Villagers in Cressage say they feel ‘frustrated and limited’ after their public footpaths have become impassable through lack of maintenance by Shropshire Council and landowners, despite pleading with the local authority to help.
Local Parish Councillor Rob Davies says “Tthe community has miles and miles of beautiful green open spaces, including the Severn Way, one of the most stunning walks in the Country which follows Britain’s longest river, and yet they can’t enjoy it because of lack of access through poorly maintained footpaths’”
Maria Richards who lives in Cressage told her story – “I set out on a beautiful morning to enjoy the countryside on a public footpath from my home in Cressage. I attempted to follow three different paths and all were impassable due to being overgrown with brambles, nettles, long grass etc and, in one case, because the ‘bridge’ did not reach the full way across the stream.”
Maria explains, “This is such a shame as we are all being encouraged to get out and enjoy the countryside more but cannot do so as it is unnecessarily inaccessible. A landowner has, I believe, a duty to maintain the path so that it can be used by the public. I hope action can be taken so that the public can enjoy the paths as they are described to be.”
Mr Davies says he has raised the issue directly with Shropshire Council and via the Parish Council but nothing has improved, and footpaths are still inaccessible and, in some cases, even dangerous.
He said: “The law is clear that obstructing a public right of way is a criminal offence. The highway authority (Shropshire Council) has the right to demand the removal of any obstruction. As well as this, Landowners must meet all their legal obligations regarding maintenance of public rights of way to claim Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments under cross-compliance.”