Within the parish of Clare, there are no bridleways. All the information below relates to footpaths. North of the Stour the local authority is Suffolk County Council, south of the Stour is Essex.
There are many landowners who look after footpaths very well, restoring them quickly after ploughing, cutting the grass when they have no obligation to do so. Some have kept their ‘stewardship’ permissive ways or allow their buffer strip to be accessed, even though there is less support from Defra. Permissive paths (see the PDF map) have recently been added to improve links west of the Nuttery, Clare’s community woodland. We welcome these initiatives.
We will have to monitor stewardship schemes as they are currently funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. The post-Brexit future for farmers is uncertain.
If you encounter problems with footpaths, broken stiles, obstructions, overgrown access etc there are two main routes for reporting: the Ramblers site has a system called Pathwatch; the two county councils have their own reporting tools.
Pathwatch is an app: using the app you can report positive and negative features, send us photos and even share your discoveries via social media. Using GPS and your phone signal, the app can locate you on OS maps and will allow you report what you’ve found with the press of a few buttons. The app works offline and allows you to download OS grid square maps for your walks in England and Wales.
Suffolk County Council: the first page has a link to a reporting tool – select ‘public right of way issue’. Individuals are asked to complete a form with essential details, nature and location of problem, their own name and address, often clicking on a map to pinpoint the location. An incident number is issued.
Since April 2017 a few of the footpaths within Clare parish are maintained by Clare Town Council, working as a contractor with Suffolk County Council (see a PDF of the footpath cutting map , with the managed sections coloured purple & numbered). Check with Clare Town Council if you are unsure as to whom is responsible for a particular footpath.
Essex County Council: this is ‘reporting a highway problem’, select any other problem and then choose ‘Public Rights of Way (Countryside)’. As with Suffolk, further details are requested.