The hatched area: We asked the chairman for feedback from the special meeting of the Training Grounds Management Board on 22 April, which apparently was dedicated to discussing use of the hatched area. All the chairman could say, tight-lipped, was that no conclusion was reached. Pressed to say what might have been discussed, she added that further legal advice was being sought. So, it seems that the TGMB is wriggling hard to avoid reaching any decision that might involve re-opening the hatched area to hack riders, and is reconsidering its legal room for manoeuvre.
Habitat action plan: We commented that the plan makes no provision for maintenance of the downs north of Grand Stand Road, and ignores the public rights of access to the downs on foot and on horseback. The plan will be taken into account, but not the determining factor, in drawing up a four year action plan for habitat management. The action plan should set out plans to restore to use the various hack rides and areas which are now difficult or impossible to use because of scrub encroachment
Hack riders’ leaflet: This is close to publication, and will be a substantial improvement on the present one.
Events on the downs: We obtained a commitment to look at better ways of publicising events which take place on the downs, and which might interfere with riding: for example, the Cancer Research Race for Life was held on 29 June, but there was little advance warning to hack riders of the event, and plenty of tape fluttering in the wind on the day, enough to make most riders turn round and head home. The conservators will look at better notices (in places where hack riders might see them) and placing details on the website.
Next meeting: the downs tour takes place on 21 August 2008.