Consultation on Footpath 1, Lower Souldern Grounds Farmposted 29 Dec 2016, 13:04 by David Carlisle
OCC have asked the Parish Council to take part in an informal consultation into the possible diversion of footpath 1, which currently runs through Lower Souldern Grounds farm. Joe Abernethy of Lower Souldern Grounds attended the Parish Council meeting on 17th November 2016 to outline the new route. Details are below, and in the maps (which link to the original PDF documents).
As only a small number of villagers were at the meeting, further comments on the proposal would be helpful in informing the Parish Council response to OCC. Please send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, by 21st January 2017. If the proposal proceeds to a formal application, there will be further opportunity for comments to be made directly to OCC at that stage.
The Footpath to be Diverted
The existing footpath to be diverted (A-B) begins to the east of Lower Souldern Grounds which lies to the south-west of the M 40 motorway (Point A). It runs westwards along the farm drive into the farmyard area (for approx.150m) between the farm buildings. It continues westwards out of the yard along the track to the Souldern Viaduct (Point B). The existing path is 519m long.
The proposed footpath
The diversion would be to a new route A-C-D-E-B running parallel with the farm track and within the field area immediately to the north of the farm buildings. The vast majority of the field is laid to arable. There are two narrow paddocks along its southern boundary beside the farm track/farmyard area. The path would enter the field from the east between a hedge and field gates (Point A) and run westwards toward the viaduct between the grass paddock areas and the arable area. At Point E it would reach the viaduct and turn southwards for a short distance through a gap to re-join the existing footpath and track.
The new route would have a definitive width of 2.5m, have a grass surface along its entire length and be free from structures. The current electric fencing arrangements would be replaced with stock fencing and plain wire. The northern side of the footpath would be unfenced and open to the arable field.
Reasons for the Diversion
The proposed diversion is to provide the public with extended views of the Souldern Viaduct (built in 1910). Approaching the viaduct along the proposed footpath (537m long) walkers would have uninterrupted views of the structure including views of countryside to the north across the arable field. This would then mean that the viaduct could be seen whilst walking along the whole footpath. By contrast the existing path, in running through the farm and between hedges, only provides a view of the viaduct at its very western end. Views of the farm, stables and stock sheds will continue to exist from the proposed route.