HODGEMOOR RIDING ASSOCIATION
 
 HODGEMOOR WOODS

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Hodgemoor Woods is a Site of Special Scientific Interest between Amersham, Chalfont St.Giles and Seer Green. For us it's an area of outstanding natural beauty, flora & fauna, funky great oaks, dedicated horse trails and lots of walking. The Forestry Commission (01296 625825) does what it can on limited budgets to maintain the woods, but depends on its users in the form of associations like ours to help with maintenance. 

Horse riders: The riding trails in Hodgemoor Wood are maintained by the Hodgemoor Riding Association for the Forestry Commission. Since 2000 the Hodgemoor Riding Association has raised close to £100,000 for renovating the paths in the woods and for off-road access. We have also generated a new bridleway and four new permissive trails... 3000 metres of new track costing £36 per metre! The two pictures above are the same place, the Spring Link, before and after our work. Amazing. The objective has been to keep horses on their allocated paths and to free the wood from extensive areas of mud in winter. This makes the wood a nicer place for walkers and ramblers, and indeed, the Association was honoured by the British Horse Society's Access Award 2005 for the success of their work. As of 1 April 2008 it is compulsory to be a member of the Association to use the permissive trails in the wood. Membership includes sponsored rides, Le Trec, cross-country jumping, demonstrations and other events, access to Thames Valley Horse Watch information (on the web), your map of the woods and the 3-yearly e-newsletter. Working Party in November 2014

In addition to raising funds for the trails through club subscriptions and events, riders volunteer to do the work; here's a dozen of us in late November 2014, digging out mud off two sections of Susie's Loop and maintaining drains to keep ther water from settling where horses go.

Warning. 31 October 2014.    Sycamore deaths.

Scores of British horses are dying from a rare illness linked to sycamore trees, vets are warning. Chiltern Equine reports 4 horses have died this week round here and others are reported nearby. These deaths from atypical myopathy had not been linked definitively to sycamore trees until this autumn. Eating sycamore seeds (so easy to spot because the seed has two leaves in a V which make it float in the wind like a helicopter) and leaves can kill a horse within hours. 75% to 80% of horses do not survive.

You should act immediately...

1)    Read the articles in Horse & Hound and ignore the advice on the BHS and Government websites which are out of date. Download the articles here.

2)    Print the images of the tree, leaves and seed in the same document. Walk round your paddock today, looking for the tree. Fence off any area where the seeds and leaves can fall. Beware: wind can carry them up to 200 metres, especially in the northeast direction because of the prevailing winds here.

3)    If your horse or pony shows symptoms of sycamore poisoning, get him/her to the vet in minutes...
            shivering and sweating
            dark urine
            collapsing
            fatigue and muscle stiffness
            colic-like signs

4)    Get on the phone now to warn any friend with a horse or pony of this very high risk to their life.

The Association welcomes discussions with authorities and the Parish Councils of Chalfont St Giles, Seer Green (in which Hodgemoor Woods are situated) and Jordans with a view to establishing a bridlepath or permissive trail from Jordans to Seer Green to enable walkers, cyclists and riders to avoid the extremely dangerous Twitchells Lane at the North (CSG) end. This long-hoped-for improvement might take form under the aegis of the 2011 Localism Bill and the Neighbourhood Plans being discussed in 2014 by each village.

You must be a member of the Hodgemoor Riding Association to ride on the permissive trails in Hodgemoor Woods (download the map here). Click here to see a membership application form and standing order form. You can pay your subscription, an event entry fee, use of the X-Country field,  or a donation with your PayPal account; select the option Facebook logofrom the drop-downs then click on the Pay or Subscribe button.  But please make sure you send your completed membership application form or event entry form at the same time so we know who the payment is from.

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You can pay Hodgemoor online, below, and save us a lot of admin effort ... thanks!

You can have PayPal remit your subscription every year automatically (it's a bit cheaper for you and much simpler for us); 
c
lick the drop-down for 4 annual subscription options. Thanks!

Pay your one-off annual subscription here (click the drop-down for 5 one-off options)     

Pay any event or cross-country field rental here (click the drop-down box for several options)

Walkers: The Hodgemoor Riding Association welcomes walkers and has several walker members. Those that have joined are supportive of the maintenance efforts and of co-operation between the different users of the woods. If you come by car, cyclists and riders would be most grateful if you park considerately. It is easy at Rawlings Corner and Widmer Corner to block the cyclist/horse entrance; please try not to –  remember there is a big free car park off Bottrells Lane. We would welcome greater walker membership and contributions to this site (see Walkers & Cyclists ).

Cyclists are allowed on the two bridle paths, and are exceptionally permitted by the Forestry Commission on the  permissive trails (those marked as horse trails) in Hodgemoor. Much of the fund-raising by the Hodgemoor Riding Association was based on the benefits to all users of the wood as an amenity. The Forestry Commission has recently confirmed that, although cyclists have no legal rights other than on the bridleways, they are welcome on the permissive trails in Hodgemoor as long as the trails are suitable for the purpose (i.e. they must be marked as riding trails with the horseshoe sign on a post). BMX cyclists can enjoy the cicuits and jumps in the Old Bike Pits at the North West end of the Old Bridlepath opposite Stockings Farm (where you may not build additional jumps) and a bigger better facility in the wood to the North of Bottrells Lane opposite. For an introduction to BMXing in the woods and coaching contact Buzz Bikes www.bikebuzz.co.uk/coaching. Cycling is not permitted elsewhere in the wood. By the way, when you're approaching horses from behind, please ting the bell or make a cheery "hello" before arriving to warn those spooky horses that you are there. Thanks so much.

Neither motorcycles nor any other powered vehicles are permitted in the wood. Police action has recently been taken against motocross bikes in Hodgemoor. If you see powered vehicles in the woods please 1) take photos 2) note registration numbers or other details 3) phone the police on 0845 8505505 or 121 and 4) phone Marcus Bicknell (Volunteer Forest Warden) on 07748 111444. Please save  0845 8505505 to your mobile phone. If you see any motorised vehicle in the wood, call them!

Horse riders should also note that riding in fields adjoining Hodgemoor is not permitted other than directly on the bridleways. However, members can rent Susie and Marcus Bicknell's mini-cross-country field at any time, £5 per horse (all that money goes to Hodgemoor). The field is seven acres with 20 large jumps (including an arrowhead (image right), a ditch, doubles, a corner, a bench and a 3 foot bread loaf), twenty small jumps in parallel, and half a dozen showjumps. Call Susie 01494 872447 to book and pay.

Click here to see a map of the paths showing which are bridleways.

Hodgemoor from the air, seen from the South:

 
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The web site address is http://www.hodgemoor.org.uk
E-mail the Hodgemoor Riding Association via Susie Bicknell or Marcus Bicknell

With thanks to our partners for their support since 1999
Version 21 - MB 19 Feb 2014