‘THE AIR OF HEAVEN IS THAT WHICH BLOWS BETWEEN A HORSE’S EARS’

The Burnley Bridleways Association exists to …

MAINTAIN BURNLEY'S BRIDLEWAYS

With the help of riders we can keep your routes accessible. Report stoppages such as locked gates, drainage issues, bad gates.

RESEARCH NEW ROUTES

With 2026 round the corner the need for active research to identify & claim our historic routes that have been downgraded to footpath or may not have been registered on the Definitive Map.  Adopt a route & research to save for the future.

HELP HORSE RIDERS TO HAVE FUN AND FRESH AIR

Help riders to identify and navigate Burnley’s bridleways and the National Trails

LOBBY THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Represents people who ride in Burnley at the House of Lords. Speak to your local Counsellors and M.P.

Know your Rights of Way designations

There are 4 statutory designations applied to Public Rights of Way

Footpath

Pedestrians only

Bridleway

Open to all none motorised traffic ie. Pedestrian, equestrian and cyclist

Restricted Byway

Same as a bridleway but open to carriage driving

BOAT / RUPP

(Byway Open to All Traffic / Road Used as a Public Path) – Open to all previous forms of transport plus horse drawn and motorised vehicles.

MEMBERSHIP

Discounts for members on events and organised rides

GET IN TOUCH

We are happy to discuss things further

HISTORY AND TRIBUTES

The BBA was formed in the 1970s by local riders to address the lack of bridleway routes in an area where there was a pony on almost every allotment, back garden and pen. Amongst its committee were local equestrian luminaries, Norman Bishop, Mary-Jo Pinder and Mary, later Lady Towneley. It wasn’t that there weren’t bridleways, there were, as time and claim were to prove, but due to short sighted and poorly drawn up legislation in Westminster, riders had literally been disenfranchised from their natural environment.

Why were there NO bridleways!

Simple … look no further than the 1949 National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act. Its inept drafting and biased implementation enabled the majority of higher rights to be expunged from the record or downgraded to footpath by landowners & Councils seeking to a) remove/curtail public access & b) minimise the burden of maintenance implicit to higher rights routes, ie. bridleway & above. The need to consult was also removed, unless you were a landowner or Council, and Parish/Town Councils designated as the appropriate bodies to undertake the role of inspecting and quantifying routes. In Haslingdon the Scouts undertook the important task of listing all known public rights of way! Consequently, and unsurprisingly, bearing in mind the difference between a footpath and bridleway was, and remains, indistinguishable to the majority of the public, it is unsurprising the horse was almost entirely expunged from the landscape as routes were simply and more easily classed under the generic term of ‘footpath’. Proof of this calumny has been documented by Sue Hogg, former Chairman of the National Federation of Bridleway Associations, Founder of the South Pennine Packhorse Trails Trust and Rights of Way Researcher without whom the majority of routes both in Cliviger and adjacent Township of Todmorden would still remain unridden.

Founder Lady Towneley with her husband Sir Simon circa 1970s
Somewhere along the Pennine bridleway inaugural, investigative ride 1986

John B Taylor

John was a local historian hand drew the map of the Mary Towneley Loop which was given to Princess Anne when she came up to ride with Mary in 2000. John also drew pictures of smaller sections of the Mary Towneley Loop shown in the Routes section.

Map of the Mary Towneley Loop