Access groups free an obstructed byway in North Yorkshire 

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The society was pleased to support the British Horse Society (BHS), along with the Byways and Bridleways Trust and Ramblers, to secure the removal of two pairs of large, ornamental gates which were obstructing a restricted byway in Stanwick St John, about eight miles north-east of Richmond in North Yorkshire. 

We were pleased to work with the British Horse Society, the Ramblers, and the Byways and Bridleways Trust to secure the removal of the gates. Photos: Alan Kind

The BHS issued proceedings in York magistrates’ court against North Yorkshire Council, the highway authority with a legal duty to protect public paths.  The magistrates ordered the council to secure the removal of the gates by 3 July, and this has now been done. 

Mark Weston, BHS director of access, said: ‘The council’s removal of these gates demonstrates that councils cannot ignore such obstructions.  It is a timely reminder to people that they must not erect gates across the highway unless they are authorised by the council to do so.  Not only do such gates block the public’s right of passage, but they are also intimidating and make public paths appear to be privatised.  Gates—particularly of this type—make life very difficult for people with mobility and strength disability. 

‘The BHS is grateful to the Byways and Bridleways Trust, Open Spaces Society, and Ramblers for their support in bringing these proceedings.  Our organisations are prepared to go to court in order to protect the public’s rights to use and enjoy public paths.’ 

The gates were blocking the public’s right of passage, and we’re pleased to see their removal. Photo: Alan Kind

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