Concerns halt new bridleway

Parents and children at the entrance to the woods.

Parents and children at the entrance to the woods. - Credit: Archant

THE creation of a new bridleway in Clevedon has been halted after concerns were raised about the safety of children in the area.

North Somerset Council has cleared a pathway through woodland linking Thackeray Road and Highdale Road for horse riders to use.

However, parents with children attending the nearby St Nicholas Chantry Primary School raised concerns that horses using the path could threaten their children’s safety when they walk through the area to and from school.

Concerns were also raised by North Somerset councillor John Norton-Sealey and Clevedon town councillor Jane Geldart.

North Somerset Council had intended to create the bridleway for a 12-month trial period, during which it would hold a consultation.

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The authority has now decided to halt the path’s creation and consult on the idea before it goes any further.

Father-of-two Matt Croughan, who has been in contact with the unitary authority over the issue, said: “The path is already there and has more or less been completed. It is almost an open invite for it to be used now.

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“The path was created because horse riders wouldn’t stop using the woodland in the first place.

“I and other parents don’t want the council to continue to spend money but we do think it should now be blocked off.

“I am trying to find out how its use can be enforced.

“I don’t have anything against horses or horse riders I just don’t understand why they want to use this small stretch of woodland which is in the middle of a town.”

A lack of bridle paths in and around Clevedon has long been an issue for horse riders which they say forces them to have to ride on roads where they can encounter abuse from drivers.

Debbie McHugh, who keeps her horse in Clevedon and has campaigned for more bridleways in the area, said: “The main reason we like to use this woodland is to get from the bottom to the top of Clevedon without going on main roads.

“It is a steep, stony path which the horses can only walk up so I don’t know how there could be an accident.

“We also avoid the tarmac path where there is a sign saying no horse riding and go up the rocky path.”

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