The Trails Trust
the trails trust
Creating multi-user public rights of way
The Trails Trust is committed to creating multi-user paths and to ensuring that all cycle paths in England and Wales are available to all vulnerable non-motorised users. We believe that Councils and Government should use public money to benefit the maximum number of user groups in line with Best Value, and not restrict use to individual user groups. Since 2003 we have succeeded in opening the majority of cycle paths in both Somerset and B&NES Council areas to equestrians. Previously these were only for cyclists and pedestrians. As part of our campaign, we have met with successive Ministers responsible for Rural Affairs, Jim Knight MP, Jonathan Shaw MP and Jane Kennedy MP, asking for legislation to end discrimination against equestrians on cycle paths. All three have been openly supportive of this aim. However, the constant change of Ministers has negated any progress on legislation.

We understand that through the offices of Jim Knight MP, the transport department has recently discussed our publication ‘The Case for Inclusive Use’, and has agreed that cycle paths should be open to equestrians ‘wherever possible’. Unfortunately, ‘wherever possible’ has proved to be a let-out clause for Councils who still discriminate against minority user groups. This underlines the fact that legislation is the only remedy. The Government previously legislated for pedestrians to have legal access to all cycle paths and there is no reason not to extend this right to equestrians by statute. We look forward to a General Election after which we shall be looking for Ministerial support for legislation to create equal non-motorised access rights on all cycle paths in England and Wales, whichever party is in place. We ask all Trails Trust members and friends to support our campaign to create a national, linking multi-user network of bridleways (permanent) and cycle paths (permissive) for the benefit of us all. Information on local area multi-user cycle paths can be found on the Members' route information pages.