THE new Forest of Dean Greenways will enable horse riders, carriage drivers, walkers, and cyclists to explore some 30 miles of interconnected woodland tracks in a stunning area of outstanding natural beauty.

With the speed and volume of traffic on roads being at an alltime high, it has never been so important for horse riders and carriage drivers to have access to safe off-road routes.

The British Horse Society works passionately to protect and extend the rights of way network and the charity is delighted with this latest success.

Heather Clatworthy, BHS senior executive for access, said: “This invaluable network of routes has come to fruition thanks to a local community initiative led by a group of unpaid volunteers from the Forest of Dean and District Horse Riders and Carriage Drivers Association.

“The completion of these routes is due to the hard work and determination of a large team of fantastic volunteers, especially chairman Jenny Carling. Jenny began her campaign for horse riders and local people to gain better access to the beautiful countryside of Gloucestershire as far back as 2005. Since then she and her team have overcome every obstacle and challenge, including securing more than £100,000 in funding.”

The network of trails comprises four individual Greenway routes linked by quiet country lanes to local towns, villages, tourist attractions, hotels, pubs, equestrian centres and rural businesses.

Records show that in Gloucestershire there are more than 16,500 horses representing an investment of more than £52 million into the local economy every year.

The Forest of Dean Greenways will help not only to secure that investment but to add to it by attracting visiting horse riders and carriage drivers.