Self-closing bridleway gates at Pirbright

Self-closing bridleway gates at Pirbright

The attached plan and video of a double equine gate may give you some idea of the problems with self-closing gates. It’s on a bridleway which crosses the busy Pirbright- Brookwood road at the village end of Cemetery Pales. It’s so bad that riders have stopped using this bridleway and ride down the road instead.  50mph traffic is literally safer than trying to get through these. There have been some horrific injuries from this type of gate, a fact admitted by Surrey Wildlife Trust, although they put this down to poor installation or maintainance. Example pictures of injuries to horses are on a separate page - not for the squeamish [LINK]

 The problems are:

1. The closing mechanism has no resistance, ie no hydraulic mechanism to slow the closing. Closing time is about four seconds from fully open to fully closed;  if you didn’t get your horse clear in about two and a half seconds it or you would be hit. They also close with a considerable "clunk" that could startle a nervous horse.  Hydraulic mechanisms are currently not available on wooden gates because they are not strong enough to handle the weight. They are only available on metal gates  Natural England will apparently  only allow wooden gates.

2. There are no mounting blocks so it is difficult to dismount and remount if you do not want to ride through the gates.

3. There are now more signs on and around the gates which are off putting for horses.  The main road is right behind you.

4.  The gate enclosure is not big enough for a large horse to manoeuvre in for a mounted rider to reach the gate levers easily. If the horse stops before reaching the second gate the first gate will hit it.

5.  The video clip below shows the gates closing in 3 seconds from the fully open position.

6.  These gates have now been condemned as unsafe by the British Horse Society.

 Real Player gate closing video.