Crossing made safer for woodland horse riders

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20 MAY 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14625

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A crossing point on a road between two woodlands has been improved to reduce the risk of accidents involving horse riders.

Forestry Commission Wales carried out work on the bridleway to deter riders from crossing the main road into Tongwynlais at a different point further down the road.

Heol y Fforest road divides FC Wales-managed Fforest Fawr woodland and Fforestganol woods, owned by Cardiff City Council, in the shadow of Castell Coch on the outskirts of the city.

But over time the crossing point had become badly eroded and slippery, forcing riders to seek an alternative route between the woodlands.

FC Wales worked with horse riding group SAFE (Safety and Facilities for Equestrians) to carry out repairs so that riders could once again move safely between the two woodlands.

FC Wales Forest Ranger Emma Louise Felkin said, “These woodlands are very popular among horse riders but gradually the horse step between the woods became steep and muddy.

“We installed drainage to help stop the erosion and dry out the path, dug out and removed all the soft muddy earth and replaced it with a hard stoned surface to improve grip. We also raised the ground below the step, as it had worn away.”

The horse trails meander through both woodlands and are part of a community management agreement between SAFE and FC Wales.

Fforest Fawr is an ancient woodland just minutes from Cardiff city centre and, at this time of the year, is covered by a blanket of bluebells and wild garlic.

It features a sculpture trail created by the FC Wales Woodlands for Learning team and three caves known locally as the three bears, as one is very small, another is medium-sized and a third is quite large.

Fforest Fawr may be familiar to television viewers as it is frequently used for filming, including the hit BBC1 series Merlin and Doctor Who.

SAFE member and local rider Joy Esau praised FC Wales for carrying out the work.

She said, "On behalf of all the local riders, and especially any ponies with little legs, I’d like to thank Forestry Commission Wales for making the crossing that much safer."

Caption: Riders safely negotiate the road between the two woods at the restored bridleway.


A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

SAFE is a non-profit making local bridleways society, affiliated to the British Horse Society. It is based in South-East Wales and has representatives in Caerphilly, Dinas Powis, Rhiwbina, Lisvane, Pentyrch, Rudry and Radyr.

Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email