WESTMESTON JUBILEE PATHWAY TRUST
Registered Charity Number: 1095561
The objects of the Trust: In the parishes of Westmeston, Streat, Ditchling and Wivelsfield in Sussex, the provision and maintenance of pathways for public benefit.
Westmeston Parish Hall opened on the first day of the Millenium and immediately became a huge success, fulfilling a need in the community for a versatile venue serving a wide variety of events and organisations. The location of the hall at the extreme eastern end of the parish was accessible by car and bicycle but posed difficulties for people wishing to walk, owing to the lack of verges on the high roadside banks. The route along the carriageway was extremely hazardous, at any time, more so for children, and anyone during dusk and the hours of darkness. The parish council was by then meeting at the hall and a proposal was tabled with a view to creating a traffic free safe track from Church Corner to the hall.
Councillors Harold Rowling and Rob Mills formed an independent trust resulting in the construction of a surfaced track along the top of the bank on the south side of Lewes Road from Church Corner to the “V” bridleway, continuing on the north verge past Old Middleton to the entrance of the hall. This involved clearing, excavating and rolling in stone on a route that until then could only be traversed with difficulty. It was on ESCC Highway land. The project was financed by local fund raising, charitable gifts from local people, and grant aid. This was not paid for out of council tax, neither are the repairs and maintenance. The pathway proves its value on a daily basis with walkers and riders making use of the safe traverse. Additionally it links Westmeston Bostal and the “V” Bostal, creating a “circular” route joining South Downs Way opening up a spectacular vista. This was opened in time for Her Majesty’s golden jubilee.
Working on similar principles, the trustees built a similar pathway along an embankment on the south side of Lewes Road between Wapple Way and the wide green verge that runs through to a point opposite Spatham Lane. This track had an official opening at Hooks Acre attended by Norman Baker M.P. These two tracks were then linked by clearing a path for pedestrian use through the roadside copse on the north side between Wapple Way and Glebe cottages. This route continued east to the convergence of footpaths opposite April Cottage. It was achieved with the co-operation of private landowners granting the use of permissive paths along the inside of the hedge line.
The trustees aimed to provide a safe route along the B2116 Lewes Road between the parish boundaries of Ditchling and Streat. Linking up with all the footpaths and bridleways en-route. The next task was reclaiming an impassable track between Spatham Lane and Shirleys. This stretch was within Ditchling parish and on completion it at last enabled people to travel safely between the parishes on foot, bikes or horses. This was followed by surfacing the remaining stretch of verge from Hooks Acre to our track that meets Wapple Way.
The trust acknowledges the valuable help and co-operation from Monday Group, Footpaths Conservation Society and Mid Sussex Bridleways Group who allocated some funding. These volunteers contributed both financial and practical help in clearing rubbish and overgrowth along the path lines. Thanks go also to the many people who helped financially through our fund raising events and by personal contributions. The Turner Dumbrell Foundation, Ditchling Ball, Lottery and other charitable trusts provided vital help.
Our resources are concentrated on repair and maintenance. The pathways are in constant use by a variety of users and the heavy horse usage coupled with three years of extreme rainfall have caused wear and tear and damage to surfaces.
Jubilee Pathway Trust- Update 1st June 2017
The trust has been able to make much needed repairs to the section opposite Black Dog Farm which has been inspected by a local user!
More work has been completed on the section from Shirleys to Spatham Lane including a new drainage system which it is hoped will keep the surface drier in wet weather.
This has depleted the Trusts' funds but we are hoping for a donation from a local charitable organisation. All donations are gratefully received. Details are below.
31st May 2017
WESTMESTON JUBILEE PATHWAY TRUST. Reg. No: 1095561
Annual Report Y/E 5th April 2017.
The year has been the usual story of maintaining the pathways for the enjoyment of the public.
This effectively is Chairman’s solo labour, keeping the tracks clear of encroachment by weeds and undergrowth, trimming overhead branches and generally making good.
The input of one man limits the extent of work and this year it was considered necessary to purchase a grass/weed trimmer. Using a strimmer/brush cutter has limitations and prolonged use is physically tiring. The new machine is heavier but being on wheels is able to deliver greater power to the job without as much fatigue. It is a bigger undertaking nowadays because county Highways has a minimal schedule for mowing roadside verges. Last summer the weed height exceed 2 metres in places and made difficulties for walkers.
There had been an increasing problem with obstruction by itinerant car users, parking across the track opposite St. Martins Church. In November our contractor installed “Dragons’ Teeth” (bollards) along the roadside edge which have considerably reduced the nuisance, and our bank balance.
Whilst we enjoyed a much better winter for weather, there is now an accumulation of repairs required. Two areas at the Ditchling end have succumbed to water damage. A design for a remedial drainage and reinstatement has been discussed and we are now awaiting a price.
Our remaining fund, after allowing for the payment of public liability insurance is about £1400. This means that some grant aid is becoming urgent. As a solo operator I am not in a position to raise funds and therefore must look for help elsewhere. In the meantime, with a dry summer we can last for a while, but come winter we need to do the job.
R .B. Mills
Chairman of Trustees.
Chairman’s Annual Report 2016.
We are hoping that we will see drier weather through this summer and avoid expense in rebuilding parts of the track that had become very poached in the winter rains. Our funds are insufficient for any major work.
In the longer term we anticipate the need for some extensive repair work for which we will be seeking grant aid.
We also have in mind our possible involvement in the projected extension of footpath/bridleway to the east. This would be through Streat Parish along the south verge of the B2116. This is a worthwhile amenity for all users as it would provide a link to Streat Bostal.
Funds would be required for this and we will be looking to SDNP and other potential sources for help. It appears ESCC Highways is suffering from the usual static inertia, but we hope for positive news soon.
NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2014
We were delighted to receive a grant from Mid Sussex Bridleways Group to help maintain our pathways.
Thank you MSBG.
MSBG have supported us since the early days despite inexplicable negative attitudes from a narrow section of the public both then and now. We believe that membership of the Group denotes commitment and responsibility towards rights of way and we are always pleased to see members enjoying the facilities. They are usually recognisable from their disciplined riding style.
The Group has not asked us to recruit members but we suggest that everyone who appreciates the bridleways could make a positive contribution by joining. This organisation is there for all users whether walkers, cyclists or equestrians and all are welcome, for a very modest annual subscription. (See their website www.midsussexbridleways.org.uk.)
The future well-being of rights of way is likely to be threatened by the reduction in resources available to highway authorities, resulting in greater reliance on voluntary groups. We have been more fortunate in East Sussex than some other areas but do not be surprised to see constraints on finance in the future.
Jubilee Pathways whilst not bridleways are mainly sited on highway authority land, and their survival depends on voluntary work and fund raising. As we move into what seems likely to be yet another wet winter, our normally robust tracks are falling prey to the behavior of the maverick element of horse riders. One horse ridden at a gait faster than the walk can inflict more damage in these conditions than hundreds of walkers. This is after all a shared facility with no priority for equestrians. Walkers have complained to us about the difficulty of traversing churned up tracks. Repairs have almost exhausted our funds. We have in the past posted notices requesting restraint and in return experienced vitriolic and arrogant comment, and even vandalism. Other measures are being considered. It is not our wish to restrict the very rights that we are working to preserve, but to simply ask for responsible behaviour from users of our pathways.
We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and hope you will enjoy being out on the paths and bridleways over the holiday.
Rob Mills Chairman Trustees.
WESTMESTON JUBILEE PATHWAY TRUST
Registered Charity number: 1095561
Chairman’s Annual Report for year ended 05/04/2014.
The objects of the Trust; “in the parishes of Westmeston, Streat, Ditchling and Wivelsfield in Sussex, the provision and maintenance of pathways for public benefit.”
Last year’s report noted the detrimental effects that two very wet winters had on the condition of the pathways and our plans to carry out substantial repairs.
Thanks to generous grants from The Turner-Dumbrell Foundation and the Ditchling Charity Ball we had enough money to achieve our objective of restoring the track beds to a high standard for all users.
It was therefore very disappointing to see the heavy rainfalls start in October 2013 and the continuous impact of surface water throughout the winter causing damage at various places, some of them recently repaired, and other stretches which until then had been satisfactory.
We are now poised to rebuild these parts, not only mainly small areas, but with a particular length of pathway adjacent to Black Dog Hill where it is narrow and subject to heavy erosion from horses.
This brings up an issue that while the facility is for all users whether on horseback or foot, there are some conditions where and when riders could have exercised discretion by avoiding these parts. The result means that it has become impassable for some walkers, putting the less able at risk from slipping and having to negotiate deep mud. Effectively this has isolated people in the eastern parts of Westmeston from what should be a pleasant walk to Ditchling.
Additionally, whilst the majority of riders act responsibly, we have received complaints from the public and witnessed for ourselves a certain Maverick element who ride at speeds and gaits unsuited to the conditions. Not only is this a danger to themselves and other users but it creates a disproportionate amount of wear and tear and damage to our surfaces. As these tracks are built on Highway Authority land we are unable to separate the use by walkers and riders. It is also a fact that the Mid Sussex Bridleways Group have supported the Trust and contributed by direct labour and funding. To restrict usage would be unfair to these responsible riders.
Our aims are to continue care of the pathways as any extension is financially beyond us. We have funds sufficient for our next repair project but will be left without a realistic reserve. We are hoping for funding from supportive charitable organsations. The nature of the work requires a contractor with heavy machinery and direct voluntary labour would not help at this stage.
Donations to The Jubilee Pathway Charitable Trust to:
Chairman, Rob Mills
Hooks Acre, Lewes Road, BN6 8RH