The newly installed gate at the Southern Water site at Telscombe

The newly installed gate at the Southern Water site at Telscombe

Ramblers are celebrating after a successful 40-year battle to open a footpath in East Sussex.

Members of the campaigning walkers’ charity were joined by the South Downs Society in their fight to allow access to the route at Telscombe Cliffs near Peacehaven.

Southern Water has installed gates at its site so walkers can cross the area as part of a coastal walk. Chris Smith of the Sussex area of the Ramblers said it is now possible to walk along the coast from Brighton to Peacehaven.

He said the victory was the culmination of perhaps the group’s longest campaign.

Mr Smith said: “In the 1970s the water company obstructed this path through their works and for many years they denied that there was a right of way.

“Everyone thought it was a done deal and that they had gone through the formalities, but in the early part of this century and eagle-eyed member of the South Downs Society spotted that the footpath still legally existed.

“The Ramblers, with Peter Seed in the forefront, and the SDS, together with local people, began a long campaign to get the path re-opened. It was more or less the only bit of coastal path between Brighton and Newhaven that was not open to the public.

Dave Brookshaw of the South Downs Society at the site before the installation of the gate

Dave Brookshaw of the South Downs Society at the site before the installation of the gate

“In 2017 their campaign was successful.”

He added: “If you are a Ramblers member this is what you pay your subscription for. If you are not a member, this is why you should join.”

The Sussex area of the Ramblers carries out its work in East and West Sussex. With more than 4,000 individual members and over 20 affiliated clubs in Sussex the Ramblers is the biggest outdoor organisation in the two counties.

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