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Abbotsford woman Ulli Graham said she fell from her horse Lucy when it stumbled in a ''1m deep rut'' on Abbots Hill Rd on Wednesday.
The road was closed to vehicles but the ''deep ruts'' made by 4WDs remained.
Rubbish was dumped on the road and the gorse and broom was ''closing in'' to the middle of the road.
The deep ruts, unruly weeds and dumped rubbish - including gas bottles, car parts and lawn clippings - deemed the once desirable road unusable.
''You can't walk, ride a horse or cycle because it's so overgrown. It hasn't been looked after . . . it's a real shame.''
The council should clean it up because many people would use it, she said.
Dunedin City Council transportation policy engineer Jon Visser said part of Abbots Hill Rd was ''unformed legal road'' and was not intended for public use.
Although the public had a legal right to use an unformed legal road, the council was not obliged to maintain it and did not maintain it.
People could use the road at their own risk, Mr Visser said.
''There is no expectation it is safe and reasonable to use.''
Many unformed legal roads in Dunedin had hazards such as cliffs, bush, rivers, uneven land.
The council put a locked gates and signs across both ends of Abbotts Hill Rd to deter the public from damaging the road or dumping rubbish in it, he said.
A council contractor had mowed gorse on Abbots Hill Rd about two years ago because the council was required to stop noxious weeds spreading.
If there was a desire from the public for the council to form and maintain a track in an area, the idea should be proposed to the local community board to gain support and funding, he said.