New map of Hodgemoor

Thanks to our friends Bob Beresford and Mark  Thompson in the Thames Valley Orienteering Club, we are proud to make available to riders, cyclists, walkers and all users of Hodgemoor Woods a new detailed map (thumbnail on the right).

The bridle-paths are shown in red and the permissive horse trails (where cyclists may also ride) are shown in blue. Neither cycling nor horse-riding is permitted on the footpaths (in black) or elsewhere in the woods (Forestry England bye-laws). Roads are in light brown.

You can download an A4 copy at 830kb at

This map has a QR code which is used on display posters in the woods and in horse livery yards for users to access on their smart phones. Point you smartphone camera at the QR code, then click on the yellow link which appears towards the bottom of your screen.

We also have a high definition copy at 2.16mb which you can get from us by email; request at

AGM and 2024 trail works

The minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Hodgemoor Riding Association, the Treasurer’s Report and the proposed 2024 maintenance works on the trails in the woods have been published on our web site…

Hodgemoor AGM 20 November 2023

In advance of the AGM of your Association on Monday 20th November 2023, the accounts for the year to 31 October 2023 have already been prepared by the Tresurer Geoff Gudgion and approved by the Chairman Marcus Bicknell – within three weeks of the period end. Thank you Geoff. The cash position is rather positive with £28,289.19 in the bank; this gives us plenty of funds to attribute to maintenance of the trails in Hodgemoor in summer 2024, to be diuscussed and approved in principle at the AGM.

The only negative trend is outlined in the Treasurer’s note: Due to a late transfer from PayPal, subscriptions in the current year are over-stated by approximately £700 and the slight rise in year-on-year subscriptions in the accounts masks an underlying decline. Total subscribing members have dropped from 299 last year to 235 this year.

You can download the accounts here: treasurer_report_2023

You can download the 20 November 2023 AGM agenda here

It is the Association’s policy to publish accounts, minutes and documents of corporate governance on our website. You can see records going back 20 years at

Water run-offs and dry trails

Here are the photos of Frank Everest at work and the water run-offs afterwards. Success. The trails have negliible standing water on them. More text below the images.

This started off as a little posting to thank Frank for digging out the water run-offs last Friday. It is turned into a much wider celebration of everything that is good in people. It’s easy to post a rant, isn’t it, and unfortunately is full of them. So when something is good in life, we owe it to ourselves to post that as well. Susie and I find it such a privilege to be part of a very positive group of people, the horse riders, who have found a way over the years to coexist beautifully with walkers and cyclists (in all but a very few cases). There has been peace in the woods for many years, and we all relish the idea that so many people can benefit, both in physically and mentally, from it as an amenity for all of us. It has been very difficult to get more than three or four people at a time out for the volunteer sessions when we chip away with our little spades or clip away with secateurs. So when there is major work to be done we normally have to recourse to spending tens of thousands of pounds of club money (your money, not tax payers’) to get the contractors in. By the way, the next phase of trail renovation will probably be in summer 2024.

One task which does not require a huge contract is digging out the water run-offs, or ‘grips’ as Forestry England call them. These are needed so that water does not accumulate on the path but runs off into small metre-long man-made ponds off the side. Water pooling on the trails means the horses hooves turn it to mud and that little stream of water eventually destroy the surface of the trail. Remember, building the trails costs about £110 per metre; and that’s your money, members’ contributions, and some fundraising.

Imagine our delight, then, when Lana Craker of Waylands Equestrian, long-term supporter of the Hodgemoor Riding Association, called us to say that her partner Frank Everest was willing to deploy one of his diggers and his own services for a day. Having got the permission of Forestry England (thank you Rob and Simon) and completed the Health and Safety paperwork requirements we managed to get out in the woods on Friday. I had marked most of the sites and accompanied him throughout. Frank’s skill both in the dig and in the beautifying enabled us to complete two days’ work in four hours between nine and one, including the really big culverts on Susie’s Loop east side and the Mount (top and bottom). I am extremely grateful to Frank and appreciative of his fine work.

But you can see why I choose to write about the bigger picture. When we work together it can be harmonious and satisfying. That is a life many of us like to lead.

Post-script 3 days later. Success. I have been looking in the last couple of days at the results of digging out the water run-offs by Frank Everest and the results are excellent. In every case, the trail is free of water, even after these heavy rains, and the run-off shows signs of water having been collected, and then absorbed. we feel confident that the life of the paths are greatly extended by this work. A stitch in time saves nine. Comments always gratefully received. Marcus

Clearing the water run-offs on the trails in Hodgemoor Woods

On Friday 13th October 2023 our friend Frank Everest will be using one of his mini-diggers under Forestry England supervision to clear the silt and debris from about 50 grips along the trails in Hodgemoor Woods. Thank you Frank

    1. A grip is what Forestry England call a water run-off, that is a hollow in the earth next to the trail into which rainwater can flow. Why are they important? If water lies on the trail then the passage of cyclists and especially horses turns the surface into mud and breaks up the hardcore hoggin if which the surface is made. Such degradation massively shortens the life of the trails on which the Hodgemoor Riding Association has spent over £250,000. You can see the detail of these sums on our web site at HodgemoorRidingAssociation_21year_income_deployed
    2. With the passage of time silt and debrtis runs off the trails and fills up the grips, rendering them useless. See the four images at the bottom of this page. Regular emptying of the grips is therefore essential. We will be giving attention to those on the steep parts of the trail, notably at the Mount, where diagonal channels lead rushing rainwater away from the path. The places where work is needed have been indcated with yellow marker on 10 October (right).
    3. We can remind members that at the request of Forestry England cyclists have been permitted to use the horse trails, without contributing money, since 2017. Cyclists are not allowed anywhere else in Hodgemoor, neither on the footpaths nor free-riding.
    4. The minutes of our last AGM recorded “370 metres of trail repairs were done in October 2019 at a total cost was for £29,800 to which the Association contributed £15,300, about half. Forestry England agreed to pay half this time because of new regs imposing on us a contractor which was more expensive than our regular one. You can see a map at · With income of about 5,000 p.a., the Association would by 2024 have about £28 ,000 available with which we could rebuild 350 metres if the rate is still £80/metre (if FE do not contribute). Forestry England would prefer to wait till 2024 and do more metrage as the last works were disruptive. With that in mind, the the Chairman and Secretary proposed next works in 2024, for economies of scale. The meeting agreed.”
    5. How are we doing with trail repairs? We request members (and walkers and cyclists) to let us know where you think work is needed. Susie and Marcus are compiling a list which will be submitted to Forestry ENgland shortly after the AGM of Monday 20th November. Speak now! Your help is much appreciated (and of course useless if after Nvember!). If a member would like to suggest expenditure of club funds ouside Hodgemoor then please do so. We do have reserves, as published on, Treasurer’s Reports

The Hodgemoor Wildlife Junior Photography Award

The Hodgemoor Wildlife Junior Photography Award at the Chalfont St Giles Show.

The Hodgemoor Riding Association and its 300 members sponsor an annual cup and a cash prize in the Junior Photography Section. Since 1999 the Association has raised over £240,000 for the renovation and maintenance of the 6km of horse-riding trails in the woods and nearby, improving this popular amenity for all users, whether walkers, cyclists or horse-riders. The winner each year keeps this engraved one-pint glass tankard, £20 from the Hodgemoor Riding Association (attached to this certificate) and a voucher from Southbank Photography in St Giles for framing of the winning entry or £20 off any order.

To be awarded today 2nd Sept 2023 at the Chalfont St Giles Show.


Hodgemoor Trec 30 April 2023 results

Hodgemoor Trec 30 April 2023 results

Delighted to report that 26 happy riders and their horses competed in the Hodgemoor Trec today, sunny in the morning, overcast but warm in the afternoon. No-one got lost in the wood doing the Orienteering Phase! Thanks to the recently-engaged ebulliently-happy camera-hotshot Alice Bicknell, we present a complete set of photos in high resolution free-of-charge. Definitely worth looking through every one rather than ego-surfing; some wonderful studies in equine and human body language.
This album is open to anyone with the link. Pass it on and enjoy.

There were half a dozen superb performances, maybe the best we have ever seen in the Hodgemoor Trec. In phase 1, those fifteen obstacles requiring control, Maggie Miodek on Phoenix and Coleen Douglas on Indie scored 145 and 144 respectvely out of a maximum available of 150. Amazing. Well done. Katherine Kennedy, Kelly Stokes and Melanie Ralph all got 138. Phase 2 Control of Paces was a tie between Kelly Stokes on Otis and Francesca Jones on Buffy with 48 points out of 60. 15 riders embarked on Phase 3 Orienteering; Laura Newton on Mayday and Sara Caley on Jack got all ten clues correct, all times neatly written, in a total time within 2 minutes of bogie time for 225 out of 240. They were riding as a pair and so lost 10% of their score, otherwise it would have been perfect. And they had fun.

When you add the three phases together and divide the riders into their classes, the results are as follows:

Class 1: 2 Phases: Obstacles and Control of Gaits. Beginners.
Vicki Barras
Clemmie Cullen
Sophia Evans

Class 2: 2 phases: Obstacles and Control of Gaits. Open
Mary Doherty
Alice Labed
Francesca Jones
Kayleigh Dear

Class 3: Obstacles, Control of Gaits, Orienteering. Beginners
Katherine Kennedy
Sarah Staines
Kelly Stokes
Coleen Douglas
Cara Foster

Class 4: Obstacles, Control of Gaits, Orienteering. Open
Sara Caley
Laura Newton
Alison Cheetham

You can download and peruse the full spreadsheet of the results by phase and by class with the link below. To see the results by phase you need to click on the Tabs at the bottom of the screen. Let me know please if there is anything you do not understand. Results with small corrections are below, posted 5 May 2023 MB. Mary Doherty Obstacle 8 should be 5 3 not 5 36,  and for Katherine Kennedy Obstacle 3 should be 7 3 not 78 3. Apologies for the typos. Everyone has their rosettes!







Concussion… how to spot it and what to do

Concussion… how to spot it and what to do

This month British Equestrian released new concussion guidelines which will be adopted across all the riding disciplines in order to ensure a shared plan with regard to anyone who unfortunately suffers concussion as a result of a horse-related accident.
The guidelines are just that, guidelines, but it has been mooted that it would be good that all disciplines including grassroots competitors should be made aware of them as a huge amount of investigation has been undertaken to provide the best advice.
We are therefore sharing this document with all members, will have it available on our webiste in permanence and wil put a copy into the Health & Safety folder that is taken to all our events.  With our forthcoming Le Trec event on Easter Saturday 8th April it is good to be ahead of the curve and get this information out there…
Do please read it through; you could be the person who saves a riders life or saves them from long-term brain damage.
With thanks to Dawn Fleming for the heads-up and the advice.