I read with interest Jeannie Knight’s article (West Sussex Gazette February 8 about the re-surfacing and re-opening of Bridleway 2612 in Ashington.
This has been in serious need of re-surfacing for several years and it is really good that it is now passable and hopefully will continue to be for many years to come. Jeannie says that it makes an attractive circular ride using Rock Road or Warminghurst Lane and Park Lane but I wonder if she realises how dangerous it is to ride from Rock Road along the A24 dual carriageway Ashington/Washington bypass to Malthouse Lane to access the Bridleway. This is an extremely fast moving part of the A24 and very dangerous for riders to use.
Although Rock Road is a country road it is still quite busy for riders to use and those from Newhouse Farm stables would need to use Rock Road to get to or from the Bridleway or the A24 dual carriageway to get to Ashington Village and then on to Warminghurst Lane and Park Lane to make the circular ride.
Riders from Ashington Village are unable to access this Bridleway because of the dangers of riding along the A24 dual carriageway from Mill Lane to the start of the Bridleway at Malthouse Lane and West Sussex County Council and Ashington Parish Council failed dismally to make sure that a safe route was created when the A24 was made a dual carriageway and it has been out-of-bounds to Ashington riders since. The only way the Bridleway can be accessed from Ashington Village is via Warminghurst Lane and Park Lane to the Bridleway and then to end at Malthouse Lane where there is no alternative but to re-trace steps because of the dangers of riding along the A24 to Mill Lane and Ashington Village.
I have been trying for 15 years plus to get a safe link from Ashington Village to Bridleway 2612 and have been thwarted at every turn. In order to make a safe route it would mean upgrading a Footpath to Bridleway Status whether it be a permanent route of a West Sussex County Council Rights of Way Department Permissive route with a stated time limit.
Various routes have been suggested and then rejected by the Parish Council and local Landowners. I believe part of the Footpath that needs to be upgraded passes over land owned by the Parish Council. However there are also Landowners along the Footpath that will not grant permission to pass over even a small piece of their land, here we have the NIMBY brigade who seem to think that there will dozens of horses/cyclists using the route everyday which is most unlikely.
The Government have stated that there should be Sustainable Transport Links and the upgrading to Bridleway Status of this Footpath would mean a safe route for riders, cyclists and anyone else who chooses to use the route to get to the neighbouring villages of Thakeham and Storrington in a safe way and access to many other Bridleways and Footpaths in the area.
Mary Davis (Mrs)