Natural England has announced they will provide £117,000 from the Paths for Communities scheme to fund the construction of a new bridleway running alongside the Ouse River linking the villages of Rodmell and Southease.

The new route will form another link in the chain of The Egrets Way: a new network of safe routes connecting Ouse valley villages and linking Lewes to Newhaven. The first section from Lewes to Kingston is currently under construction and nearing completion.

The existing footpath running along the top of a high river bank will remain in place. The new bridleway will run along the foot of the bank, parallel with the footpath and provide access for cyclists, horseriders and the less able. It will be welcomed by local people and visitors to the new Itford Youth Hostel as a valuable connection to the South Downs Way.

Neville Harrison, Chairman of the Ouse Valley Cycle Network Project said:

“We couldn’t be more pleasedthis grant means work on a second section of the Egrets Way can follow close on the completion of the first and demonstrates that our OVCN Project is well on its way. This community led undertaking couldn’t be achieved without support from major partners including the South Downs National Park, Sustrans, ESCC, the Environment Agency and, crucially, local landowners'.

Planning permission for the Rodmell to Southease section is already in place and it is hoped that construction will begin early in the autumn as the grant stipulates completion by the endof February, 2014. There is a lot of work to be done in order to meet this deadline, £12,000 is yet to be raised but The OVCN Project Committee is confident that this will be achieved in the time available.

More information at www.ovcn.org.uk

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