Natural England has announced it will provide £117,000 from the Paths for Communities scheme to fund the construction of a new bridleway running alongside the River Ouse linking the villages of Rodmell and Southease.
The new route will form another link in the chain of The Egrets Way, a new network of safe routes connecting Ouse Valley villages and linking Lewes to Newhaven.
The first section from Lewes to Kingston is currently under construction and nearing completion.
The new bridleway will run along the foot of the bank, parallel with the existing footpath running along the top of the river bank which will remain in place. It will provide access for cyclists, horseriders and the less able and be welcomed by local people and visitors to the new Itford Youth Hostel as a valuable connection to the South Downs Way.
Neville Harrison, Chairman of the Ouse Valley Cycle Network Project, the local organisation which aims to create The Egrets Way, said: “We couldn’t be more pleased. This grant means work on a second section of the Egrets Way can follow close on the completion of the first and demonstrates that our OVCN Project is well on its way.
“This community-led undertaking couldn’t be achieved without support from major partners including the South Downs National Park, Sustrans, East Sussex County Council, the Environmentgency and, crucially, local landowners.”
Planning permission for the Rodmell to Southease section is already in place and it is hoped that construction will begin early in the autumn as the grant stipulates completion by the end of February, 2014. There is a lot of work to be done in order to meet this deadline, £12,000 is yet to be raised but The OVCN Project Committee is confident that this will be achieved in the time available.
Further information about the Egrets Way can be found on the OVCN website www.ovcn.org.uk
The Natural England award is made under the Paths for Communities scheme to link rural communities as part of the Rural Development Programme for England.