A FARMER has hit out at plans to turn a footpath into a bridleway saying decisions about the landscape should not be made ‘in an office in Kendal’.
David Lawrence, who owns the land in Lindale, said a right of way change approved last week could cause him both legal and financial problems.
“It seems very unfair that I’m being put into this situation when I bought the land with a footpath, not a bridleway,” he said.
“There are several reasons why it is a bad idea but I don’t feel like they are being listened to at all.”
He told the Gazette that the path ends near a road at a ‘bad bend’, which he says will put horses and their riders into the path of oncoming vehicles.
Mr Lawrence also believes he will also be liable if one of his animals now gets out through the open gate and causes an accident on the road.
The 57-year-old and his family have farmed dairy cows on adjoining Holme Farm, Meathop Road, for 54 years.
When his three sons joined the family business it made sense to expand by buying the field, which included the public footpath, said Mr Lawrence.
The Lake District National Park Authority made the decision to turn the footpath into a public bridleway.
“Despite my passionate objection to the national park authority I can see we are going to be overruled,” he continued.
“Horse riders contribute very little to the ecology of the area but I feel they have got the backing of the national park.
“The picturesque surroundings of the area are created on the family farms on the hills and in the valleys, not in an office in Kendal.”
The application included claims made by the Cumbria Bridleways Society that either the ‘footpath’ status was wrongly recorded in the 1950s or the track had come into use as a bridleway since.
The authority’s Rights of Way Committee came to the same conclusions.
“The Rights of Way Committee met last week and members spent some time discuss- ing all aspects of the application, and all the evidence in some detail,” said an LDNPA spokesman.
The order will be made within weeks, ahead of a six week period for objections and representations to be made.
If the authority receives any objections that cannot be resolved then the matter will be submitted to the Secretary of State for determination.