Fringe Box



Letter: Having Cattle in Riverside Park Makes Access Difficult for Disabled

Published on: 30 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 30 Apr, 2021

From: Paul Robinson

As a daily walker around Riverside Park, with much dismay I noticed the new signs saying the cattle will be back soon. Has the council ever surveyed the regular users of this wonderful facility and asked what they, the council customer and financier, thinks?

I have yet to meet a regular user who thinks the cattle are a benefit. There are times when walking on either side of the lake you can find your route cut off by the cattle ahead and you have no option but to turn round and go up the other side.

A few years ago, I was walking on the riverside when I was nearly mown down by cattle charging round the corner from the small field at the Burpham end just after they had been released. They were frightened and disoriented.

Last year, during the fine weather the picnic table area by the lake was very popular with families, some at the tables and others with blankets on the grass. Two years ago, when the cattle were last there, this area was a mass of cowpats.

Access to Riverside Park last year was perfect for disabled mobility scooter and wheelchair users with the double gates secured open. Now they have been latched closed it is a nightmare.

For readers unfamiliar with the problem, the gates are a double set-up with a holding area [known as a sally-port] between them, one gate spring-loading closes before you open the next. This is fine for able-bodied people but those on mobility scooters and wheelchairs would have extreme difficulty.

They have to wait by the gate for someone to open the gates for them. So much for independence.

There is a padlocked gate opposite Stoke Lock. You can get a key but a disabled user would have to get off their mobility scooter or wheelchair to operate the gate.

Another option to make the area disabled-accessible would be to keep cattle out and you don’t need the gates. I haven’t noticed any deterioration in the site due to the lack of cattle last year.

Not so many years ago, there were council signs in the big lakeside field asking dog owners to keep their pets on a lead to protect ground-nesting birds. How is this reconciled with cattle tramping all over the area?

I can only guess the income the council derives from renting the land for cattle outweighs the leisure needs of their taxpayers.

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Responses to Letter: Having Cattle in Riverside Park Makes Access Difficult for Disabled

  1. Ross Connell Reply

    May 4, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    The continual presence of cattle grazing may be due to the “conservation grazing” practice of GBC Country side, Park and Leisure Serice under their Manager, Hendryk Jurk. I would point you to and “SANG” areas such as Riverside Park that aim to provide areas for dog-walking.

    I have directed Mr Jurk to your letter and you could contact him via GBC’s Countryside emal address.

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