Partners > East Sussex County Council

East Sussex County Council

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is the local government body responsible for the county of East Sussex, a coastal county in the south east of England.

At ESCC, the Accessing the Countryside project is run by the environmental operations service. This service is responsible for managing 15 countryside sites, covering an area of around 1,500 hectares and 2,000 miles of rights of way.
Bluebells

In East Sussex, the project focuses on the different landscapes across the county that we manage and protect. These cover a range of different environments: from the coastal habitats of the sand dunes, shingle beaches and marshland, to the inland rural countryside towards the north of the county.

Why we are taking part

Much of East Sussex is classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Accessing the Countryside project will help us to:

  • protect our countryside sites and rights of way
  • improve access to the countryside for a range of user groups through route and access improvements

While the county is mainly rural in character, nearly three quarters of the population live in urban areas. The project aims to encourage residents from these urban centres to visit the countryside and participate in events and volunteering opportunities.

ESCC has a long history of taking on volunteers and trainees who work alongside paid staff to maintain our rights of way and countryside sites. The project gives us the opportunity to share our experience and ideas for working in this way.  

As we are the only English partner in the project, our partners are interested in finding out more from us about the English model for countryside management and rights of way. Equally, it is interesting for us to learn from the ideas of our Flemish counterparts.

What we are doing

Activities we will carry out as part of the project will include:

  • biodiversity surveys
  • development of database software for the planning, recording and management of countryside sites.
  • a programme of works for volunteers and full-time training programme for trainees
  • public events
  • consultation with user groups
  • access improvements, interpretation and habitat management.

For information on upcoming activities, visit our events page.

Work we have carried out so far includes:

  • access audits of pathsto assess current levels of access and what improvements could be made
  • access audit training
  • work with trainees and volunteers
  • research into suitable database systems
  • summer events for children and events planned for all ages Summer 2010 - see events page
  • route enhancement and site improvements across East Sussex to provide safer access for a range of users as well as providing access to previously closed sections of route
  • subscription to www.greenstat.org.uk