Another horsey rant!
Been using a wee mile long old school single track link trail for the last couple winters that has stood the test of time as the only track in Scotland that isn't/wasn't a quagmire. Mainly due to the fact that it seems to be missed by the local bikers. The other week i decided to get the mattock and the bushman out and clear all the fallen trees and low hanging branches to make progress easier and quicker. The local dogwalkers commenting on how much easier it was for them also. Win win. Until the local horsey brigade moved in. Someone must have seen me clearing the trail, and thought they'd give it a go on Dobbin (they'd never get near it on a nag before I cleared it). Two days later, the trail is dug up with hoofprints and covered in horse shit. Within a fortnight the track is a complete mess and no pleasure for anyone - bearing in mind it was only a foot wide. Are the horsey mob not content that they've ruined every track and path in the area already, that they thought they'd feck up this one also? Not wanting to tar all with the same brush here, but I have to say, there's few more arrogant than a lot of the jockeys round this way!
It's worth having a read of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
The legislation in Scotland that allows us to have access to roam the land also states that we do so in a responsible manner.
Churning up paths into mud baths by using them in damp conditions is mentioned as something that is to be avoided.
Specific horse riding link:
I don't know if these are core paths that are getting extensively damaged in your area but it may be worth having a chat with the local Countryside Ranger to highlight the issue and see if anything can be done.
I wish folks had more pride and took care of the land we live on. I regularly go out to clean up discarded mess that people have left.
Last week I litter tidied along a two mile stretch of road near where I stay. I picked up a dozen black bin bags full of discarded litter plus a lot of other waste. I had my estate car jammed full twice when I picked up all the junk to take it to be properly disposed of.
This week I will be calling BT to challenge them on why their contractors feel it is acceptable to throw unused ducting sections and broken rodding equipment down the embankment rather than take it back to the depot...
I know the feeling - there are a couple of trails I know that had horse proof gates on them which got changed to bridle gates post land reform - result = path becomes unuseable for most of the year. I try to console myself that this is the quid pro quo for the generally excellent access we have thanks to land reform but it seems to be the case that horse riders don't really care about how much damage they do and will ride trials year round without bothering. I'm not say we are perfect in that regard but mountain bikers and their steeds tend not to weigh 300kg or more!
Good point Womble regarding the countryside ranger, I'll look up the number and get on it. Especially after reading the link on the access 'rules'. Give way to others it says, jeezo, even when I stop and pull off the track to let them past, I get a look that says "imagine having the audacity to be here in the first place". The worst thing is, that there is often a dry line around muddy sections which allows walkers/cyclists to pass, but the horse riders then use that line as well and the whole track then becomes a quagmire - EVOSTICK! My last option is I'm going back up with the bushman to cut a couple trees over the track to allow walkers and bikes under, but block horses 'til they get pissed off turning the nags around and give up.