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February 10, 2013


Ten years ago today, on 10 February 2003, Framfield footpath 9 in East Sussex was freed after 13 years of illegal obstruction.  It had been blocked by Rarebargain, a company associated with property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten who had condemned ramblers as ‘riff raff’ and ‘scum of the earth’.

Surrounded by film crews, photographers, broadcasters and journalists, we witnessed and celebrated the demolition of the barn, padlocked gates, container-sized refrigeration units and barbed-wire fence which had ostentatiously prevented the public from enjoying the ancient path for so many years.

Since I had taken East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to the court of appeal over its failure to act, and won, I was allowed to wield the bolt cutters in the first blow for freedom.

This was the culmination of a long campaign, which is described on my blog here.  It was a victory over a landowner who had intimidated walkers, the highway authority and the police; and over a highway authority which had…

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