The BHS Scotland Access Department held its first access training day on 3 April.
It gave members of the BHS Access Committee, and affiliated riders access groups, the chance to further their knowledge on the new right of responsible access under Part 1 – Access of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which started on 9 February this year.
Speakers from Paths for All, Highland Council and the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association gave diverse presentations which encouraged everyone to offer their views, and the question and answer sessions were lively.
The aims of the day were to:
- Give additional background to the legislation, and how to connect with other recreationalists and work with them, both on Local Access Fora and in the field to attain responsible access for all,
- Provide an insight into the position of the Local Council and how the Access Officers on the Council can help and how we can be of assistance to them, and also how to help with access disputes and advice,
- Gain further understanding of the land managers’ views and their difficulties, and how we can work with them to educate other riders.
Pat Somerville, BHS Access Officer for Scotland said
“Our access committee and other members involved are giving advice to horse riders, carriage drivers, land managers and others across the access spectrum, and, although they have between them a wealth of knowledge, gained over the recent months and years, the course gave them some different ideas. The BHS Scotland has some fantastic volunteers and the staff really appreciate their dedication.”
Alex Sutherland, Senior Access Officer for Highland Council, said:
“It was a joy to speak to people who were committed and who appreciate their new rights and the challenges which will arise from living and working with an access system which is at last fit for the 21st century and beyond.”
Linda Howson, Chairman of the BHS Scotland Access Committee, said:
“The feedback from those present has been very encouraging and I would like to thank everyone who took part in the training day, speakers, attendees, and most of all Pat Somerville, BHS Scotland Access Officer, who organised the event, and who both entertained and informed everyone with the BHS Scotland
“Are You Riding Responsibly”
presentation. The day has been a huge success with many requests for more training days in the future to take the subject forward.”
The delegates came from the length and breadth of Scotland, and most Local Authority and the National Park Authority areas were represented showing that equestrian access is represented across the country by BHS volunteers and staff.
The British Horse Society encourages all Scottish horse riders to read and understand the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before they experience their new freedom