Riders turn out in fight to save popular off-road routes

Riders and pedestrians turned out en masse in a bid to save a popular off-road riding location from being turned into a quarry.

The Campaigners Against Two Silica Sites (CATTS) group launched the #sorrynoquarry campaign in protest to two quarries proposed by Norfolk County Council, at Shouldham Warren and Marham in Norfolk.

Jenny Simpson, of Brook Farm Liveries in Shouldham, told H&H 10 riders on horseback and 50 on foot attended a peaceful gathering in protest to the quarry at Shouldham Warren on Saturday (26 October) to back the CATTS campaign.

“The Warren is a popular place for riders with many travelling from outlying areas to enjoy the wonderful scenery. It’s one of the few places in this part of Norfolk where riders can meet and ride together without worrying about having to navigate busy roads,” she said.

“This is a beautiful place, full of wildlife and popular with riders, walkers, cyclists and families. It provides safe off-road riding for so many and it is unfathomable that this ancient woodland environment is under threat from the Norfolk County Council mineral and waste plan, particularly given the climate crisis we now face.

Jenny said riders wanted to add their voices to the campaign.

“We are standing together to say ‘sorry no quarry’,” she said. “At a time where road accidents involving horses and riders are on the rise, protecting safe off-road public access spaces such as the Warren is so important.

“The fact that so many people came despite the awful weather just goes to prove how strongly we feel about preserving this place for the future.”

Owner Sally McCall, who attended, said: “I came because the Warren is an amazing place of natural beauty where I feel safe to ride my young horse without the danger of riding on the roads with fast traffic and lorries.”

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The deadline for lodging objections to the quarry proposal at Shouldham Warren is 5pm tomorrow (30 October).

Jenny said it is not too late to get involved.

“There is an online petition, an electronic objection form and several letter templates on the CATSS website along with lots more information,” she said.

Cllr Andy Grant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for environment and waste, said: “I encourage anyone who is interested to carefully read the consultation documents, and make their comments known, all of which can be done online.

“This is the second round of consultation in this process to update our minerals and waste local plan. Following feedback we received in the first round of consultation, a number of changes to the draft  document were made, including the removal of sites in the parishes of Holt, Feltwell, Quidenham, Shouldham and Marham and reducing the size of the proposed area of search at Shouldham and Marham.”

The council’s full statement on the plan consultation can be found on its website.

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