Walkers in the area may have noticed some changes to our local footpaths in the last few weeks. The route from Bridge towards Pett Bottom via the old railway bridge along from Mill Terrace has been enhanced with four new gates to replace the styles that were there in the fields between the railway bridge and Middle Pett Farm. These modern gates don’t look quite as picturesque in the landscape as the old wooden styles but they are far more practical, particularly for the elderly and those with dogs, and of course those with elderly dogs!
It seems whoever did the replacement was not satisfied that the location of the old styles was correct, so the gates have been moved a few yards along the field boundaries and maps have been posted up to show the true location of the footpaths which actually do not appear much different than they were previously.
Last year we saw the fencing in of the diagonal footpath from Oswald Cottage at Bishopsbourne up to the wooded area on Bridge Hill. We understand this was in order to keep the sheep safe and secure. At the same time the footpath into the next field was rerouted through these woods to comply with its original route. However we have been informed by Kent County Council’s footpaths department that this new route has been challenged as it is not historically correct. BridgeNature.org makes no comment on this as we have no knowledge of what the correct route should be.
Some residents of Bridge have noted that the meadow off Brewery Lane which runs behind the Country Club now gets very, very muddy near the first bridge over the river. This is as a result of the engineering clay which was used to build the raised bunding along the bank. It is the same stuff that was used to line the canals in the days of the Industrial Revolution. The clay, being formed of tiny particles, acts like a water proof paste, so water runs off it into the surrounding soil, and in some places water is also held in the top soil sitting above the engineering clay making it very ‘claggy’ as they say in Yorkshire.
Walkers will notice that the bunding is currently being extended behind and within Bridge Place in an attempt to prevent the potential for river water to flood through the grounds and into Church Meadow.