One woman’s campaign to clear a public byway heralded a success!
Anna Bruce embarked on a campaign to unearth a public byway from overgrown brambles after it had become almost impassable.
Deep, thick mud and overgrown headges on the public byway between Silver Street and Flexford Lane in Hordle, near Sway meant that the community found it almost impossible to use.
One 150m section of the byway was once so boggy that, Anna Bruce, recorded her horse sinking 17inches into the mud.
Anna said: “I just stopped using the byway as a rider and then it gradually became increasingly overgrown and impassable.
“I woke up and decided my New Year’s Resolution was to make the byway useable for all.”
First gathering the support of the landowners, Marcus de Kaldam and Alex McClure, and Hordle Parish Council, Anna then submitted two separate bids to Hampshire County Council to create 150m of surfaced track, improve ditching and cut back overgrown hedgerows.
Anna said: “I worked closely with Hampshire County Council and the New Forest National Park Authority staff to make a case for funding the works – not only to address the deep mud but also enable it to become a viable alternative route for cyclists, walkers and horse riders from Silver Street where ‘near-miss’ incidents are frighteningly commonplace.”
She secured more than £8,000, including £4,000 from the county council and £2,000 from NFPA.
A £300 donation came from the parish council and county councillor Fran Carpenter offered £300 as well.
Residents who live near the route, donated the remaining funds needed.
Anna said: “I was astonished by the wonderful support from nearby residents, many of whom I’d never met but who had tales of being bogged down or attacked by brambles when they had tried to use the byway.”
Caroline O’Callaghan supported the project. She said: “When I moved in to South Sway Lane six years ago, I had raised queries to having the route improved as it was rarely passable.
“I was told there was no funding available and believed that was that but thanks to Anna’s determined efforts and everyone who made the work possible, having this walk is such a treat and has really changed my life for the better.”
It goes to show, we do not always have to rely on groups such as GLASS, TRF or CALM to clear byways and keep them open, we can all do our bit as responsible byway users.