Dorset Council is advising cyclists in the Bridport area to submit evidence following confusion over whether a much-used cycling route is officially a public bridleway.

Cyclists in Bridport have been asked by Dorset Council to submit evidence of cycle/equestrian use over Brit View Road in West Bay to decide whether the area should be a public bridleway and placed on the definitive map and Ordnance Survey maps.

It follows a social media campaign started by Chris Scally, an avid cyclist from Bridport, who called on members of the Bridport Cycling Forum Facebook group to maintain what he described as a bridleway beginning at Brit View Road. 

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Bridport cyclist Chris Scally near West Bay Bridport cyclist Chris Scally near West Bay (Image: Chris Scally)

The post read: “If you want to keep the bridleway at the top of Brit View in West Bay from being changed to a footpath then you need to act now.

“This is the bridleway that goes to Highlands End and is the only safe off-road cycling route between West Bay and the west.

However, Dorset Council has confirmed to the News that this route is not an official bridleway.

A spokesperson said: “To correct some misinformation that’s appeared online recently, there is no recorded public right of way along Brit View Road and therefore there is no official bridleway which could be downgraded.

“Residents have not asked for a change of use but are objecting to the application to record any public right of way at this location.

“To date, we have not received much evidence of cycle/equestrian use over Brit View Road, and – as per the DMMO process - this is required to recommend the recording of a public bridleway.

"Any evidence should be sent to Barbara Talbott at Dorset Council –"

When this was raised to Mr Scally, he apologised for the confusion but stressed how implementing a bridleway is necessary as the route is a key cycling area in the town.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Cyclists near West Bay promenadeCyclists near West Bay promenade (Image: Chris Scally)

He said: “Dorset Council is correct, but the reality of the situation is still the same.  Members of the public are being asked to provide evidence that a bridleway is needed, and that is what I have been trying to help with.

“The council has said on several occasions that they have not received enough evidence that the route is used as a bridleway and, therefore, the assumption is a bridleway is not needed. I know of dozens of cyclists who use that route and have asked them to submit evidence.

“Strava indicates over 400 cyclists have used the route and only a small percentage of cyclists use Strava to record their rides, so that actual number of cyclists would be much higher than 400.”

Mr Scally also stressed how detrimental it would be to the Bridport’s cycling community if they were to lose public use of this route.

He said: “It would cut off pretty much a quarter of the routes around Bridport as it’s a large segment of the area for cycling around West Bay. It would be a big loss not just for cyclists but also for horse riders. It’s an important part of the public realm.”