Campaigners are crying foul after a council announced it wanted to move a path to make way for sports pitches.

Bristol City Council has made an order to shift a public footpath which crosses downland at South Purdown. The Open Spaces Society, which campaigns for footpaths and green land, says the proposed alternative risks damaging an important archaeological site.

The society’s general secretary Kate Ashbrook said: “This is a wonderful open space – the gateway to Bristol.  The existing path commands wide views over the city. The proposed new route is on lower ground and is inferior.

“Furthermore, using the proposed new route people would trample on a fascinating landscape feature of old banks, connected with nearby Heath House. The path would be diverted to cross this, which could put it at risk. Bristol City Council’s archaeologists consider that the feature should be protected. 

“We are in any case opposed to this lovely open space being desecrated by sports pitches but, unfortunately, the council has granted planning permission for them.

“At the very least, we’d like the existing footpath to be preserved on its current route, so that walkers can continue to enjoy the extensive views from it.”