The stunning walk along the river west of Mapledurham lock has been the pride and joy not only for the residents of Purley on Thames but also for the many visitors walking the famously beautiful Thames path. Now the fence is being erected by the farmer.
Having lived in Purley for ten years, we could without doubt say that this is the best and most loved local feature. This place could offer something for everyone – beautiful views across the river, lots of wild birds for the birdwatchers, a quite spot for parents to walk with their children, a place for dogwalkers to meet and mingle, a nice exercise ground for runners and cyclists, a dream mooring for boat owners and fisherman. During the tough months of lockdown this place kept the whole Purley community sane and healthy.
Although the path passes through farmland where cows are often seen in the summer months, there have always been good relations between the farmer and the public, and residents often admired how the farmer took care of the eroding riverbank.
It is sad that Home Farm has felt the need to make the same choice to put the fence up as next-door neighbours Spring Farm, but local residents understand the reasons. However, the width being provided is totally unreasonable and not within the spirit of the regulations concerning access to the Thames Path. The fencing has only been recently begun, but in places there is less than 2 metres of usable path which has already turned into a mud bath. In summer, people will struggle to get past each other, never mind the cyclists, the runners and the people living on the boats moored on the banks. In addition to this, it constitutes a safety hazard due to the slippery conditions and eroding river bank in winter. It also infringes of the rights of disabled people wishing to use this beautiful resource.
We have attached the photos of the path before and after the fence was put up