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 is done.


Right of way: if you happen to have a machete, that is