We need to take better care of Eastbourne’s precious Downland

From: David PeckOsbourne Road, Eastbourne

Friday, 10th September 2021, 10:29 am
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 10:35 am

The condition of the downland terrain in and around Eastbourne leaves a great deal to be desired when it comes to the visual blight of obsolete ash trees.

The Green Street Farm estate and the woods near to Cherry Garden Road and Peppercombe Road are key examples. Can we, as residents of Eastbourne, particularly Old Town, have clarity from the borough council or whoever is responsible for this project- when is the process going to be accelerated to achieve the fresh start to the local landscape we were so piously promised?

This is something which needs to be done with urgency and surely the remaining stumps well and truly ground with the proper machinery.

The South Downs/Beachy Head taken on May 19 2021. View over Eastbourne seafront SUS-210519-151300001

We were promised this would regenerate the local downland landscape. Instead, all we seem to be getting is a piecemeal limited amount cut down once a year at best all the while giving the ash dieback disease more time to spread and making the local woodland look as if it is in a perpetual unsightly state of winter bareness and starkness.

Yes, it is obvious it cannot all be done at once and resources and manpower need to be calculated as well as the impact on the landscape in the short-term and those who use it, such as walkers and cyclists.

However, ultimately it just looks awful on the east facing slopes of the downs in Eastbourne in too many places, and I say this as regular walker.

Can we see clarity as soon as possible on when the ugly, unsightly and obsolete remaining ash trees are going to be cleared, and I mean properly cleared with stump grinders and nature given the chance to regenerate?

If the stumps are not eradicated all that happens ultimately is that the ash just re-seeds and you are back to square one thus defeating the entire object! I say this as a non-tree expert as well! The enormity of the amount that needs to be cleared surely drastically escalates the urgency of getting the work completed.

On a further point about the local downland landscape, can anyone explain why there is a fetish for letting each and every footpath to become impassable so as to allow prickly highly annoying brambles with all the irritation it presents to take over? It is one thing to let nature take its course in areas of designated areas, such as farmland where wild flowers grow. This looks very attractive in the right place, such as one of my favoured quieter local walking routes away from the world at large.

But there are too many narrower frequently-used paths which have become totally impassable and unusable – this has only happened this year as far as I can see. So once again borough council or whoever is responsible, please get your act together and do some much- needed footpath trimming in the downland area immediately above Eastbourne, and please do not make a habit of this laxity in future years.

The downland landscape is precious and there to be enjoyed – a National Park no less – let us just see some sensible movement on these aspects of its management!

Friston Forest with its predominance of mostly beech trees is a good local example of nature being well-managed and the Forestry Commission doing this in an efficient and admirable way. Perhaps this might provide a template for environmental management closer to Eastbourne!