We may be profit-making equestrian retailers based here in Somerset, but we’re not all about making money! While we earn a living by supplying horses and their owners with their needs, we’re committed horsey people ourselves so we have a philosophy of giving back to the local equestrian community who support our business.
One of the causes most close to our hearts is the MBBA … the Mendip Bridleways & Byways Association, which works closely with the BHS (British Horse Society).
This very active and important organisation is engaged in keeping our bridleways clear and usable, and opening up new ones long forgotten, so we can enjoy country rides away from those hazardous roads.
We support the MBBA by paying to advertise in their newsletters, and we help where we can to clear bridleways. This blog post, which is aimed at telling you how the MBBA works, is free of any advertising on behalf of ourselves, as a commitment to show you we are serious in our support of this worthy cause.
About Somerset Bridleways
It’s sad to say that as a rural county Somerset is poor in bridleways, which is a matter of concern to us because it means that many are riding on roads. Even country roads are dangerous to easily spooked riders and their horses. There are, statistically, 602 miles of bridleways in the county, but many of these are dead ends and most of the miles mentioned are on Exmoor and the Quantock Hills.
The few that are usable are often under-maintained, choked with weeds and overgrowth. Footpaths in the region are well used and therefore well maintained, but our bridleways are few and far between.
The MBBA is trying to keep what IS available accessible to all, which is an often thankless task despite the many events and clearance projects it hosts. At least it has the support of Royalty … Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, came to witness a recent project courtesy of the BHS.
Funding is, of course, an issue even through the MBBA relies a great deal on volunteers. Nevertheless the organisation managed earlier this year to clear the Roemead Lane bridleway at Binegar, and the Southwood Bridleway at Lydford, which was heavily overgrown, and work is ongoing.
The MBBA’s stated aims are as follows:
“MBBA’s principal purpose is to increase the number of safe, off-road routes available to horse-riders, carriage-drivers and cyclists across Mendip. In addition to providing a range of membership services the MBBA’s constitution sets out its corporate objects as being:
a. To protect and preserve the character and status of Mendip’s green ways for the safe use and enjoyment of the widest number of supported users.
b. To advertise the existence of the tracks, droves and other ridden paths and to seek to develop them into linking and circular routes for horse-riders, cyclists and carriage-drivers.
c. To promote horse-riding, cycling and carriage-driving as safe and healthy leisure activities for all ages and backgrounds."
How you can Help
Here are some ways you can assist the MBBA’s endeavours:
· Join the MBBA - the annual subscription is £15.00, plus £2.00 for each additional family member who would like to be in the association.
· Attend the MBBA events which include fun rides.
· Volunteer for the MBBA … there are many options where you can help, from admin to “gardening” on the trails to various forms of fund-raising activities.
For more information about the MBBA you can contact the chairman or secretary via email email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the website at mbba.org.uk or write to MBBA, PO Box 3573, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 4XN.
Let’s ride safe, off road in our beautiful countryside! Support the MBBA to make that happen in our local area. If you’d like to know more about opportunities for helping local bridleway initiatives speak to us at totally-tack.co.uk … we’re happy to help!