The Forest of Dean Greenways Project was officially opened on Thursday 22nd August by Heather Clatworthy, Senior Executive, Access and Rights of Way Department at the British Horse Society, along with representatives of the many local agencies who contributed to its successful development.
Jenny Carling, Chair of the Forest of Dean and District Horse Riders’ and Carriage Drivers’ Association, commented: “I would like to thank the Forest of Dean Local Action Group and the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust who provided the grant aid that enabled this project to be taken forward. We are also indebted to the staff of the Forestry Commission and the Gloucestershire County Council’s Public Rights of Way team who have helped us every step of the way.”
Jenny Carling (left ) with Heather Clatworthy at the launch.
Part of the new route through The Plantation.
The construction of the Dymock Greenway (Queens Wood and Hay Wood) has now been completed, subject to a final route inspection once the groundworks have settled down. The new entrances and forest tracks are already showing signs of increased use by horse riders, cyclists and walkers. These woods are now linked by the upgraded track which leads from Swagwater Lane to the M50 underpass.
Work began in early May on the Dymock Greenway, cutting back side and overhead growth on several Forestry Commission Cat One tracks in Queens Wood and Hay Wood.
We plan to move on upgrading the entrance to Hope Wood and the creation of our third new Greenway at the end of May / early June.
Some of the repairs that are needed in Queens Wood.
The new ride through The Plantation.
March – April 2013
Construction of the Hope Wood and Blakeney Greenways begins.
The large-scale groundworks needed for the construction of the Huntley Greenway have finished and the route is already in use. Nearly 3km of new bridleways have been established in Huntley Woods and The Plantation, linking up a number of previously disjointed or neglected bridleways.
The legal agreement with the Forestry Commission is signed, establishing 21-year Permissive Routes through Queens Wood, Hay Wood, Hope Wood, Blakeney and Ruspidge.
The British Horse Society agrees to promote the Forest of Dean Greenways nationally, via its EMAGIN website (Equestrian Mapping and Geographical Information Network) which will enable local businesses and service providers to promote their offers alongside the maps.
Contractors are appointed and the construction of all four routes commences, beginning with the Huntley Woods and Dymock Forest Greenways.
A second public consultation meeting is held in Mitcheldean Community Centre.
July to September 2012
Project placed on hold for six weeks whilst legal issues regarding the draft agreement between FODADHRACDA and the Forestry Commission are successfully resolved.
A public engagement and consultation report was submitted to the Local Action Group, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Environmental Trust and the Forestry Commission. Consultation with West Dean Parish Council and Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourist Association took place.
A public consultation event is held at the Mitcheldean Community Centre and attracted many positive contributions from local people regarding the route development.
Detailed route mapping commences for all sections of the route, including liaison with private landowners, farmers, the Forestry Commission, Gloucestershire County Council PROW team and the Forest of Dean District Council.
A revised project was approved and funded by the Forest of Dean Local Action Group (£75,070) and the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust (£15,000), providing a combined total budget of £90,570, just under half of the initial project target as detailed in the Feasibility Study.
The Forest of Dean and District Horse Riders’ and Carriage Drivers’ Association won funding for a feasibility study to ‘investigate the extent to which the currently fragmented Higher Rights of Way in the Forest of Dean District could be improved to the benefit of walkers, cyclists, horse riders and, where possible, carriage drivers’.