Forestry England Horse Riding Permits Survey

Closed 9 Apr 2023

Opened 20 Feb 2023


We, Forestry England, provide access to the nation’s forests to the public, this includes providing suitable and safe access to those who enjoy recreational riding. We support riding access and absolutely recognise the importance of providing safe off-road riding. It is for this reason that we have liaised with the British Horse Society (BHS), and other riding groups, for many years to effectively facilitate riding access to many Forestry England sites, in addition to public bridleways and byways.

For some of the more sensitive sites, we operate horse riding permit systems, to enable access while minimising harm and risk to public safety. 

We are reviewing these permit systems to ensure our protocols are fit-for-purpose, justified, and fair for riders. We are inviting riders, equestrian organisations, and their members, to share their views to feed into this review.

What the survey covers

In this survey, to be clear and use familiar words, where we say 'horse riding' we include all equine riding activities, including pony riding and carriage driving.

Where we say 'horse riding permits' we are referring to permits issued to riders for recreational riding, and carriage driving, of all equines.

The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and we hope to capture the following information: 

  1. The ways in which you like to use Forestry England sites for riding/carriage driving.

  2. Your views on the use of horse riding permits to enable managed access to forest roads and tracks on sensitive sites.

  3. Your experiences with horse riding permit systems for Forestry England sites, if applicable to you.

What this survey will not cover

  • Commercial riding activities.
  • Permissions for riding events.
  • Cross-country riding. 
  • Recreational use of the forest by any other user group, such as mountain bikers. 

By completing this survey, you agree to:

  1. Only submit one response per person/organisation. Any duplicated responses will not be counted. 
  2. Contact us if you require additional support to complete this survey, or encounter any issues, using the email address:
  3. Not to receive an individual response from us following the submission of your views.

Why your views matter

Although horse riding permit systems are only needed at a minority of the nation's forests, we are interested to hear from anyone who rides, or carriage drives, in the forests and woodlands we care for. The information you provide us will feed into our review of horse riding permit systems and support our decision-making.

What happens next

Thank you for sharing your views with us.

Although we are not able to respond to individual responses directly, we will communicate the outcomes of our horse riding permits review publicly, once the process has been completed. 


  • Local community member
  • Forest visitor
  • Non-Governmental Organisation / charity
  • Central England
  • East England
  • North England
  • South England
  • West England
  • Yorkshire


  • Recreation