A RESIDENT has started a petition to prevent a historic and popular footpath from being moved.

Samantha Stent has been a resident in Castle Hedingham since 2004.

She, like much of the community, regularly enjoys walks along the Scotch Pastures footpath, which runs through the middle of a field within the lands of Rushley Green Farm.

Now, the path may be moved due through the wishes of the new owners.

Samantha said: “In May 2019 the land was sold.

“Pensioners who had walked their dogs for decades along that path were confronted by the new owners and told to put their pets on leads, even though there is no requirement for a dog to be on a lead on a public footpath as long as it is under control.

“I was not surprised, therefore, when I saw the notice about relocating the footpath as they have made it clear that they are not going to welcome ramblers, dogwalkers and local families onto the footpath in the same way as the previous owners.”

The new owners have applied to move the footpath to the edge of the field, adjacent to the woods.

Residents in and around the village are heavily opposed to the change, with the footpath being part of the historic Magna Carta Way and a key part of the village’s heritage.

Samantha said: “I can see no good reason why it needs to be moved.   

“The proposed location for the new footpath is steeper than the current location which will make it more difficult for the elderly, disabled or anyone with a pushchair to use it.

"It is also next to overgrown woodland with overhanging branches.  

“I set up the online petition which I will send to Essex County Council along with my objections in the next few weeks.

“So far, I have more than 300 signatures from Castle Hedingham residents and other locals and visitors to the village who use this footpath as part of a popular circular walk or just whilst going about their daily business.

“I’m hoping this will convince the council not to change something that has been part of the village for 900 years.”

The petition can be found HERE.