Ecclesbourne Glen – footpath re-opening later this year

The main footpath into Ecclesbourne Glen, a popular part of Hastings Country Park, is to be re-opened after years of closure.

The path was initially closed in 2013 after a serious landslip destroyed footpaths and left it unsafe for use. Specialist geotechnical engineers have now advised that the area is stable, meaning it is safe to be reopened to public in the future.

Work is due to begin in the Autumn to restore the footpath, undertaken by both Hastings Borough Council and East Sussex County Council.

Cllr Maya Evans, lead councillor for Environment, said: “We are so thrilled that this part of Ecclesbourne Glen is finally safe, and that we are able to start work on reopening this valuable and much-loved area.

“Geotechnical engineers have been regularly assessing the area, and we are delighted that they now consider it safe to reopen the footpaths. We know many residents will be excited to access the glen again in the near future.

“The county council will also be repairing a broken culvert on the coast path at the foot of the glen, and we are also hoping the restored main footpath will become part of the new England Coastal Path.

“We will of course continue to monitor the area where the landslip occurred to ensure it stays safe.”

Tell us what you think about the re-opening of the footpath by using the comment section below.

2 thoughts on “Ecclesbourne Glen – footpath re-opening later this year

  1. While this is excellent news at long last the reason for it remains a very controversial issue. One where many will point the finger at the Rocklands caravan site. Their radical removal of trees and earthworks to install a platform to put more “sheds on wheels.” belived to be the cause of the landslip.
    While Cllr Evans is “thrilled” at the re-opening of the Glen footpath. She needs to be reminded how the shroud of secrecy and truth behind this serious landslip has been largely kept a secret by her own Labour colleagues.
    When attempts by members of the public were made to have sight of what is known as the “Coffey 2 Report” on the slip that was refused by the council following an FOI request. This issue went as far as a Tribunal hearing without success. A few thousand of public money was spent by HBC hell bent to prevent the disclosure of that report. This failure of transparency was supported by the Labour councillors. In fact I did any councillor make any remarks as to what one can construed as a cover up for the reasons for this serious landslip.
    Not forgetting another similar hush hush issue connected with the same landowners known as “The Bunker.”

  2. Save Ecclesbourne Glen Statement on reopening of footpath

    It is to be welcomed that the footpath will be opened and that the England Coast Path will now follow the coast rather than be diverted inland. Access to the glen is important for both locals and visitors alike. We are pleased that lobbying by the Friends of the Country Park, Ramblers and SEG has finally led to the footpath being reopened.

    The decision to reopen is based upon an HBC commissioned report by the council’s geotechnical engineers Coffey into the landslip carried out in November 2020. The report is a desk study and walk over. The report has been used by ESCC ROW [Rights of Way unit] and HBC to determine whether footpaths can be reopened. SEG obtained a redacted copy of the report under Freedom of Information regulations which can be seen here:

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/753416/response/1813345/attach/html/4/Ecclesbourne%20Glen%20Inspection%20Report%20February%202021.pdf.html
    The report concludes that:

    • The landslip is in a dormant condition
    • The landslip could become active again if we have wetter weather, there are changes of flows of ground and surface water, if there are changes of loadings on the slope, if there is cliff erosion.
    • Consideration could be given to reopening the footpaths but cautions that the landslip could become reactivated so a detailed risk assessment should be done first.
    • That there has been no detailed ground investigation, groundwater monitoring or slope stability assessment and therefore sensitivity to changes in rainfall and groundwater cannot be predicted.
    • Monitoring of the landslip should be reduced to once every two years

    The 2015 Coffey 2 report into the landslip recognised that there were man-made contributory factors to the 2013-14 landslips that started in Rocklands Caravan Park. These factors include changes to drainage, terracing and removal of trees. These factors remain uninvestigated and unchanged. SEG have campaigned for many years for the implementation of the 2015 Coffey 2 report recommendations to carry out further investigations into drainage and slope stability and to mitigate the factors that caused the landslip.

    As the latest 2020 Coffey report acknowledges it is not possible to assess the impact of wetter weather or changes to drainage on long term stability without the recommended physical investigations. In the meantime SEG and the public will continue to monitor the landslip for any early warning signs of instability.

    Chris Hurrell on behalf of SEG 28/06/2021

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