East Sussex County Council is urging farmers currently ploughing and cropping to ensure they keep public rights of way free of crops.
Landowners are obliged to clear rights of way 14 days after the surface of the land has been disturbed, while farmers who don’t keep footpaths clear and available to use may be subject to enforcement action.
The council’s rights of way officers can work with landowners to give advice on keeping paths clear, allowing walkers and horseriders to use the routes as they are legally entitled to do.
Cllr Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment, said: “The extensive network of footpaths in the county allows walkers to visit and enjoy the beautiful countryside East Sussex is blessed with.
“It’s important that these rights of way are kept clear, not just to allow access for people who wish to walk or ride there but to prevent accidental trespass and damage to crops.”
Tom Ormesher, National Farmers Union regional environment and land use adviser, said: “We urge farmers to avoid enforcement action by taking timely measures to keep public rights of way on their land clearly delineated and free of crops.
“NFU members should refer to Business Guide 626 – Managing Vegetation on Public Rights of Way – available at www.nfuonline.com or by calling NFU Call First on 0870 845 8458.”
Ensuring the 2,000 miles of footpaths, bridleways and byways in East Sussex are open and easy to use is one of the main priorities for the county’s rights of way officers.
More information, including an interactive map, is available online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/rightsofway