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Hillfarrance landowner in footpath stand-off
A LANDOWNER has closed a public footpath across her field, claiming ramblers are putting lives at risk by leaving a gate open.
Tracy Daly took action because she fears one of her horses could escape and cause a fatal accident.
The council has offered to fix the gate but says it hasn’t had time yet because of “high workloads”.
Ms Daly said: “I’ve done everything to make the footpath open and accessible to people.
“But the neighbour’s horses are getting into our field because people are leaving the gate open.
“I’ve got a mare in foal and if one of the stallions gets in and starts fighting, it could kill her.
“And if one of my horses got out and hit a small car like a Mini, it could kill someone.”
Ms Daly, who also keeps alpacas at Knapp Farm, Hillfarrance, asked Somerset County Council, the body responsible for footpaths, to fix a hinge on the gate six weeks ago but says nothing has happened.
A council spokesman said landowners are responsible for stiles and gates on their land on public Rights of Way, although they can reclaim 25% of “reasonable costs”.
He added: “We’ve offered to improve Ms Daly’s gates to resolve the problem she’s been experiencing at minimal cost as a goodwill gesture.
“We’ve not been able to undertake the work as quickly as Ms Daly would wish due to high workloads at this time of year and have suggested she may wish to undertake the work herself as the gates are ultimately her responsibility as landowner.
“We cannot be responsible for the actions of the general public who use the Rights of Way network when they leave gates not as they find them.”