It did not take long, after the fields to the south-east of Turville began to be fenced, for villagers to express their concern about the treatment of the footpaths there. I assume this is to enable stock to be grazed on the fields.
I have already written about my worries for lapwings here. Some people have told me that they fear the paths may be obstructed, so I took a look on 4 March.
I followed Hambleden footpath 49 from Dolesden Lane to Poynatts Farm. As I entered the wood off Dolesden Lane I heard a chattering in the trees and eventually identified a flock of linnets in the top branches. There were also four mistle thrushes making their vibrating calls.
Where the footpath crosses the field at grid reference SU 765905 new fencing has gone up and while there is a nice gap at present, it looks as though a stile or gate may be installed. Any structure, if not replacing one that existed before, will need the consent of Buckinghamshire County Council under section 147 of the Highways Act 1980, so I have warned the council and asked it to contact the landowner to ensure that the proper procedures are followed.
I returned along Hambleden footpath 50 which is a well-used path over the fields.
Where it joins the lane into the village near the junction with Dolesden Lane (grid reference SU 771909) a new ‘stile’ has been installed which is clearly an obstruction. Even if there was a structure here before, this new structure does not conform with British Standard 5709; it is difficult to traverse without an upright post to hang on to.
And it is extremely difficult for people with large dogs (this is a regular route for dog walkers).
The words ‘tempary stile’ are just about visible on the step—as illiterate as it is unlawful.
So I have reported this to the council and trust it will take swift action.
And while I was about it I noticed that the 30-mph signs on the entrance to Turville need attention, the one on the south side of the road is obscured by the hedge and the one on the north side is both obscured by the hedge and twisted around.
Drivers too readily ignore them anyway, and they need to be visible. So I have reported those as well.