In recent month Rye News has seen an increase in the number of comments from readers raising their concerns about paths and rights of way around Rye being blocked.
Last week several readers asked who had blocked the shortcut to Rye Golf Club (see footnote), which has existed for some years and links the Sustrans walking and cycling path to the River Rother and on to Camber Sands. Also this week a reader asks why a long established footpath in farmland near Leasam Lane has been blocked.
Landowners blocking paths and rights of way around Rye looks to be on the increase, at the same time as walking becomes more important and popular with residents and visitors. For those paths not yet officially identified as rights of way, one reason could be linked to an Act of Parliament passed in 2000.
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act gave a 25-year deadline by which time all the ancient rights of way across England must be catalogued. Those rights of way in England not catalogued would then be lost forever (Wales and Scotland have taken a very different approach and are opening up their countryside to walkers).
Walkers in Rye should be concerned. The Ramblers estimate that 49,000 miles of paths, some very popular, could be lost forever ‘unless we come together to save them’ they say. This is why the Ramblers have launched their Don’t Lose Your Way campaign. They are asking the nation’s walkers to document their local paths and research the ancient rights of way that may have been blocked by landowners in the past.
The Ramblers are compiling a map of footpaths that have so far been identified and have hosted it on their website. Many of you will look at the map and see that a number of paths around Rye are missing so there is still much work to be done locally.
One such example is the lost right of way that links Rye to Camber Sands along the river Rother. This right of way is still listed as such on ESCC maps but has, over the years, been lost under salt marsh and will not be reinstated. The path has been partly replaced by a ‘permissive path’ that runs along the old Tramway on Rye Golf Club land – but it’s not clear how long Rye Golf Club will give their permission.
Footnote: Rye News has contacted Rye Golf Club to ask for their response to the concerns raised by our readers and to also outline their plans for the footpaths that criss-cross the golf course. At the time of writing, we have yet to receive a response but will publish it when we do.
Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy .