The latest section of the Pegasus Trail in West Devon has opened.
Devon County Council has completed the second phase of the walking, cycling and horse-riding trail.
The new two-mile section, which opened on Saturday 11 May, runs from Venndown Gates to Broadbury Castle Farm (near Castle Cross off the A3079).
Horse riders from South West Riders (SWR), a local group affiliated to the British Horse Society, were among the first to enjoy the new section of the trail.
Instead of cutting a ribbon, Chris Ingram, President of SWR, opened a linked dog lead and horse lead, symbolising some of the many users who will benefit from the trail. Chris has worked with Devon County Council since the original plans were discussed nearly 20 years ago. She gave an emotional speech recalling some of the difficulties encountered, but thanked the landowners, contractors and County Council staff for all they had done.
Gretta Madigan, Chair of SWR, said: “We were so thrilled that this section has been completed that we held a little opening ceremony, opened a few bottles of bubbly and sent a group of horse riders, cyclists and walkers off to enjoy the beautiful views. SWR are already eagerly anticipating the completion of this fantastic trail. As traffic has increased, it has been more and more difficult to find safe places to ride.
"We would like to thank Devon County Council for creating the trail, and also for their multi-use policy, which enables everyone to use it. Respect for fellow users and mutual courtesy is our motto. Indeed, one of the beauties of an off road trail is the opportunity to stop and chat. As we walked along the trail we met a walker who said ‘I am so happy’ - what a wonderful accolade. Well done to all who have helped to make it happen.”
The new section of the Trail uses a dismantled former railway track bed to provide an off-road connection between Bowerland Forest and Broadbury Castle Farm. It also links to the on-road section of the Pegasus Trail from Meldon.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “This latest section of the route is a great addition to the Pegasus Trail. The established sections of the Trail are extremely popular and I’m sure this new stretch will be warmly welcomed by all of the local people and groups, such as the South West Riders, who have waited patiently for this phase to be completed. We would like to thank the landowners for their co-operation and willingness to support the creation of the route across their land. Their support is key to making this project a reality.”
Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Councillor for Hatherleigh and Chagford, said: “It’s taking time, but I’m pleased this next section is now open. Getting horses and riders off the main road is important. It is also important to work with landowners to make sure the best solution can be found for the completion of the route.”
Work is ongoing on the remaining stretches of the route to connect the missing link between Broadbury Castle Farm and Beamsworthy.
When complete, the Trail, which uses quiet lanes and public bridleways, will form a 15 mile (25 km) link between Dartmoor National Park at Meldon and Cookworthy Forest in Ruby Country. It will also eventually link the Granite Way with the Ruby Way.