After nearly three years of planning and discussions the Steyning and District Community Partnership together with the county council are starting work to improve two footpaths.
The popular footpaths in Bramber will be made accessible for wheelchair users, alongside the young and old so all can gain access and enjoy the riverside and downland views.
Martin Leigh-Pollitt of the Steyning & District Partnership said: “Users will be able to park in The Street car park which has reserved spaces and toilet facilities and gain access to the footpath network to the side of St Mary’s which leads to the Adur riverbank.
“The existing footpath is being levelled and provided with a compacted surface.
“The route offers a constantly changing scene with the ebb and flow of the tide and variety of wildlife against the stunning backdrop of the South Downs.”
The Partnership, having produced a series of walks leaflets, which proved popular with residents and visitors, became aware that much of this beautiful countryside is denied to those with young children in pushchairs, wheelchair users and the elderly.
This issue was recently highlighted by double gold medallist Paralympian Hanna Cockcroft MBE in the Countryfile BBC TV programme.
The project has been financed through collaboration of WSCC; Bramber Parish Council and the South Downs National Park and supported by the local County, District and Parish Councillors, the Access Forums of WSCC and SDNP and the Environment Agency.
Leigh-Pollitt continued: “This is an example where so many local agents with consent of landowners have pulled together in achieving a facility which will be of benefit to a wide range of people: Local Residents from Bramber, Upper Beeding and Steyning; Walkers; visitors and tourists; those with pushchairs, wheelchairs or impaired mobility from a wide area, helping improve the health and wellbeing of all who use it.”
He added: “There has been a huge push over the past months and working closely with Roger Potter, Chairman of Bramber Parish Council and David Barling, the local West Sussex County Councillor we have managed to secure funding to ensure that Edburton Contractors who are working on the improved Downs Link could stay on site to start on the Walk for All project.
“The two schemes are closely linked providing greater security to users of the Downs Link alongside improved access to this delightful area of the South Downs National Park.
“We are hoping that both schemes will be opened in approximately six weeks.”
The District comprises of the villages of Small Dole, Upper Beeding, Bramber, Ashurst and Steyning.
Horsham District Council has six Community Partnerships centred on market towns south of Horsham and along with West Sussex provides funding to run the action teams.
Action teams working with the management executive seek grants from local and national providers to fund projects.
Work to create the Steyning Community Action Plan began in 2001.