The Cheviot Hills, Northumberland National Park\n© Simon Fraser

Cheviot Challenge Riding Routes

Riding a winner

Sue Rogers is clearing away the obstacles blocking her vision of creating a thrilling holiday adventure in the Cheviots for experienced horse riders.

Horse Riders on the Cheviot Challenge © Northumberland National Park

Horse Riding - Cheviots Challenge

Ultimately she hopes to see a series of bridleways or routes with permissive access linking four valleys in the National Park – the Coquet, Breamish, Harthope and College – with each other and also with the Bowmont Valley just over the Scottish border.

It’s been a long-term project – she first started thinking about it 15 years ago - but, with help from the National Park, her dream is winning support and galloping towards fulfilment.

Sue, who is the British Horse Society’s County Access and Bridleways Officer for Northumberland, has been working closely with Tracy Hall, the National Park’s Northern Area Ranger.

Tracy said: “Sue’s vision makes a lot of sense. We have a network of underused bridleways in the Park but, with effective management, they can be a source of sustainable equestrian tourism.”

Tracy and her team have been clearing bridleways of obstructions, replacing defective gates, installing hook-and-eye gate catches (which are easier for riders to open) and installing sleeper bridges to make riding the routes a more enjoyable experience.

Sue, meanwhile, has been mapping the routes already available, negotiating permissive access to fill in the gaps and successfully finding overnight accommodation in all five valleys for both riders and their horses.

“The Cheviot Challenge Riding Routes are becoming well established and we also have circular routes in three of the valleys for those riders who want something a little easier. There’s more work to be done but the key thing has been that the National Park is behind the idea. Without that, we wouldn’t have got anywhere.”

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