The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority has been given a national award by The British Horse Society for its work in opening up horse riding routes.
The Authority was presented with the Access Award at a ceremony in London last week, by actor Martin Clunes – the Society’s President.
Each year The British Horse Society (BHS) holds an awards ceremony to recognise organisations and individuals which have done the most for the equestrian world.
The Authority scooped the award as ‘The National Park most active in opening up equestrian routes’. There are 15 National Parks in the UK.
Earlier in the year, the National Park Authority opened up eight miles of sign-posted off-road tracks for horse riders, walkers and cyclists in Pantmaenog Forest, in North Pembrokeshire. The Park Authority built a new car park at the forestry entrance with dedicated horse box spaces, and it will manage the routes throughout the year.
In partnership with the MOD, the Authority also opened the 10km Castlemartin Range Trail in the south of the National Park. This multi-user route is also open to walkers and cyclists.
One of the Authority’s Directors Jane Gibson, receiving the award last week, said: “We are thrilled to receive this award and we owe it in part to the landowners – Mr and Mrs Holding and the MoD – who enabled us to open up these tracks in the National Park.
“By opening up these routes we are realising the Park’s potential for enabling horseriders – along with walkers and cyclists – to enjoy parts of the National Park where previously there was limited equestrian access.
“We know that Riding Clubs affiliated to The British Horse Society are already using the facilities and are benefitting from this wonderful off-road riding with fabulous scenery too.”
BHS Chairman, Dr Phil Wadey, said: “We are fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers within the Society, and an uncountable number of individuals and organisations beyond the BHS, who work so hard for the good of all equestrians.
“Most of their work goes unremarked, although certainly not unnoticed, year after year. But it is good, every so often, to celebrate publicly the achievements of a small but representative sample whose efforts have unquestionably earned for them their moment of glory in the spotlight.”
The Pantmaenog project was funded partly by a grant from the Welsh Government under the Rights of Way Improvement Plan funding programme, and the routes were opened as a result of an agreement with the landowners, Mr and Mrs Holding.
Find out more about access opportunities in the National Park online at www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk