a new underpass in the Mendips which runs under the A361 at the Torr Works Quarry. It is believed to be the first bridleway underpass to be built onan existing trunk road in the country.
The county council’s rights of way manager Rowena Smith said that the scheme had been the result of co-operation involving the Mendip Bridleways and Byways Association and the Foster Yeoman company, whose land the bridleway runs past and who has funded the construction of the underpass.
The executive board member with responsibility for Rights of Way, Cllr Tim Carroll said that the scheme, which has been constructed by the county council’s highways agent Atkins, was a “significant achievement”.
“This underpass not only represents a unique and valuable facility for riders in this area, but helps to resolve historic difficulties in terms of rights of way in this area,” he said.
“We are grateful to Foster Yeoman for their valuable support and the help and assistance given to us by the Mendip Bridleways and Byways Association in helping to bring this scheme to fruition.
“The new underpass, together with further bridleway dedications south of the A361 will provide an extensive network of paths linking Wanstrow and Cranmore with Downhead, Asham Wood and Bulls Green and its construction will also provide an almost complete circle of bridleways around the quarry itself.”
Cllr Gloria Cawood, the local county councillor for the area, who has personally been involved in the scheme, said that the project would also provide a boost to help regenerate the rural economy.
“Horse riding and walking in this area are extremely popular pastimes for local residents and visitors alike, but has proved hazardous given the busy, and often dangerous flow of traffic along the A361.
“This underpass will prove to be a great asset for those riders and walkers and I am sure will also help to encourage outdoor activity and the regeneration of this rural area.”
A group of 20 horse riders were the first to use the new underpass after it was officially opened by Angela Yeoman from Foster Yeoman.
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