THE AIMS OF EAST ANGLIAN FARM RIDES

EAFR (East Anglian Farm Rides) was founded in Essex in January 1989 by a farmer Robert Bunting and businessman Nigel Dyson, who were concerned about the appalling number of accidents on the roads involving horses. The increase in traffic will see the situation becoming much worse unless something entirely innovative was done to alleviate the problems riders face. For this reason East Anglian Farm Rides was started.

East Anglian Farm Rides has now opened over 250 miles of off road tracks and headlands to horse riders on over 55 farms in Essex. For an small annual fee, horse riders are able to ride on ALL routes managed by E.A.F.R. The scheme has enabled horse riders to get off the increasingly busy roads and onto farm tracks which join up into interesting riding routes linking where possible existing Public Bridleways.

WE CONSTANTLY WORK TO ENCOURAGE MORE FARMERS TO JOIN THE SCHEME, WHICH GIVES THE FARMERS AN EXTRA INCOME, WHILST CONTROLLING RIDING ON THEIR PRIVATE FARMLAND.

Hacking in this country is enjoyed by millions of riders who use public bridle-paths and by-ways. The problem facing the majority of riders, however, is that in order to complete a safe circular ride they invariably have to use many dangerous roads to link each bridle-path. In many cases there are simply no bridle-paths at all within any easy ride of the stable, meaning riders have to ride on the busy roads or trespass on Private Farmland.

Long ago, public bridle-paths, and indeed roads, were simply a means of traversing from A to B. These paths were not used for pleasure purposes to the extent they are these days. County Council’s have the main responsibility for the surfaces of bridle-paths and are now beginning to allocate resources to maintain them. However, with all the pressures they are under to provide other social services, new bridle-paths are going to be low on the list of priorities.

There is, therefore, tremendous pressure now on farmers and landowners to respond to this demand for further access to the countryside. The problem is, who will pay for establishing new routes? Farmers must be compensated for giving up income producing land and for the obvious intrusion of privacy.

Many farmers have already responded to this demand by opening up horse routes on their land, but have found the initial costs of putting in gates and bridges, let alone cross country courses as an added attraction, are high. Then they have the problems of promoting the rides to local riders and managing the scheme. The fees they have to charge have been high. Riders don't seem to be flocking to join these independent schemes, firstly because of the cost and secondly, unless the route is very close to their stable, they will have to use horse transport. Finally, there is the feeling that routes on one farm quickly become boring.

The overall aims of EAFR are, therefore, to provide a regional network of safe off-road riding routes, with possible linking to existing public bridle-paths, and in areas where there are no bridle-paths establishing safe riding routes. 

REPLIES TO OUR CRITICS

Some people have said they are not happy about our scheme, because it takes the pressure off local authorities to improve public bridle-paths. We feel. on the contrary, that the same authorities will, in fact, be under more pressure, because more riders will be able to reach previously unreachable bridle-paths, since most toll rides link with the public network, meaning the Councils will have to maintain these Public Rights of Way Better. We have also been accused of being elitist, because we charge the rider for using our rides. But how many Leisure Centres (built at great public expense) can you get into without paying? It costs £5 for a swim, or a game of tennis, but we offer a weeks riding for only £3.
Finally, the public bridle-paths will suffer less damage overall, because instead of all the horses being restricted to what few bridle-paths there are, they will be spread over more miles of riding routes. 

LOCAL AGENTS AND ROUTE MARSHALS.

We are now starting to allocate local agents, who are responsible for initiating the scheme in their area. A local agent needs a good knowledge of their area in hacking terms and be willing to negotiate with farmers, opening up and marking routes and keeping in touch with riders in their locality. 

IF THERE IS NO ROUTE IN YOUR AREA, WHY NOT CONSIDER BECOMING A LOCAL AGENT?
Full assistance and guidance is given. All expenses are reimbursed and free licence once the scheme is established in your locality
 

farm rides anglia essex suffolk norfolkFRIENDS OF EAFR
If you find that there are no routes near you yet, we urge you to join as a 'FRIEND OF EAFR'. For just £5 a year we will send you our annual Newsletter and keep you informed, about new routes, and other events such as our Sponsored Rides.

Click here to become a  'FRIEND OF EAFR' 


FUTURE SUCCESS OF THE SCHEME IS UP TO YOU - THE RIDERS

Having worked on the scheme for almost 10 years, we sincerely believe that this is the ONLY way to improve our hacking in this country, on a regional basis. Not only do we need you send us names of farmers our Local Agents could contact, but the success of the scheme depends on how you use it. Many people ask how we 'police' the scheme:

  1. By each rider having to sign a legally binding Code of Conduct.
  2. Riders MUST wear his/hers individually numbered LICENSE TAGS at all times.
  3. The farmers and other riders will be watching you - carefully.
  4. Please look out for potential trouble. After all if you have paid for the pleasure of riding off the roads you won't want to risk losing a route or the entire network.
  5. Local Agents and Route Marshals will also keep a watchful eye they especially have put a lot of time and effort in, to get their routes.
  6. Anyone found abusing routes or lending and armband will lose the right to his or her licence and forfeit the fees.

Finally we would like to say a very big thank you to all farmers and landowners who agreed to open up routes over the years. We have been encouraged by their response and will now endeavour the scheme both in areas already running and in totally new areas. 

IF THERE IS ANY FURTHER INFORMATION YOU WOULD LIKE OR NEED ANY ADVICE ON THE POINTS MADE ABOVE OR WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN AGENT PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT:
 

Office  01206 251609

DAY TIME - 07793057658

 

 

IF THERE IS NO ROUTE IN YOUR AREA, WHY NOT CONSIDER BECOMING A LOCAL AGENT?
Full assistance and guidance is given. All expenses are reimbursed and a free licence is provided once the scheme is established in your locality. We are now starting to allocate local agents, who are responsible for initiating the scheme in their area. A local agent needs a good knowledge of their area in hacking terms and be willing to negotiate with farmers, opening up and marking routes and keeping in touch with riders in their locality.