Chris Smith, Footpath
Secretary, Ramblers Association, Arlington
All around Sussex there are public footpaths and bridleways,
which must legally be kept open to access for the general
public to walk along. But if you go for a walk today you could
find yourself fighting through six foot of maize. In various
parts of East Sussex farmers have ploughed up paths and planted
crops on them to discourage walkers from coming on their land.
In the Arlington and Berwick areas there is a particular problem
with maize, which grows so thick and high that it is impenetrable
by mid July.
The picture on the right, taken in June, shows paths over-planted
with this crop on Bridleway 24 between Berwick and Upper Dicker.
This situation has come about because East Sussex County Council
refuses to take action. They have powers to prosecute landowners
who do this and should use them. It is unfair on landowners
who are careful to maintain the rights of way on their land
and unfair to walkers too. Other problems can include barbed
wire fences and impenetrable hedges across paths, non-existent
bridges and misleading signs. If you come across a problem
like this while out walking, contact the Rights of Way Section
at County Hall, Lewes and keep checking with them till something