County council urged to clear more footpaths in Ripe and Five Ashes

Jill Phillips, Church Farm Stud, Ripe. Footpaths in a mess and over grown. SUS-140819-111243001
Jill Phillips, Church Farm Stud, Ripe. Footpaths in a mess and over grown. SUS-140819-111243001

Two residents are calling on East Sussex County Council to include a bridleway in Ripe and right of way in Five Ashes in plans to give footpaths in the area a revamp.

Over the next few weeks county council contractors will be working on a total of 11 footpaths to help make it easier for walkers, cyclists and riders to enjoy the countryside.

But Jill Phillips, from Ripe, said a bridleway near Eckington Corner which is overgrown and muddy has not been included on the list. The bridleway runs past Eckington Manor, past Church Farm and on to Dean Lane. She said she has cleared the area herself for around 30 years but after the recent wet winter it is now so overgrown, she was unable to do the same this year.

She said: “Local people ride over it on their horses. I used to get out there with my secateurs and cut it back. I used to also use the tractor. But after the latest wet winter, it is completely overgrown and muddy and I can’t cut it back and I daren’t risk it on the tractor in case I get stuck. A lot of people walk here and can’t use it any more.”

Mrs Tollworthy said there was a similar case with a right of way off Leeds Lane, in Five Ashes.

She said: “It is used by residents and walkers to cut through to Five Ashes village. We have been using it for 35 years and I suppose 15 years ago it was done. But there is now a wet patch there and it has become impassable. The Highways Agency came out and put two signs either side of it to warn people that it is there. We wish to be able to ride that way on our horses. We can’t use the main road either because there is so much traffic, it is just too dangerous.”

A spokesman for the county council said: “As an authority we are responsible for maintaining around 2,000 miles of footpaths, bridleways and byways, and as part of our routine maintenance work we endeavour to deal with any problems that arise as quickly as possible. We are aware there is a problem with water on a byway at Five Ashes and we plan to carry out remedial work on this route before the end of the summer. We would like to thank Jill Phillips for making us aware of the issues at the footpath in Ripe and we will be speaking to her to obtain further details to see how we can ensure this path remains easily accessible.”