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New bridleway opens linking Chorleywood with Little Chalfont
A new one mile-long section of bridleway linking Chorleywood with Little Chalfont was opened on Sunday.
The horse track has been created by Chess Valley Bridleways Association, an organisation that seeks to help riders to avoid using the busy A404.
Roughly 12 months ago the group approached Chenies Manor House owner Charles Macleod Matthews about leasing two narrow strips of land running next to the Metropolitan Line.
The first "Metro Track" section runs from the Barrel Arch tunnel to Old Hanging Wood. A second section connects the west of Old Hanging Wood with Lodge Lane.
Even once the land had been secured, the group needed to find £11,000 for fencing but without any outside funding this was paid for with a combination of club funds and donations.
A variety of fundraising initiatives including ‘Donate a Post’ were launched to bring cash in while supporter Matt Wilkinson from Watford competed in a triathlon and the London Marathon to raise funds.
The route allows riders to connect between Chorleywood, Little Chalfont and Chenies by connecting existing bridleways while minimising time spent on the road.
Sue Deane, CVBA treasurer, said: "For me personally it is such a huge achievement, I have been on the committee for 15 years and being able to open a bridleway is not something that happens every day.
"Before, if you are in Chorleywood and come up through Barrel Arch you couldn’t go to Little Chalfont without going on the A404.
"I have ridden that stretch twice but never again.
"The danger is that a horse is a living animal, it has got a mind of its own and they do sometimes spook at things.
"Litter like plastic bags spook horses and when you have got cars coming at 60mph towards you it is a very dangerous situation."
The track was officially opened on Sunday by Francesca Macleod Matthews.
In addition to providing a direct link between the two communities the new route is expected to increase the amount of people using the existing bridleways nearby as they will now be able to complete a loop off-road.
Ms Deane added: "I would say it will be used definitely every weekend. In winter people don’t want to ride after work but during the summer I’m sure it will be used in the evenings."
The Chess Valley Bridleways Association was formed in 1973 after a fatal riding accident in the area, and is run by volunteers with the aim of reducing the amount of time riders spend on the road.