Where to Ride?
Natural England has permissive bridleway schemes covering the UK. To see a full list covering "Search for a Walk or Ride", please click here. It is most important that you check the expiry date of the Permissive Path to make sure it is still open for you to ride.
Other Places to Ride. Included are details of current HLS, click on the name to get more information, along with some helpful links to some Country Parks and The Midshires Way. Some more helpful places can be found on our Links page. If you need to know how to Calculate a Grid Reference, this will link will take you to a great website that tells you how to.
Listed below are some Country Parks that allow horse riders. If you know of any other Parks that are not listed that you think we should add, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org giving as much information as possible.
Longer Distance Rides
Rides that extend to outside of the "Leicestershire & Rutland" County Borders
Midshires Way PDF
Q: What is the difference between a Footpath, a Bridleway and a Byway?
A: The four kinds of Public Rights of Way, plus another set of tracks.
All land has an owner. Most rural public rights of way run over farmland, owned by a farmer. The farmer gets his living from the land, so farmland needs to be respected just like any workshop. However, he has no right to close a route without permission from the Highway Authority (county and city councils) as these are Queen’s Highways, just like roads.
The 4 Public Rights of Way (PRoW) are:
• Footpaths– open to walkers only. You can expect stiles or kissing gates. So, although the disabled in buggies are allowed on all PRoW, they may not be able to use footpaths.
• Bridleways– open to walkers, ridden or led horses and, since a 1968 Act, cyclists as long as they give way to walkers and riders. You can expect bridle gates (5ft / 1.5m minimum of clear space between gateposts) or wider field gates.
• Restricted Byways– as for bridleways and also driven carriages. Not open to motors. You would expect any gates to be field gates.
• Byways Open to All Traffic– as above but also open to motors. But mainly used as footpaths or bridleways (when they were designated as BOATs). Any gates would be field gates.
Additionally, you can usually ride or drive on Other Routes with Public Access, which are mainly old roads which have not been tarmacadamed. Some are bits of tarmacadamed roads that have been ‘downgraded’ as a result of previous road schemes e g big laybys. You may meet gates on ORPAs.
Rutland County Council has very few byways and only one (tarmacadamed) ORPA. ORPAs are fairly common in Leicestershire, especially short routes on the edge of villages.
All the above are shown on OS – Ordnance Survey - maps by different symbols.
Recreational Routes on OS (including National Trails) can only be used according to the underlying rights so horses are not allowed on most of these.
There may be additional riding routes in country parks, on cycle routes or in other locations.
Gates – the farmer is ultimately responsible for these, as gates are allowed to obstruct highways for control of stock. The presence or absence of gates usually depends on the type of farming and/or the need for security. There is no law requiring them to be open-able from horseback, but any obstruction should be as minimal as possible.
Surfaces - farmers must restore the surface of a ploughed cross-field footpath or bridleway within 14 days of first ploughing and 24 hours of any subsequent disturbance. They must not plough field-edge footpaths or bridleways or any byway or ORPA. The highway authority is responsible for surfaces but only so far as making it fit for “the traffic of the neighbourhood” at the status of the Right of Way. This is usually confined to mowing and, where necessary, removing invasive shrubs - hawthorn, blackthorn etc. A farmer who damages a surface with his machinery is expected to restore it to an acceptable condition. There is no “standard” for unsealed surfaces other than that they should not be foundrous i.e. could bring a horse to its knees.
Widths – apart from pinch points such as gateways or bridges, in the absence of a width recorded in the Statement accompanying the Definitive Map, bridleways must, on arable land, be provided with a minimum width of 2 metres cross-field and 3 metres if hedge-side. On grassland there is no minimum width but users must keep to the line of the path. If a second fence is being added to a path 5 metres width is now requested for multi-user routes. Widths along a path vary so it would be complicated to provide this information routinely. Where PRoW and ORPAs run between ditches or hedges the full width should be available but often isn’t as bushes/weeds are allowed to take over.
Hedges and trees restricting the width. The plants themselves are the property of the relevant landowner and it is their duty to remove the obstructions. Path users can remove obstructive greenery, but only with something they regularly carry with them and must not take the ‘brash’ away from the site.
Problems are usually best dealt with by reporting them to the relevant highway authority – in our case Leicestershire and Rutland County Councils or Leicester City – using their general complaints system, with a precise location and including photos if you have them. Each PRoW has a number (or name in Leicester) which can be found from the map of PRoW on their websites by clicking on the line of the path.
You should find all the information you need in the various sections of this website. If you feel something is missing, please get in touch with us at email@example.com. To download your free Adobe PDF Reader please Click Here.