A long agenda but a short meeting, with little to report of interest to hack riders. However, we were told that the Training Grounds Management Board will consider hack riders’ use of the hatched area at a special meeting on 22 April.

Video surveillance: The conservators have previously got quite excited at the idea of video surveillance of Six Mile Hill, to catch hack riders using the training grounds. They call this ‘abuse’ of the training gallops by hack riders, though oddly, they never refer to ‘abuse’ of the downs by dog walkers failing to clear up after their dogs, or ‘abuse’ of the downs by kite flying outside the designated area. The conservators were told that they would have to jump through all sorts of hoops to engage in video monitoring, and they didn’t seem sufficiently motivated to take it on. No-one asked whether the same requirements had to be met if the downskeepers wanted to film someone visibly breaking the byelaws.

Habitat action plan: This was circulated to the conservators, but not to anyone else, so we’ll have to wait until the run-up to the consultative committee in June to see it. It should promise a timetable for clearing some of the scrub on the downs, including some of the blocked hack rides.

Next meeting: Takes place on 24 July 2008.