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Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve

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Ecclesbourne Glen update: 02 April 2014

According to the Met Office the winter of 2013/14 has been wettest in England and Wales since records began (over 250 years ago). The excessive rainfall has resulted in a serious mudslide and in particular the closure of footpaths at Ecclesbourne Glen.

The clay soils and steep sides of the glens and the cliffs at Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve are prone to 'slumping' when saturated. The resulting mud slide at Ecclesbourne Glen has taken the footpath, vegetation and trees down the slope of the Glen. There is no footpath left to walk on.

Who is responsible for the footpath closure?

The footpaths which have been closed are Definitive Public Rights of Way (DPROW), numbers 379A, 364A, 377 and 376. They all sit within Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve which is owned by Hastings Borough Council. East Sussex County Council is responsible for ensuring Rights of Way are safe and free to pass and close them when they are a danger to the public.

Both East Sussex County Council and Hastings Borough Council have agreed the landslip area has resulted in a dangerous risk to public safety and the Rights of Way have therefore been closed. There are barriers and signs on site to inform people of the situation and maps which set out safe alternative routes around the landslip.

How long will the footpath be closed?

We will continually monitor the site with a view reinstating access when we are assured the site is safe and will not slip again. We cannot say at this stage when the paths will be open again but they may have to remain closed until October.

What are we doing now?

In order to help us understand the landslip better, Hastings Council has commissioned a technical survey from experts in coastal cliff erosion and stability. We expect the results of this in April/May and it will help us assess options for future works and reinstatements.

General advice

The landslip has made the footpaths too dangerous for people to access. We have closed the footpaths for your safety. Please do not try and cross the barriers. We are working to open the footpaths and reinstate access as soon as possible but this may not be for at least 6 months. Access to the rest of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve has not been affected.

For information relating to the Right of Way and footpath closure, please contact East Sussex County Council Rights of Way Access Team on 0345 6080193 or email rightsofway@eastsussex.gov.uk.

For all other information please contact Hastings Borough Council on 01424 451066 or email complaintsandcomments@hastings.gov.uk.

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Introduction

The Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve has over 267 hectares of ancient woodland, heathland and grassland together with 3 miles (5km) of dramatic cliffs and coastline.  Lying within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, most of the park has been designated a Special Area of Conservation, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is a designated Local Nature Reserve.

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Information for visitors and wildlife enthusiasts

Find out what makes Hastings Country Park such an attractive prospect to visitors on the Wild Hastings blog

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The Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre houses a wealth of information about the wildlife and geology of the Country Park.  There is a touch table where visitors can pick up and feel objects from the natural environment and a range of displays that give more information about what makes Hastings Country Park such a special place.  We have a small number of publications for sale as well as a small selection of souvenirs.  You can also pick up our free events leaflet and site guide.

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School Groups

We cater for school groups, but please contact us before you come so that we can help you make the most of your visit.  We can open the Visitor Centre by arrangement outside the normal opening times and the Rangers can organise activities and guided walks for groups.  For more information regarding school visits please contact us.

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Opening Times

The Visitor Centre is open most weekends between 10.00am and 4.00pm in the winter and between 10.00am and 5.00pm in summer.  The Centre is also open most weekdays except Thursdays throughout the year and is staffed by Volunteer Rangers.  The Centre is not normally open when there is very severe bad weather and on some public holidays.

You can check if the Centre will be open by contacting the Rangers.

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How to Get Here

The Visitors Centre can be reached by car via the entrance off Fairlight Road just before Fairlight Church on Battery Hill.

It can also be reached by public transport by taking the 344 bus service between Hastings (Breeds Place) and Pett and getting off at Fairlight Church.  To reach the Country Park and the Visitors Centre from the bus stop, cross the road and walk down Coastguard Lane.  Please note that this is an hourly service running from Hastings at 22 minutes past the hour and there are no services on Sundays or Bank Holidays.

Alternatively, improve your health and take in the views by walking.

Follow the signs for the Firehills on the way, then the marked bollards once in the Country Park.  If you do walk, please remember to wear appropriate footwear such as walking boots and outdoor clothing suitable for the weather conditions.  

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