Off-road riding register unveiled

Riders looking for safe off-road riding in the English countryside should check out DEFRA’s latest edition of its Conservation Walk and Rides Register.

The free county-by-county guides feature more than 1,600 farmland walks and rides, including 350 new sites, such as a new permissive bridlepath at Steventon in Berkshire and a 1.5miles route at Kingsbridge in Devon.

The complete register is also available online at: http://countrywalks.defra.gov.uk

The website is searchable by area or county and gives users the option to specify if they only wish to find out about riding routes. Results include a simple map of the route, plus information about the type of wildlife, plants and scenery visitors can look forward to.

The routes have been made available to the public under the Countryside Stewardship and Environmentally Sensitive Areas Schemes, in which farmers and other land managers receive grants to allow walkers and riders access over private farmland.

Rural affairs minister Alun Michael says: “This is an example of partnership at its best. The government is helping farmers, and other land managers, to protect and enhance the landscape and historical features, and to encourage wildlife.

“At the same time we are encouraging the public to get out into the countryside to see and enjoy the outcome of their work.”

Visit: http://countrywalks.defra.gov.uk or contact Countryside Stewardship Branch, DEFRA, Area 4C, Ergon House, Horseferry Road, London, SW1P2AL for your free copy of the register.

A new-look website is expected to be unveiled in the autumn.

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