Farmers in east Suffolk have been accused of failing to maintain footpaths through their land posing “absolutely horrendous” challenges for walkers seeking to enjoy the countryside.

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Framlingham Town Council’s Rights of Way and Lighting committee has suggested appointing a “footpath warden” to monitor the situation after receiving public complaints about the extent of the problem.

Councillor Richard Parlone said he had encountered the issue first-hand when walking his dog, returning home “totally green” on one occasion after being forced to battle through the overgrown vegetation that was blocking his path.

“There are some landowners who are going out of their way to make it difficult for walkers,” he said. “It would be useful of we had someone out there keeping an eye on the
farmers and reporting back.”

While many of the region’s
footpaths were said to have been well maintained, other areas were of great concern for councillors.

Cally Leeper described the access along some routes as being “absolutely horrendous”. “There’s no way you can get through,” she added.

Brian Finnerty, regional communications manager with the National Farmers Union in East Anglia, said: “The vast majority of farmers take their responsibilities regarding rights of way very seriously and some members have set up
permissive paths on their land so the public can enjoy the countryside.

“We advise members to avoid the risk of legal action by ensuring rights of way are delineated and free of crops.

“We also produce a business guide with advice on maintaining rights of way, which is available from our website.”

Town clerk Eileen Coe, speaking after the meeting, said the council carried out regular patrols of footpaths in the area and invited people to report any problem to her or the county council.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said farmers are obliged to clear paths and had 14 days to reinstate a footpath after planting a new crop, after which time the authority had legal powers to enforce those duties.

Blocked pathways can be reported to the SCC Rights of Way & Access Team on 08456 606 6067.

5 comments

  • Has your dog complained about always going on the same walk? And, more importantly, do you keep it on a lead at all times? You can't expect farmers to welcome people with loose dogs.

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    Boris

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • It's always a pain trying to find new routes to walk the dog, I've had to abandon several walks because the farmers just haven't bothered with the footpath. Having said that, there are a lot of farmers in Suffolk who have done a great job of maintaining footpaths. The Footpaths around Onehouse and Haughley Green are lovely to walk along.

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    snippeh

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • It is still possible to call the SCC switchboard on 01473 583000 & ask for the Rights of Way & Access Team.

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    Are you sure about that?

    Sunday, July 20, 2014

  • Ironic that people are supposed to ring an 0845 number to report this, just a crude revenue raising tactic by SCC

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    BoBoBolinski

    Sunday, July 20, 2014

  • Landowners around StowmarketNeedham do a great job maintaining footpaths, it is always a joy to walk there with my groups.

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    walkingman

    Sunday, July 20, 2014

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