Riders call to have Wisbech St Mary Bridleway cut

Steve Barclay with Kerys Jordan
Steve Barclay with Kerys Jordan
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Riders and villageres have been calling for an overgrown Wisbech St Mary bridleway to be cut.

The path, Bridleway 12, which runs below the river bank at Guyhirn, is popular with riders.

But it has become dangerous due to overgrown vegetation, broken down fence wire and obscured manhole covers.

Keen horsewoman Kerys Jordan has 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.

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 are unable to enjoy it at the moment, which is extremely frustrating. This is the time of year we look forward to being able to ride out in the nice weather.”

She said a local farmer had offered to cut the track but a locked gate meant he was unable to access it and now the vegetation is so overgrown it will need more work to bring it back to a useable standard.

Mrs Jordan said: “It seems a false economy to me. If it had been cut it would have been quite a quick and simple job. Now it is going to need strimming before they can get a cutter down there, which is bound to be more expensive,”

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 and how it could be implemented.”