New bridleway follows former railway track

A NEW public bridleway near Okehampton has been completed by Devon County Council. The three-kilometre stretch, from Thorndon Cross to Venndown Gates, follows a former railway track which runs parallel to the A3079 Okehampton to Holsworthy Road. Its crea

A NEW public bridleway near Okehampton has been completed by Devon County Council. The three-kilometre stretch, from Thorndon Cross to Venndown Gates, follows a former railway track which runs parallel to the A3079 Okehampton to Holsworthy Road. Its creation follows extensive negotiation and agreement with landowners.It is the first phase in a proposed route which would link Dartmoor to Halwill Junction and Cookworthy Forest and to mark its completion an official opening is being held at Jays Barton Farm, Thorndon Cross, at 11am on Thursday, April 23.Devon County Council chairman Councillor John Rawlinson will welcome people to the bridleway opening when a signpost will be officially unveiled. Cllr Rawlinson said: "The opening of this route is the first stage in a much wider project which will provide an extensive bridleway network and it's exciting to think that this could eventually form a link between Dartmoor and Halwill Junction. "I'm sure this bridleway will be greatly used and appreciated by local residents and visitors to explore Devon's beautiful countryside."Cllr Joe Tucker, the council's public rights of way committee chairman, said: "This bridleway would not have been possible without the co-operation of landowners and their help is very much appreciated. "When you see the end result the negotiations have been worthwhile and this bridleway will benefit our local economy at a vital time. "Devon County Council is keen to work with landowners as development of the route continues. The aim is to avoid dwellings and gardens where possible in order to create a route which is acceptable to landowners and users."Cllr Christine Marsh, Cllr for Okehampton Rural, added: "It is important where possible to support links for all off road users to enjoy our beautiful countryside."The work, undertaken by local contractors, includes everything from a 40mph speed limit on the A3079 through Thorndon Cross, to the provision of nest boxes for dormice that may have been living on the route. The bridleway also links with the Equestrian Devon project, which is aiming to create recreational horse-riding networks of full and half-day circular routes linked by longer distance routes to assist the growth and development of associated rural businesses including horse-friendly bed and breakfasts, camping barns and riding schools. Horse riding is currently estimated to generate �30million to Devon's economy each year, and the Ruby Country area of West Devon and Torridge will be a focus for the Equestrian Devon project.


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