Rambler wins - in the end

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:36 15 June 2010

FOOTPATHS along the River Coly are to be legally recognised as public rights of way thanks to the campaigning of a Colyton resident.

FOOTPATHS along the River Coly are to be legally recognised as public rights of way - thanks to the campaigning of a Colyton resident.Eric Mawer, an 81-year-old member of the East Devon Ramblers' Association, is celebrating the end of his 19-year campaign to make Devon County Council legally record historic routes as public rights of way near to his home in Colyton.Mr Mawer, from Bishop's Court, first requested that DCC add the River Coly footpaths to the 'definitive' rights of way map in 1989, after researching public use of the ancient footpaths at his local public record office. In 1997 Mr Mawer made a formal claim for the paths, and when DCC reached a decision not to make the orders, Eric appealed against the council's decision to the secretary of state for the environment. DCC lost the appeal and in 2005 the secretary of state directed the council to make the relevant orders.The Council have taken two-and-a-half years to publish the orders, during which time Mr Mawer repeatedly approached the Council.Mr Mawer said: "DCC's delay in publishing and implementing these important orders to record historic paths as public rights of way has denied me, and others, the chance to enjoy walking these paths, in this active lifetime at least."However, the Ramblers' Association is pleased that the council has agreed to implement the Ombudsman's recommendations. "DCC does much good rights of way work and we hope that this investigation will give renewed impetus to their definitive map work, which is very important."DCC will now fund £500 of new footpath work along the River Coly and review its procedures to ensure similar delays do not occur in the future.Mr Mawer continued: "I've been walking around East Devon for 25 years."It's such a beautiful place to walk."There is a maxim that says 'once a highway, always a highway'."Walking is so popular and if only DCC would advertise East Devon's coastal and inland routes, more holiday-makers would come here."I want people to be able to enjoy themselves on these routes.

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