Riders now go where walkers fear to tread
HORSERIDERS have won their battle for an official bridleway from Upware to Wicken. On Saturday, they will celebrate their victory with a horse and cycle ride along the route from Reach Lode Lock to Upware. But the decision by a Government inspector to all
HORSERIDERS have won their battle for an official bridleway from Upware to Wicken.
On Saturday, they will celebrate their victory with a horse and cycle ride along the route from Reach Lode Lock to Upware.
But the decision by a Government inspector to allow the route to be opened to horse riders and cyclists, 10 years after the first application was lodged, has disappointed campaigners who wanted to keep it exclusively for walkers.
They feared that if the area were allowed to be used by horses their enjoyment of the countryside would be spoilt by horse dung and other mess creating a health risk.
Some villagers, boat owners and East Cambridgeshire Ramblers' Association took their fight to appeal after Cambridgeshire County Council put forward a plan to create the new bridleway.
Ramblers' Association secretary, Sue Summerside, said: "The way the inquiry was conducted was very fair. But one side or the other was going to be disappointed.
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"We are hoping there won't be lots of celebratory horses thundering along the bridleway past the boats.
"We don't really know what will happen now. We don't know how many horses will use the bridleway.
"We are disappointed but you can't win them all."
Supporter Joy Fuller, of Westmere Farm, Upware, who has used the route for the past 50 years, regularly riding her horse and walking her dog through the countryside, is delighted the new bridleway has been given the go-ahead.
She said: "I am absolutely over the moon. The whole point is that now the bridleway can be shared by everybody. It would have been a shame if it had just been kept as a footpath."
The celebratory ride will start at 11am from Burwell along Factory Road leading to Harrison's Drove and riding back to Upware.
Members of the Fenland Bridleways Association will join other riders, cyclists and walkers to celebrate the decision.