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Countdown to 2026

The BHS is committed to protecting and preserving the equestrian off-road network. However, there’s only so much we and our volunteers can do – we need your help! Working together we can ensure that routes used by horses in the past are accurately recorded and reinstated as safe off-road routes to ride and carriage drive according to the evidence.

To help you to help us save these routes, we’ve created a toolkit detailing how to go about getting them recorded to ensure that they won’t be lost after 2026.

2026: Why is it important?

In 2000, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act was introduced in England and Wales. Section 53 of the Act provides for a cut-off date in 2026, which means that many historic routes of use to horse riders and carriage drivers will be extinguished if they are not formally recorded as a bridleway or restricted byway.

These unrecorded routes actually exist in law but have been temporarily lost to the public and are in danger of having their rights extinguished. Our aim is to safeguard them for public use so that equestrians today and in the future have safe off-road routes to ride and carriage drive on.

Just because you currently ride on a route doesn’t mean it’s recorded and protected from extinguishment. That’s a frightening thought as there are some areas with very few recorded routes and 2026 is closer than you think – we’re already more than half way there.

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