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Bridleway

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Bridleway

This article is about trails. For other uses, see Bridle path (disambiguation).

A bridle path, also bridleway, equestrian trail, horse riding path, bridle road, or horse trail, is a thoroughfare originally made for human transport on horses. In some areas bridle paths developed as transport routes where the terrain was so steep that the route was impassable by wheeled wagons and vehicles.[1]

In present day usage they can serve a wider range of uses, including equestrians, hikers and walkers,[2] and cyclists. The laws relating to allowable uses vary from country to country.[3][4]

In industrialized countries, bridle paths are now primarily used for recreation. However, they are still important transportation routes in other areas. For example, they are the main method of traveling to mountain villages in Lesotho.[5]

Bridleways in the United Kingdom

England and Wales

In England and Wales a public bridleway is a legally protected right of way over privately owned land, over which the public has the right to travel on horseback or leading a horse, with or without a right to drive animals of any description along the way. The public also has the right to travel on foot on public bridleways. The public is permitted to ride bicycles on public bridleways, but that right is not absolute because the law provides that it "shall not create any obligation to facilitate the use of the bridleway by cyclists".[6]

Public bridleways are shown as long green dashes on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps, or long pink dashes on 1:50,000 maps. In addition, permissive bridleways are shown as dashed orange lines on the 1:25,000 maps where there is no statutory right of way but where the landowner permits use, for the time being, as a bridleway.

A public bridleway is sometimes waymarked using a blue arrow on a metal or plastic disc or by blue paint dots on posts and trees.

Scotland

In Scotland there is no legal distinction between footpaths and bridleways, though it is generally accepted that horseriders (and cyclists) may follow rights of way with suitable surfaces.

See also

References

  • National Federation of Bridleway Association: article on bridleway usage by motorists (2004)
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