Dynamo (Lancaster & District Cycle Campaign) sought members’ views about whether it was a good idea for horses to be able to share the path with cyclists and walkers, and we would like to pass on a summary of these to the Town Council.
Some comments were not favourable to the idea and reasons given were:
* the path is heavily used as a commuter route at many times of the day, and is generally busier than other shared-use paths in the district;
* horses are large (taking up half the path) and can be intimidating;
* they may be spooked by dogs or cyclists;
* they leave dung;
* their hooves may damage the path;
but other comments were more sympathetic, with an awareness of the limited routes available to horse-riders and the danger they face on some roads. However, allowing horses would require investment to make the proposal practicable and safe for all users.
A further consideration was that Dynamo has campaigned for an off-road route between Heysham and Lancaster, joining the existing greenway at Salt Ayre. This proposal has been taken up by the County Council and included in its draft Transport Masterplan for North Lancashire. The Heysham route would be open to cyclists, walkers and horses, so perhaps a way could be found to accommodate horse-riders between, say, Salt Ayre and Morecambe?
In conclusion, Dynamo is clear that permitting horses on the greenway must be dependent on increasing the capacity of the path – by, for example, providing a separate grassy or sandy section parallel to the surfaced path. (The model here could be part of the Lancaster-Caton path.)
[Update: Morecambe Town Council discussed this on 19 November – see pp.41-46 of the papers. The minutes are not yet out.]