Collaboration leads to more cleared crossfield paths

Collaboration leads to more cleared crossfield paths

Essex County Council and Essex Area Ramblers (EAR) have teamed up to ensure crossfield public paths, that are being obstructed by growing crops, are cleared for walkers.

Essex has an extensive network of just under 4,000 miles of Public Rights of Way (PRoW). They enable us to take in some fresh air amid the natural beauty of the county’s landscapes.

Sometimes, however, footpaths across arable fields are unwalkable because they have been ploughed or obstructed by crops.

Farmers are legally required to reinstate them but sometimes neglect to do so.

Essex Highways and members of the EAR agreed a process, involving greater EAR involvement in reporting and monitoring issues on crossfield footpaths. Members help to identify a longstanding problem path, report the issue using the online tool and at the same time forward the report with a photograph.

The Landowner or farmer can then be contacted and take whatever action is necessary to ensure the footpath is suitably reinstated.

EAR members also agreed to help with the follow-up, checking paths that the landowner/ farmer had stated were clear where there was no photograph provided or where there had been no response.

Councillor Lee Scott, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said “I am thrilled with the collaboration we have created with the Essex Area Ramblers. It has meant that this summer we were able to enforce 30% more cropped crossfield paths than previous years.

"By ensuring these routes are clear and safe we are one step closer to a safer, greener and healthier Essex. All we ask is that walkers stick to the routes and follow the countryside code.”

Last updated 24 December 2021