The Burn Tuck Riders

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The Burnturk Riders – Adopting paths on horseback

Paths from a horse riding user group perspective



Name of Access Authority: Fife

Name of Group: Burnturk Rural Riders

Location: Coaltown of Burnturk and surrounding area

Project: Maintain and improve local paths

Key points: Take path maintenance seriously

                        Adopt a ‘professional’ approach

                        Have the right tools for the job


About the Burnturk Riders…

The Burnturk Rural Riders are a small, community group of horse owners and their families whose aims are to maintain and improve the local paths and bridleways.

They use the local network of quiet roads and bridleways in the Coaltown of Burnturk and surrounding area. Currently membership of the group stands at about 25 people of all ages.

It terms of the scale of the groups work, they currently help to maintain about 15kms of path.

Finding resources (people, money, tools and materials, training, time)


A key success of the group has been attracting/recruiting a core of willing and able volunteers who already had a good idea of what needed to be done in terms of ‘adopting paths’ particularly from a horse-rider perspective. This gave confidence to others who were not so experienced but who could see the benefits of joining the group and helping where they could.


The group has received significant funding from various bodies such as LEADER and Fife Environment Trust. This money has enabled the group to improve and maintain several local paths. The group has also purchased quality tools and equipment which has made clearing paths and other maintenance easier and more effective.

Tools and materials

The equipment purchased has included some high specification items such as a flail mower, strimmers and brushcutters, hedge cutter and chain saw along with lopping poles. In addition to tools and equipment bought by the group individual members bring their own kit to bear on tasks as needed. The group are as well-equipped as many local authority land services which gives the group great flexibility from being so ‘self-sufficient’.


Training in the proper use of tools was given through courses organised by Fife Council. Although some members are also taking on additional training in order to gain Forest LANTRA training.

Insurance cover is provided through British Horse Society’s bridle ways group Insurance Policy. This insurance includes, public liability and professional indemnity.

Many of the group’s members have had first aid training and keep their certificates up-to-date.


Most of the work is carried out at week-ends and summer evenings. Having good quality tools means that tasks are carried out quickly and efficiently making best use of the group’s time.

Plans for the Future

Essentially, to carry on the group’s Adopt A Path activities and keep up to date with training. At some point major equipment will need to be replaced so further funding will have to be found.


Lessons Learned

Having professional equipment was highlighted as having some significant advantages most over lower spec, domestic/garden equipment as follows:

1. Have the right tools for the job

2. Ensure jobs are well done as this leads to ‘job satisfaction’ and keeps

     motivation high amongst individual members and the group as a whole

3. The group quickly established a good relationship with Fife Council    

     particularly in terms of co-ordination of path maintenance, Local Access  

     Forum and making people aware of the group via the Council’s website.






© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh