( Apologies for the abbreviated nature, and many abbreviations used, in this report as it is a transcript of the various meetings minutes ! It is useful though so it is included here in full. )


E-ON Rampion Offshore Windfarm:   The Development Consent Order (DCO) application for this project has now been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate and all documents can be found on the Rampion page of the PI website .   The Onshore Cable Route affects over 30 RoW in the county with various temporary closures/diversions being proposed, document 8.3 is the public rights of way strategy.   I have registered as an "interested party", so as to be kept informed by the PI of progress of the application.   Document 8.3 is the Public Rights of Way Strategy.   For further info you can contact  

South Downs LAF:    The LAF met on 18th April in Steyning.  Draft 5yr SDNP Management Plan will be out for public consultation around end of June.

Presentation from Andy Gattiker - following  review of National Trails NE have published The New Deal - Management of National Trails in England from April 2013 (,  setting out new management model for NTs to be up and running in 2015/16.  NE wish to set same standards across all NTs, local managers to produce data on management,  importance of local delivery accountable to local users and stakeholders.  Trail funding linked to formula, 50% based on length of trail,  20% additional "special feature" payment (SDW is BW), 30% how complicated to manage and other income (mainly from HAs).    SDW likely to be one of the first trails to meet management model.

NE has appointed NT website manager, so new SDW website in summer.   Baseline audit of SDW to be carried out, NE looking for improving trend of quality management over 2/3 yrs, but criteria for failure not yet defined especially for structures.  NE only have two NT contacts, north and south.  AG would like to expand SDW steering group, whose members at present are funding partners (HAs and SDNPA), to include user involvement through LAF.   It was agreed AG will circulate quarterly report on steering group to LAF members along with proposed SDW work programmes, for info and comment.

LAF then made site visit to Annington Hill to discuss various issues raised by arrival of pig farm!!

West Sussex LAF:   The LAF met on 24th April in Chichester.  Network Rail attended to discuss report they had supplied to Forum on 9 priority prow level crossing closures (none of which are BWs).

Of interest is the closure of a FP crossing in Itchingfield, with a proposal to divert users on to the level crossing on BW 1616.  NR were were asked if they would provide funding for surface improvements to the crossing/BW and the response was favourable (if agreement is reached on the FP closure), NR asked that an estimate for the work  be provided.

Jon Perks presented a written WSCC RoW Annual Report.  The Forum is making good progress with a number of projects on the RoWIP, and the Rangers north of the SDNP now have a list of projects for initial investigation which can be undertaken during their Parish inspections.   New projects can be added to the RoWIP at any time, so if you have ideas for creation/upgrading of RoW (safety grounds being the highest priority) please let Tricia know.

The next meeting will be on Wed 24th July at 10.30am, venue County Hall North, Horsham with possible site visit to Tilgate Forest).

Network Rail (BW Level Crossings):   NR has been restructuring and there are now two level crossing managers for West Sussex (Clive Robey and Michael Farley), a map is being provided to show exactly which areas they are responsible for.  Emma Robinson has recently joined NR as  Liability Negotiations Adviser, and has been assisting regarding concerns about the level crossings on Itchingfield BW 1616 and Billingshurst BW 1911.   If you ride these routes and would like more info please contact Tricia.

Crawley BW dedications:   Following CBC's agreement to three BW dedications in Jan.  WSCC are now consulting amenity groups, CLCs, and relevant Cllrs.  Closing date for comments is 23rd May.  If all goes well WSCC will then prepare the documents for CBCs signature.  I am told not to expect completion of all this until the end of the summer, the wheels of local government turn very slowly!!!

Downs Link:  Through WSLAF and with the help of WSCC, I have been investigating an alternative route for the DL at Bramber, to avoid the at-grade crossing of the busy and dangerous A283.  The alternative would involve a small detour to pass under the road bridge which carries the A283 over the River Adur.  The land ownership on the north side of the A283 is complicated, due to the field being sold off in small plots by a management company, but it may be possible to create a route along a strip that surrounds the field previously owned by a company that was dissolved in 2012, and I am in touch with a department of the Treasury Solicitors office to pursue this.

Burgess Hill Green Circle:   At the RoW Committee meeting on 26th Feb, approval was given for WSCC to enter into appropriate path creation agreements with MSDC to upgrade and formally dedicate a number of multi-use permissive paths around the south western edge of Burgess Hill.  The desire now is to do the same around the northern edge!

Balcombe DMMO 5/06 (Greentrees Farm):   No objections were received to the Inspectors proposed modifications  to this Order.   The Inspectors final decision that the Order should be confirmed with the modifications proposed was received on 12th March.    The successful establishment of this BW link between Balcombe and Crawley is excellent news, in an area where off-road routes are thin on the ground.   The route is impassable at present and a site visit was made on 29th April to establish the line of the path on the ground and discuss putting together a plan for the work needed to make the route usaable.   Work will start with clearance by volunteers probably in the autumn.

A23 Handcross to Warninglid widening scheme:   The earthworks on this scheme were badly delayed by last year's terrible weather, and HA have been looking at various proposals to save further costs and mitigate delays.  A decision has been made to deposit material excavated from the site into the field west of the scheme, south of Staplefield Road, near the Slaugham junction.then to plant into the re profiled area.  As part of this proposal HA have consulted on alterations to the line of the NMU route, to take it further away from the road around the southwest side of the new balancing pond and through the newly planted area.   All NMUs consider this a welcome improvement as it will provide a route through a pleasant woodland rather than alongside the A23!    This route is planned for construction in Spring 2014.   The Handcross slip road BW link path is due for construction in Phase 3 (late 2014).   The underpass is being constructed in four sections and also due for completion late 2014.   The real task now is the creation of a BW route on the eastern side of the A23 from the underpass to Staplefield Lane.

WSCC PRoW funding for 2013/2014:  The WSCC financial year runs from 1st April, and the Revenue budget will be the same as previously + inflation (approx £520K/£525K).   The Capital budget will be the same as previously (£350K).    This is very good news, as the large reductions in budgets experienced in neighbouring counties have been avoided, largely due to a number of very supportive Councillors.     

Independent Panel on Forestry:    The Government response to the Panel's report was published on 31st Jan, in general there is agreement with the recommendations and some specific proposals have been made.  Key general messages are - Public Forest Estate to remain in public ownership - New body to be created alongside the FC to hold the land in trust - Aim to work with forest and woodland landowners to improve public access - Local Nature Partnerships and Local Enterprise Partnerships (many woodland aspects could be incorporated including access and recreation).

Specific access and recreation messages to achieve social and community benefits:  Work with the sector in seeking funding for possible future initiatives aimed at developing local access - Provide guidance to assist LAs in reviewing RoWIPs, with a particular emphasis on woodland access improvements - Fund a pilot project to assess and improve the condition, quality, and connectivity of PRoW for woodland access by foot, cycle and horse.

WSCC I-Map:   WSCC's Interactive Map now shows the SDNP boundary.  A review of the Map is being conducted this year, so if there is anything you would like changed/added please let Tricia know so that she can inform the officers concerned.  Possible changes already suggested include, showing permissive path status, adding G-roads, showing unavailable paths.

SDW Annington Hill:    Negotiations are still going on to improve the situation here following the arrival of the pig farm in the summer.   Christine Supiot has met with the landowner and SDNPA officers and secured agreement to new fencing on the south side of the path, improved signage, and repair of the surface where tractors cross the path, for which I'm sure riders are very grateful!!  Electric fencing on the northern side is still causing concern, although it is a long way back from the BW.

Knepp Estate:   A small number of pigs roam free on this estate, and a rider recently had a nasty experience when her horse was spooked by them.   The incident has been reported to all concerned, but it would be helpful to know of any other experiences local riders may have had whilst using the BWs on the Estate, so if anyone has any info please let Tricia know.

Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme:  This Environment Agency flood prevention scheme between Selsey and Bracklesham is planned to deliver a number of new FPs, cycleways and bridlepaths  to improve off-road links between Selsey, Earnley and other villages.   The Manhood Peninsular Partnership has been working to progress these ideas which will be of great benefit to local NMUs.

WSCC User Group:   The Group met on 26th Feb, among items discussed was WSCC Enforcement Policy with handouts supplied of their Enforcement Process and Enforcement Hazard Guide.   There was general agreement that  problems occurred due to the long timescales involved, but shortage of resources within the PRoW team are to blame.

A new IT system is due to be rolled out in PRoW in March 2013 and it is hoped this will improve the availability of management information.

Comment was made on the difficulty in creating RoW on WSCC owned land, especially if it was being considered for sale.  It was agreed that WSLAF be asked to write to the Property Dept to promote greater access.

Some opportunities have arisen to investigate reclassification of G roads and these will be taken up as they arise, WSCC will always look for RB status.      Next meeting will be late June/early July.

Bignor BWs:  The farmland around Bignor is owned by the National Trust with Tom Tupper as tenant farmer.   The land benefits from EU grants and is in the HLS scheme.  Compliance with certain rules concerning the management of scrub, which has been an ongoing problem for many years (as I understand it), has become a priority.   For many years the option of fencing and grazing has been considered as a management tool, and to the dismay of many, work started in April on the clearance of yew trees and the installation of gates on a number of RoW (including the SDW), with WSCC permission for stock control.  Fencing is being put in, with the intention of introducing cattle (Sussex) owned by Mr Tupper in the autumn.  It would seem SDNPA are supportive of the work with DEFRA consenting/contributing to the work through their HLS scheme.   NT have agreed that all gates will be padlocked open when cattle are not present, and a permissive route outside of the fenced area is being created.   I have spoken to Mr Tupper who has not yet decided  how many cattle will be used, and for how long (a period of a couple of months was mentioned), but he has said he will keep me informed as soon as decisions are made.  Locally, there is much opposition!!!.  

Unclassified County Roads:   LARA, a land access and recreation association for motorised  vehicles, has produced an advice note on unsealed unclassified roads titled Their History, Status, and the Effect of the Natural Environment & Rural Communities Act 2006.   The note is really putting forward their belief that "the origins and management of these roads, when properly researched, clearly point to their being "roads", and that they should therefore be open to 4x4s and motorcycles.  You can download the paper at 


Chichester Draft Local Plan

E-ON Rampion Wind Farm application 

Sussex Wildlife Trust - Fencing at Graffham

Back to previous page