Sign up for our Free email Newsletter
and get all the latest wildlife news!

Browse Old Articles


Kent walkers gain right of way across shooting land

18/12/2012 10:58:21

The footpath across Halling Marsh. Photo credit Barry Barnes/Open Spaces Society.

Campaigners delighted that vital footpath-link at Halling is added to official map

December 2012. The people of Halling have been granted their right of way across land that had been bought by a shooting association. The villagers claimed that they had been walking there for many years before the Kent Wildfowling and Conservation Association (KWCA) bought the land.

The Open Spaces Society is delighted that a footpath across Halling Marsh close to the River Medway is to be added to the official map of public paths for all to enjoy. The 580-metre-long path will fill the gap in an attractive circular walk.

The decision to record the footpath was made by an inspector from the Planning Inspectorate, Mr Mark Yates, following a public inquiry last summer. The path claim was supported by many walkers, and 16 gave evidence at the inquiry. It was opposed by the Kent Wildfowling and Conservation Association (KWCA), which uses the area to shoot wildfowl. KWCA had owned much of the route since 2004.

The inspector had to be satisfied that the route had been used by the public for 20 years, without being stopped or asking permission. He concluded that the evidence of the users, between 1985 and 2005, was sufficient to demonstrate that there had been such use. He further considered that the landowners had not taken sufficient action to indicate to the public that they did not intend the route to be dedicated as a public footpath.

Fence and barbed wire
Maggie Coleman, the Open Spaces Society's local correspondent in Medway, explained: ‘Eight years ago a private shooting club purchased some land in Halling village and closed off a footpath across that land which had been used by local residents, uninterrupted, for up to 60 years, as part of a circular walk around Halling Marsh by the River Medway. The KWCA had erected metal posts and barbed wire across the path.

‘Local residents approached Halling Parish Council to apply for the path to be added to the official map. After years of research, local residents providing user evidence forms, and a public inquiry that lasted three days, footpath RS320 will now be added to the official map.

‘Along with many residents in and around the village, Halling parish and Medway councils, I am absolutely delighted that we have our footpath back and that it is officially recognised as a public highway,' says Maggie. ‘Our hard work and persistence has paid off.'

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

To post a comment you must be logged in.

New user? Register here


Click join and we will email you with your password. You can then sign on and join the discussions right away.