The Second Bracknell Forest Rights of Way Improvement Plan

Many areas of Bracknell enjoy footpaths with protected public right-of-way; Bracknell Forest Borough Council is looking to reinforce the protection of these routes and manage them by means of a public consultation. to view the full consultation documentation please visit the BFBC Consultation Portal by following this link:

http://consult.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/portal/leisure/rowip2

Public comments are due by the 4th of October 2017.

The following is an excerpt from the consultation:

Bracknell Forest Borough covers an area of 10,937 hectares and is located in central Berkshire, approximately 30 miles from central London and between the M3 and M4 motorways. The river Blackwater forms the south-western boundary of the borough, which contains six parishes: Bracknell, Sandhurst, Binfield, Warfield, Crowthorne and Winkfield.

For its size, the borough has a very diverse character. This is due to the change in geology between the north and the south. The northern parishes of Binfield, Warfield and the northern part of Winkfield are located over London clays; this area is characterised by small fields used for pasture and paddocks with hedgerows and small copses. The southern part of the borough’s geology is over the sand and gravel Bagshot beds; this acidic geology supports heathland and conifer plantations.

The history of the area has also had an impact on the landscape character. The area formed part of a vast Royal Hunting Forest associated with royalty from Saxon times, but particularly associated with the Norman Kings after 1066 and the development of Windsor Castle and estate. This legal status maintained and restricted the use of the land for many hundreds of years. It was not until the 18th century that land was granted out for the establishment of estates such as Easthampstead and South Hill. The arrival of the railway in the 1880’s saw the first expansion of the area, but the major change did not occur until the development of Bracknell New Town in the second half of the 20th Century.

Today, the borough still enjoys permissive public access to over 950 hectares (2,348 acres) of Crown Estate land and a further 79 hectares (195 acres) of land (in various ownership) that is accessible under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 as Access Land. This equates to almost 10% of the borough’s total area. Information about the extent of the rights of way network can be found in Chapter 4.

Bracknell Forest RoWIP2 is the prime means by which Bracknell Forest Council will manage, provide and promote rights of way for the benefit of walkers, equestrians, cyclists, and those with visual or mobility difficulties over the next 10 years. The Plan details our vision for the future of access to rights of way and green space network in Bracknell Forest and is designed to be an informative document setting the full context of the provision of rights of way and other forms of countryside access in the borough.

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