Eyesore Alfriston power lines removed

Power lines used to spoil the view at Alfriston
Power lines used to spoil the view at Alfriston
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Walkers and residents were celebrating last week along with Alfriston wine producers after more than a mile of power lines were removed.

English sparkling wine producers Rathfinny Wine Estates cracked open the bubbly when UK Power Networks completed a project on June 25 to take down 1.4 miles of power lines, poles and equipment in the South Downs National Park.

The £426,513 improvements were funded by the electricity distributor’s £6.6million initiative to enhance nationally-protected landscapes.

New underground cables have been laid to replace the power lines on the wine estate and National Trust’s Frog Firle Estate.

Mark Driver, from the Rathfinny Wine Estate, said: “It was lovely to see the overhead power lines disappear from both the Cuckmere and Cradle Valley. Removing them has really improved this beautiful part of the South Downs.”

Shaun Barrell, UK Power Networks’ protected areas project officer, said: “The power lines have been a permanent feature of this beautiful landscape for many years, delivering essential power supplies to the area.

“We welcome the chance to restore the landscape to how it might have looked before the electricity network was built while maintaining reliable power supplies.”

There would be more schemes to come in the National Park, said Pete Currell, from the South Downs National Park Authority.

“It’s great to see UK Power Networks taking advantage of this funding to improve the spectacular landscapes of the South Downs National Park,” he said.

“Walkers can also appreciate the improved views on a new access trail through the Rathfinny Estate.

“This underground cabling is just one of three schemes happening in the National Park over the next two years and we hope that we’ll be able to announce two more in the very near future.”

Removing the power lines will also improve views from public footpaths near the Cuckmere River and educational and farm buildings on the National Trust’s Frog Firle Estate.

Jane Cecil, general manager for the National Trust’s South Downs portfolio, said: “We now all have our open sky views back – and they are magnificent.”

Alfriston village is a magnet for tourists attracted by the old buildings, countryside, walking and cycling.

The village has a rare 14th century Clergy House, which was the first building to be purchased by the National Trust in 1896.