Fight for path — top rambler

By Richard Wright

Friday, August 22, 2014

 

Fight for path — top rambler

Kate Ashbrook at the wrecked section of Totland sea wall.

THE national president of the Ramblers’ Association has given her support to campaigners who want the popular Totland promenade reinstated.

Kate Ashbrook, the volunteer who heads the national walkers’ organisation, sees restoring the link as important to access, recreation, Isle of Wight tourism and the economy.

Restoring the link has already been backed by a petition signed by more than 4,200 people.

Miss Ashbrook said: "It would be ironic now the government has just decided the IW should be part of the country’s Coastal Path if the

Totland part of the coastal link was to be lost.

"The inland diversion is longer, unsuitable for a lot of users and takes people away from the coast. There is also evidence local businesses have lost out financially.

"The IW Council’s own estimate places the cost of reinstatement at £200,000, which is a small investment to secure large returns.

"On Friday, when I visited, I urged residents to continue to make their point to the council, which considers the issue on September 9."

Miss Ashbrook said the association was delighted the government had included the Island in the Coastal Path and work was already taking place to ensure the considerable hurdles could be scaled.

"I think it is pretty much set in stone now. The government could always change its mind but it would be completely out of order for it to do so and if the Country Land and Business Association was to renew opposition.

"I think it was unwise of the association to oppose it in the first place because there are so many benefits to the Island."

Island ramblers’ chairman David Howarth said: "The council has a statutory duty to keep this path open. It has been closed since December 2012."

While she was on the Island, Miss Ashbrook led a walk at Rookley to celebrate the new accessible trail in memory of Joan Deacon, a ramblers’ stalwart and friend of Miss Ashbrook.

Reporter: richardw@iwcpmail.co.uk

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