Work starts on improving access to countryside site

Volunteers have already started improvement work on the footpath
Volunteers have already started improvement work on the footpath

Volunteers have begun working to improve a footpath which runs through a beauty spot between Hastings and Bexhill.

The work will see resurfacing of the path, which borders the Combe Valley Countryside Park, improvement to steps and a new ramp installed to make it more accessible.

Volunteers work to clear the path for visitors

Volunteers work to clear the path for visitors

It will also see remedial work on the bridges the route passes over, drainage improvements and the installation of new benches and picnic tables to allow people to enjoy the countryside views.

Ownership of the path, which follows the route of the former Bexhill to Crowhurst railway line, is in the process of being transferred from Rother District Council to the Combe Valley Countryside Park Community Interest Company (CIC).

The company and the managing agent for the park, environmental charity Groundwork South, have teamed up with civil engineering company McNicholas, which is providing volunteers, equipment and specialist support for the project.

Cllr Angharad Davies, chair of the Combe Valley Countryside Park CIC, said: “This is a really exciting scheme which shows our commitment to enhancing and improving this much-loved route and opening access to the countryside park.

“We’re very grateful to McNicholas for providing us with volunteers and expertise to allow us to improve accessibility to the path and to open up some of the stunning views visitors to it can enjoy.”

The path is a gateway to the countryside park, which occupies a 2.5 square mile site, including a two-mile stretch of coastline at Bulverhythe, and boasts a variety of flora and fauna.

In September 2016, Rother District Council’s cabinet agreed to transfer ownership of the path, which runs close to the north east Bexhill development site earmarked for new housing and employment space, to the CIC and is in the process of completing this arrangement.

Cllr Ian Jenkins, district council cabinet member for young people, sport and leisure, said: “Transferring ownership of the land to the community organisation which is already doing such a great job of managing the countryside park will ensure it is protected for generations to come. The work currently being carried out will enhance the footpath so it can be enjoyed by current users and future residents and employees of the new homes and businesses which will come to north east Bexhill.”

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