Ramblers call for solution to end flooding on riverside footpath

The path between Three Brick Arches to Heath Lane has been left underwater. 

The path between Three Brick Arches to Heath Lane has been left underwater. - Credit: Fakenham Ramblers

A walking group has called for a water-logged footpath to be cleared and a plan put in place to stop future flooding.

The Fakenham Ramblers has asked Norfolk County Council to improve the walk alongside the river from Hempton Road to the downstream exit at Heath Lane, which has been unusable for six months.

The county council has said it is keen to work with the group on ways forward.

Richard Potts, secretary for the Fakenham Ramblers, said: “We are a walking group and we want our right of way back.

The footbridge itself was submerged to a depth of around 10cm

At the Eastern edge by crossing the footbridge adjacent to Heath Lane, Fakenham. The footbridge itself was submerged to a depth of around 10cm - Credit: Fakenham Ramblers

“We run the risk of losing a key amenity for the residents and visitors to the town and this is a public right of way.”

The path between Three Brick Arches to Heath Lane has been left underwater. 

The path between Three Brick Arches to Heath Lane has been left underwater. - Credit: Fakenham Ramblers

They say the long stretch of path from Hempton Road to the Three Brick Arches now has at least two places that are regularly affected by flooding.

The second section, from the Three Brick Arches to Heath Lane, is more prone to local flooding and is often underwater for most of its length and for long periods. 

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Improvement work has already been carried out there between 2012 and 2013, costing in total around £16,000.

The ramblers want there to be a plan to have this path cleared by the end of 2022.

The ramblers want there to be a plan to have this path cleared by the end of 2022. - Credit: Fakenham Ramblers

The group, which has compiled a report on the issues, says during October, November and December last year, parts have been under four to 12 inches of water.

The nearby Pensthorpe Conservation Trust has allowed people to use its footpath for people to avoid particularly affected sections, but Mr Potts said people are still missing out. 

“Everyone is grateful to them for allowing us to cross their land but it doesn't go along the riverbank so it's that loss of access to a beautiful area,” he said.

The Ramblers are asking Norfolk County Council to repair the paths between Hempton road to Three Brick Arches Bridge

The Ramblers are asking Norfolk County Council to repair the paths between Hempton road to Three Brick Arches Bridge - Credit: Fakenham Ramblers

“We haven't gone to the extent of writing this report and we haven't put this sort of effort in without some expectation of success.”

For the first section of the path, the group wants it to be passable for at least 10 months of the year by the end of 2021.

They also want a plan of action to tackle the section part by the end of 2022.

Members of the Fakenham Ramblers have been taken measurement of the standing water on the path.

Members of the Fakenham Ramblers have been taken measurement of the standing water on the path. - Credit: Pamela Andrew

“We understand the council has an awful lot of responsibility and not a lot of resources, but we believe the request is reasonably modest and they reflect reality," he said.

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said: “As flooding on some parts of the path has subsided we were able to visit the site yesterday and we met with the local ramblers representative.

"We will continue to work with the relevant organisations and will now start to look into future options and what works can be undertaken in this area in a safe and sympathetic way.”

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