A posh beach town has banned riders from the beach as councilors say it will be too busy with residents this summer.
For years, the upscale resort of Frinton-on-Sea in Essex has been ridden across the smooth sand, but the animals are now banned for safety reasons.
Thousands of riders visiting the horse-friendly sands have signed a petition urging the municipality to reconsider the ban on the historic activity and suggest a licensing system be put in place instead – just like for water sports.
Councilor Terry Allen, who supports the oppression, said the coast had become the ‘wild west’ in previous years and that having dozens of horses on the beach this summer was a ‘recipe for disaster’.
For years, the smooth sand has been ridden at Essex’s upscale Frinton-on-Sea resort, but the animals are now banned for safety reasons.
Mr. Allen said: “It was like the Charge of the Light Brigade last summer – horses all over the beach jumping the breakwaters and endangering lives.
The coast was lined on some days with more than twenty gigantic horse trailers – people came from eighty miles away.
At times it resembled the Wild West – as many as 30 horses galloped around on the beach. It was terrifying and dangerous – a woman was injured after a horse jumped over a groyne and the rider did not see her. ‘
The riding community is outraged by the controversial approach they believe is treating them unfairly – but Frinton and Walton Town Council insists it’s too dangerous to allow riders on the two-mile beach as they expect Covid’s travel restrictions to lead to to even more crowds. beaches this summer.
Riders galloped into a fierce argument with a town after horses were banned from the beach in a posh seaside town. Images: signs forbidding horses from the beach
The city council says the ban was introduced after problems caused by a ‘small minority of riders’ last year and was taken after consultation with the city’s residents’ association, the association of beach huts and councilors.
New signs are now being placed by the municipality announcing the ban, which will run until the end of September.
But the decision has caused a stir among the equestrian community, and a petition from Emma Overton, who has been riding the beach for over 30 years, has garnered more than 4,500 signatures in less than a week.
Ms. Overton, who often rides on the beach with her two daughters, describes the decision as ‘unfair’.
She said: ‘There is a lack of bridleways for riders here and they love going to the beach and being in the sea and they are brilliant exercises for horses.
A horse carried on the beach in the winter sun, Frinton-On-Sea, Essex
But this decision is wrong and has really gone down the wrong road for the equine community. There are not many places to get this full beach experience. The sea water is so good for the horses and it is a safe place. We want the municipality to reconsider their decision and agree that we can all share the beach.
“It’s really sad because horseback riding along the beach is part of the city’s heritage and the Boxing Day hunting rides took place there for years.”
Ms. Overton said she hopes to negotiate with the council following the wave of support and support from a local Conservative councilor representing the city calling on the council to explain why the community was not consulted before the decision was made – and will be reversed.
She added: ‘We know some riders don’t clean up horse manure and use the beach as a race track that could endanger other beach users. But we have asked for a permit system as applies to pedal boats and kite surfers.
“It would drastically reduce the number of riders coming here and hold those who ignore the rules accountable.”
But Mike Carran, the Deputy Director of the Tendring Council for Leisure, said Frinton Beach was a beautiful place to enjoy and that it should be used wisely.
Wooden beach huts on the coast towards Frinton, in Walton on the Naze, Essex
Unfortunately, a small minority of riders have caused problems in the past by not respecting the presence of other beachgoers or the designated access routes. This is disappointing as the vast majority of riders are responsible and it is a wonder to watch a horse ride around the edge of the surf. This action is taken after consultation with the residents’ association, beach hut association and community council members.
“Access to beaches for horses is relatively rare in this country, which means that Frinton is becoming a magnet for this activity and it is important that we secure this for the future.”
And spokesperson Will Lodge added: “We have introduced these measures to try to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the beach here at Frinton. The problem is, since the pandemic, more and more people are using the beaches because they have nowhere else to go.
‘That’s fantastic to see, but with an increase in the number, the chance of incidents and conflicts between different users increases.’
Frinton is one of Britain’s last remaining traditional resorts – only in recent years has the town had its first pub and fish and chip shop. Locals proudly boasted that the town was separated from the rest of Essex by a series of railroad gates across the street from the only way to get in and out.
It is governed by strict rules called Frinton’s ‘Ten Commandments’, which include bans on topless baths, beach ice cream vendors and ball games at the ball.
There are no arcades and beach huts change hands for around £ 70,000.