Landowners and farmers at Tetsworth in Oxfordshire are putting up two fingers to the public who have the right to use the paths, and the county council which has a duty to maintain them. I have visited the parish a few times recently while carrying out a bird survey for the River Thame Conservation Trust. Then birds had my attention, although I did notice, blog about, and report the path problems.
Yesterday I returned to give the paths my attention. There was a new, menacing CCTV sign on the bridleway to Oxhouse Farm (earlier this year the bridleway was obstructed with a padlocked gate).
The county council had informed me that the landowner had repaired two of the stiles I had reported. Not a bit of it, they may have been slightly tweaked, but they are still illegal obstructions.
Footpath 18 is completely blocked with barley.
At its northern end there is a mobile home blocking most of the available width . I have no idea whether it needs or has permission.
Footpath 17, which heads east from footpath 18, is blocked by vegetation.
Proceeding northwards, footpath 12 is obstructed by beans.
Near Goldpits Farm the stile remained an obstruction, and there was a bonfire close to the path with noxious smoke blowing across it.
Having crossed the M40, I wanted to walk over the fields to Tetsworth church. I had to climb the fence next to the padlocked gate, which I have previously reported.
This path follows field boundaries and comes out in the village by the church. At its terminus the choice is to clamber over an impossible stile or climb through the fence. This is a disgrace for a path leading out from a village.
I am reporting these transgressions to the county council, with a copy to the parish council which has been helpful in getting the padlocked bridleway open. I find it extraordinary that the people of Tetsworth are prepared to tolerate such blatant obstruction and abuse of local paths.
However there were two mitigating factors: the lovely views from the paths and the luscious blackberries in the hedgerows.