Riders call for action on Wisbech St Mary bridleway

Steve Barclay with Kerys Jordan
Steve Barclay with Kerys Jordan

Riders and villagers’ calls for an overgrown Wisbech St Mary bridleway to be cut have been heard.

The path, Bridleway 12, which runs below the river bank at Guyhirn, had become dangerous due to overgrown vegetation, broken down fence wire and obscured manhole covers.

Keen horsewoman Kerys Jordan had enlisted the help of Fenland MP Steve Barclay after being informed by Cambridgeshire County Council that it was not due to be cut until next month.

Now Mr Barclay has heard from the county council that the bridleway will be cut.

Jonathan Clarke, network manager, has agreed the bridleway was to be cut last week and will receive another next month, with an optional cut in October.

He has promised next year it will be cut in May and July, meaning it should be usable during the spring months.

Mrs Jordan said: “It is a lovely ride out and as we only have to ride on a road for about a mile it is safe. But we were unable to enjoy it, which is extremely frustrating.

““This is fantastic news. I can’t wait to be able to enjoy hacks out along the bridleway, which is the only one in the village.”

Mr Barclay, who is campaigning to get greater public access to the area’s open countryside, agreed action was needed.

He said: “While we were looking at the overgrown bridleway a workman was busy cutting the river bank above for the Environment Agency.

“It would make sense if there was some co-ordination between the Environment Agency and the county council so they could share the cost of the cutter. It would only take a little while longer for the workman to cut the bridleway.

“I want to see more of this area’s countryside opened up. I am also keen to see more publicity for our existing footpaths and bridleways, including better signposting and maps so people know where they can have access.”

Mr Barclay is also looking at a scheme operated in other areas known as Toll Rides, where horse riders pay a subscription to landowners to allow them access over droves and designated areas of their land.

He said: “We have been trying to find ways to incentivise landowners to be more willing to allow the public access over their land.

“Toll Rides could be a potential solution as it will give them an income, which would make it worth their while.”

Mr Barclay plans to discuss the idea with the National Farmers’ Union to see if such a scheme would be acceptable in this area.

l What’s your view? You can email your thoughts to letters@fenlandcitizen.co.uk