AN Ashington bridleway, which has been virtually impassable in wet weather for many years, has been transformed in a £23,000 project, opening up the route to horse riders,again, as well as cyclists and walkers.
Bridleway 2612, which leads from the top of Malthouse Lane in Ashington, through to the junction of Newhouse Lane and Muttons Lane, is more than 700 metres long but its condition had deterred people, particularly horse riders, from using it in the past.
An attractive route, lined with trees, it provides a link for horse riders wanting to take a circular route from either end of the bridlepath, using Rock Road or Warminghurst Lane and Park Lane.
The poor condition was reported by a West Sussex County Council’s access ranger, coupled with reports from Ashington Parish Council and the route was put on the routine maintenance cycle.
“Following consultation with the Sussex branch of the British Horse Society, acting on behalf of local riders, ditches and vegetation were cleared and a major repair of culverts was undertaken,” said a West Sussex County Council spokeswoman.
She added:” Water had been eroding the path, causing it to be flooded and impassable at times, especially during winter.”
The design and management of the works was carried out by West Sussex County Council Rights of Way Team, and the works undertaken by a county council approved contractor.
There are self-closing weighted gates at each end of the route.
Horse riders from Newhouse Farm stables, near one end of the bridlepath said they had been having difficulty in using the gates, which closed too quickly on horses.
The matter was reported to the county council which immediately sent out officers to make a site visit and inspect the situation recently.
The spokeswoman said: “The gates (as are all structures) are the responsibility of the landowner and they were installed once the surfacing had been completed by our contractor.
“The gates were supplied by the county council and are standard metal bridleway gates that have been provided to many other landowners and installed across the county with no problem.
“If there are any problems with the gates that need rectifying, then we will be in touch with the landowner to carry out these repairs or adjustments as soon as possible.”
Riders have reported an amazing improvement along the bridlepath, where horses would previously sink up to their hocks in mud.
Danielle Cork, 10, of Ashington took her Welsh Section bay mare Lola on to the bridlepath from Newhouse Farm Stables, with her mother Lisa helping with gates.
Her mother said: “If the gates could be adjusted it would make a big difference. We could do a nice circular ride from here.”