River Otter footpath re-opens two months early

PUBLISHED: 08:30 29 January 2019

Re-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary. Cutting of the ribbon. (L-R) Valerie Lister (chairman of the East Budleigh Parish Council), Alan Dent (district councillor), Patsy Hayman (deputy chairman of the East Budleigh Parish Council), Tom Wright (district councillor), Bob Wiltshire (chairman of the Otter Valley Association) and the two engineers in the back. Picture: Peter Bowler

Re-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary. Cutting of the ribbon. (L-R) Valerie Lister (chairman of the East Budleigh Parish Council), Alan Dent (district councillor), Patsy Hayman (deputy chairman of the East Budleigh Parish Council), Tom Wright (district councillor), Bob Wiltshire (chairman of the Otter Valley Association) and the two engineers in the back. Picture: Peter Bowler

Picture: Peter Bowler

A collapsed coastal footpath which previously connected Budleigh Salterton to the rest of the Otter Valley has been re-opened.

Re-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary.The engineers who carried out the work. (In yellow jackets). Picture: Peter BowlerRe-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary.The engineers who carried out the work. (In yellow jackets). Picture: Peter Bowler

The section of South West Coastal Path between Lime Kiln Car Park and White Bridge, in South Farm Road, was reinstated on Monday two months ahead of schedule.

The footpath, which connects Budleigh to East Budleigh and Otterton, was originally closed in September and Devon County Council (DCC) made an order closing the path until mid-March.

Now the footpath is re-open to the public.

Budleigh mayor councillor Tom Wright said: “The early opening of the path is really great news for all those who regularly use it and, now that spring is coming, for our potential visitors.

Re-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary. An ecstatic crowd who are pleased to get their path back. Picture: Peter BowlerRe-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary. An ecstatic crowd who are pleased to get their path back. Picture: Peter Bowler

“It also means that Budleigh, East Budleigh and Otterton are once again connected by a level path which has been important for many to enjoy the beautiful walk along the river to White Bridge and on to use facilities in the three communities.”

Cllr Wright along with Val Lister, chairman of East Budleigh with Bicton Parish Council, Bob Wiltshire, chairman of the Otter Valley Association and other users of the path were on hand to cut the ribbon on the official re-opening of the path.

The walkway originally collapsed after the incoming tide breached banks of the River Otter surrounding the drainage culvert causing the footpath above to collapse.

DCC closed the path for three weeks ‘in the interest of public safety’.

Re-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary. Picture: Peter BowlerRe-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary. Picture: Peter Bowler

READ MORE: South West Coastal Path closed in Budleigh due to flooding

In October, The Journal reported that DCC extended the closure until March this year but said that ‘every effort’ would be made to re-open the path earlier.

READ MORE: Lower Otter footpath set to remain closed ‘until December’

Speaking at the time Environment Agency (EA) said there was ‘strictly no access’ to the area and a diversion for walkers was put in place.

Re-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary. The new pathway across the re-created embankment. Picture: Peter BowlerRe-opening of the Jurrasic Coastal path at the Otter estuary. The new pathway across the re-created embankment. Picture: Peter Bowler

EA is working in partnership with landowner Clinton Devon Estates to come up with a vision for the future of the Lower Otter Estuary. They tasked a Devon-based civil engineering firm to fix the collapsed path.

READ MORE: The Environment Agency has announced it is ‘completely committed’ to a £9million project to restore the River Otter

Cllr Wright added: “It demonstrates the commitment of Clinton Devon Estates to the access of all to our wonderful environment.”

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