Calling all riders! National Park needs your help

Horse riders

Horse riders are being called upon to help with the creation of a new series of self-guided trails.

The call to action comes as the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is developing handy downloadable guides that will include some of the best circular routes across Sussex and Hampshire.

The Authority is working with the British Horse Society to produce the guides – and now needs feedback from horse riders.

The Authority is keen to hear from riders about where they like to ride and what their favourite routes are.

Allison Thorpe, who leads on access and recreation for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “The National Park offers some of the best lowland riding opportunities in the UK and we’re really excited to be developing this new series of self-guided trails.

“We’re keen to get all the information we can from people who regularly ride in the South Downs. This will help us to test out the routes, take photographs and produce the trail guides.

“Our focus is on producing easy-to-understand guides that offer something for all riders, of all abilities, to enjoy – whether it’s a gentle trot or a long hack up on the Downs. The guides will be crammed with information and tips to help horse riders have a great day out in the National Park.

“With 1200km of bridleways in the South Downs we’re keen to help riders find the safest and most enjoyable rides.

“We hope to hear from as many horse riders as possible.”

The team is looking for circular trails of between 5 and 10 miles, but shorter routes will also be considered. The online resources will be available to download, print and share with fellow equestrians

Mark Weston, Director of Access, at the British Horse Society, said: “The British Horse Society works to promote off-road networks and encourage people to get out and explore the great outdoors. We urge anyone who has a favourite route to share it with the SDNPA so that others can enjoy it for years to come.”

If you’d like to recommend a route, please send Allison the following details:

· Start point – ideally with horsebox parking. See the SDNPA Horsebox Parking guide for up-to-date information.

· The length of ride.

· A short description of the route and a simple map showing the route.

Initially, Allison is keen to hear from riders who use the following areas, but routes in other areas are also welcomed:

· Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hampshire

· Harting Down, West Sussex

· Heyshott Common, West Sussex

· Eartham Woods, West Sussex

· Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex

· East Dean, East Sussex.

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