The Schwarzenbach family have very kindly agreed to keep the permissive footpath on their land open whilst the Marsh Head Horsebridge is closed for repair for the foreseeable future. The Environment Agency (EA) closed the bridge in May 2022 due to safety reasons.
The family gave notice to the EA in December that the temporary footpath diversion across their land would be closed on 1 April 2023. In the email sent to the EA, Alex Dick, Estate Manager for Culden Faw Ltd he said, “There are a number of reasons they wish to do this, the primary one being the increased use of the route by horses and vehicles at that time (and the associated danger to the public and hence increased liability) and also the inordinate amount of time it is/has taken the EA to progress things.”
Following meetings between their Estate Manager and representatives from the Environment Agency to discuss the ongoing situation with the Marsh Head Horsebridge, The Schwarzenbach’s Estate Manager Alex Dick said “I have met the Environment Agency’s Project Manager, David McKnight, Toby Murray, the Environment Agency’s Agent and Hannah Gutteridge, the Thames Path Manager for Oxfordshire County Council. David explained the issues the Environment Agency face with the repair on the bridge, particularly those regarding how it will be funded as well as ongoing issues about ownership and responsibility of the structure. This is on top of the engineering problems a project of this type pose. Notwithstanding the fact the family want to see this issue resolved without delay they appreciate there is no short term fix to this problem and have agreed to keep the permissive path open. They understand the importance of this route for the many people who use it, particularly locals, and the fact the alternatives offered are not practical. The route will remain open but we will retain the right to close it at any stage. This is a busy working estate and the public must stay on the route that is marked, without deviation. Improved signage will be installed by Hannah Gutteridge and her team.”