Council path to encourage exercise now a boggy mess that has pushed people into cars

Parish council chairman Steve Brooker on the Whittington path in Worcestershire. (SWNS)
Parish council chairman Steve Brooker on the Whittington path in Worcestershire. (SWNS)

Residents have claimed a council-built path laid to encourage exercise has turned into an uneven and boggy mess that has had the opposite effect and actually pushed people into using their cars.

The Bridleway – measuring around 750m (2,460ft) – runs next to a busy road and was built for walkers, cyclists and horse riders living between old Whittington and new Whittington Walk housing estates in Worcestershire.

However, bad weather and repeated use have left the trail being described it a “trip hazard”. Locals dubbed it the 'Yellow Brick Road' after the colour of the stone material used to construct it two years ago.

Residents' feelings towards the path quickly turned sour. Jonathan Sutton, 45, branded it "ridiculous", saying: "We now have a bridleway which is actually more dangerous to use than the road. It’s a trip hazard for walkers unless you have ski poles to keep yourself from skidding over the crumbling, uneven surface.

"I know of at least two older folk who have suffered quite nasty falls after losing their footing on the path. It was supposed to encourage people living here to walk to the village but what it has done is push everyone into their cars.”

Worcestershire County Council has said once the drainage issues were fully addressed it would assess the condition of the walkway.

The path has been dubbed a
The path has been dubbed a 'trip hazard'. (SWNS)

Trip hazard

Steve Brooker, chairman of Whittington Parish Council, said cyclists and dog walkers were unable to use the path properly because of the mud. He asked for tarmac surfaces, signs and safety barriers to be installed to make it safer.

Brooker said: "The surface, from the outset, was unsuitable, leaving pedestrians and cyclists with yellow mud, particularly during or after wet weather, on their shoes, clothes and pushchairs. With time, the ‘yellow’ in the main has disappeared but the mud is still there, making the footpath at best unsuitable and at worse, not usable.

"Residents have complained to parish councillors and we have raised it with county highways and the developers (Persimmon Homes). The response has been that it is acceptable and there are not any plans to improve or upgrade this path.”

The path which connects residents between old Whittington and new Whittington Walk housing estates. (Google Maps)
The path which connects residents between old Whittington and new Whittington Walk housing estates. (Google Maps)
More West Mids stories - click above
More West Mids stories - click above

Another resident said: "It is horrendous. It is really boggy. I've fallen over, our neighbour has also fallen over in it."

A spokesperson for Worcestershire County Council Highways added: "We have been liaising with both the local county councillor for the area and the developer, Persimmon, about concerns raised with us regarding drainage of this rural public right of way.

"Once the drainage issues have been fully addressed we will assess the condition of the path.”

How to complain about a public footpath or right of way near you

You should first complain to the council if you have a problem with a footpath. However, if you are not satisfied with the outcome or the council is taking too long to address the matter, you can escalate your complaint to the local government and social care ombudsman.

It is recommended that you contact the ombudsman within 12 months of becoming aware of the problem. Delaying beyond this period may limit the ombudsman's ability to provide assistance. It will assess the council's actions, identify any errors or failures, and determine how they have impacted you. If necessary, the ombudsman may recommend corrective measures for the council to implement.

If it identifies any flaws in the council's processes, it may recommend that the council implement changes to prevent a recurrence of the same issue in the future. It may also suggest the council compensate you for the inconvenience, time and expenses you incurred while pursuing your complaint, or for any costs incurred due to the council's mistakes.

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