The county of Gloucestershire (3,150 km2 or 1,220 sq. miles)
has borders with Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, South
Gloucestershire, Gwent (Monmouthshire) and Herefordshire.
It is crossed by the River Severn. Within the Severn Vale are the cathedral city of Gloucester, and the major towns of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury. Cheltenham sits at the foot of the Cotswolds, which occupy most of the county east of the Severn; Tewkesbury is on the confluence of the Severn and the Avon, whilst to the west of the Severn, the Forest of Dean stretches to the River Wye, which forms part of the county border. Other major towns include Stroud, Cirencester and Newent.
The River Thames rises between Cirencester and Tetbury, and for a few miles forms the county boundary with Wiltshire.
a little over 3,500 miles of public rights of way, of which about 81% are
of footpath status.
Crossing the county are sections of three long-distance walking routes of National Trail status - Offa's Dyke Path, the Thames Path, and the Cotswold Way, as well as a number of other named walking routes and circuits.
One long-distance bridle-route, the Sabrina Way, runs for about 44 miles from Great Barrington on the Oxfordshire border, where it links with the Claude Duval bridle-route, to Forthampton on the Worcestershire border, from where it continues to Hartington to link with the Pennine Bridleway.
The Cotswolds on Horseback, third edition, was published by the BHS in 2011 as a set of laminated cards, containing eight riding routes and background information, these eight and a further seventeen routes are available to download from the Emagin website.
Equestrians can use the Gloucestershire County Council Rights of Way Map to check the locations of their local bridleways, restricted byways, BOATs and ORPAs.The BHS website offers a number of freely downloadable leaflets at http://www.bhs.org.uk/helping-horses-and-riders/free-leaflets including "Finding Bridleways" , which explains these terms.
The OS 1: 25000 Explorer
Maps covering Gloucestershire which show all bridleways, byways (and footpaths)
190 Malvern Hills & Bredon Hill, OL14 Wye Valley & Forest of Dean, 179 Gloucester, Cheltenham & Stroud,
OL45 The Cotswolds, 167 Thornbury, Dursley & Yate, 168 Stroud, Tetbury & Malmesbury, 169 Cirencester & Swindon
You can also view OS
1:50000 maps on this website for any place Click
Riding is also permitted on a number of Cotswold Commons - including Minchinhampton, Rodborough and Selsey, which belong to the National Trust with control of use by byelaws; also Cranham, Charlton Kings, Leckhampton, Dowdeswell and Ravensgate, which are registered as offering open access to walkers and horseriders (Law of Property Act 1925 Section 193, confirmed by CRoW 2000 Section 15 designation). The significant exception is Cleeve Common, where horse riders must either have a licence from the Conservators, or keep to the public bridleways.
There are two BHS-affiliated
bridleways groups working within the county, the Forest of Dean Horse Riders
and Carriage Drivers Group, and the Mid Cotswolds Tracks and Trails Group.
In the Forest of Dean, riding, and in some cases carriage driving, is permitted on a number of tracks, and work is proceeding on a new Greenway Spine route with associated circuits.
Gloucestershire County Council
Countryside Access Link: http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=72
Public Rights of Way
Gloucestershire County Council
Shire Hall, Gloucester, GL1 2TH
Mid Cotswold Tracks & Trails aims to improve and expand the tracks and trails network of Stroud, Cirencester and the surrounding areas. Contact: Pat Harris 01453 823841 firstname.lastname@example.org
Forest of Dean
District Horse Riders & Carriage Drivers Association http://www.deanforestriders.co.uk/
Chairman: Jenny Carling
Secretary: Erica Rye 01989 720252