LETTER: Balanced debate needed

I read with amusement the comments about why there were objections to the bridleway being moved a short distance up at Lewes Old Racecourse.

Only a fraction of the bridleway is affected and by moving it a short distance it will enable the landowner to have larger paddocks for horses on his land to graze in rather than smaller paddocks with the bridleway running through the middle of them.

I appreciate that those who choose to go and ‘walk’ up in the area will possibly have to walk another 25 yards or so if they follow the new route round but there are a couple of points that need to be considered here.

Firstly if you choose to go for a walk why would you then moan about walking another few yards? Secondly the landowner has put a gate at the end of the ‘new proposed bridleway’ and therefore actually the distance walked is likely to be less.

Additionally from what I hear it was the council that insisted on the ‘new bridleway’ bending round to the existing one due to concerns over safety out on to the private motor road. The landowner seems to be trying to fall in with council recommendations and suggestions. It was also highlighted that the old existing bridleway and the new proposed one is narrower and two horses could not pass one another. That is clearly not the case for anyone who wants to investigate this claim by going and having a look and taking a measuring tape of simply putting two horses side by side on the bridleways. However, for those making the claim about that I would welcome their support in joining me to campaign about all the areas of the bridleway within a two-mile radius of these bridleways, including those on National Trust land, which are too narrow to allow barely one horse through. And perhaps they will stand side by side with me to campaign about the gates that are difficult to open and the barbed wire left lying around which impact on us horse riders. As a horse owner and rider I am more than aware lots of the moaning about this proposed alteration of the bridleway is not from those who ride as I know most of us welcome a decently maintained, wide and accessible route.

Also I noted the concerns raised about not being able to view the valley to the west from the short section of the bridleway that would be marginally diverted. However, it is possible to still see the valley from other parts of the bridleway with an even clearer view. Would those who are moaning prevent trees being grown within the area as that would also impact their view? They need not dismay though or miss out on the views of the valley because they can walk on the footpath on the other side of the gallops which circles directly around the valley and offers them far superior views of it. That way they need not walk on the bridleway section at all that is being diverted. Problem solved.

Finally I would like to say that the new smart, wooden fencing is a big improvement on what was there before and certainly much more appealing than that erected by one of the other residence in the area who seems to be fencing off the entire old gallops area and grazing it to dust.

I’d appreciate you publishing this to give a balanced debate as feel certain that most of the anti brigade hardly walk or ride up in the area which I have used almost daily for the past 25 years. I both walk my dog and ride my horses and very much feel that the Old Racecourse area should be maintained for horses and particularly training racehorses in respect of the heritage of the area.

J Watson

Highdown Road

Lewes