One of the delights of Hereford, shared for years by walkers, cyclists, visitors to the city is in grave danger of being lost because of the inactivity of the county council. 

At the same time, a business that has long been a popular local amenity is being forced towards the point of insolvency because of the council’s attitude.

If you cross the river by the old bridge, head south, and turn immediately to your left along the riverside footpath, you are rewarded with a wonderful view of our beautiful city and quite the best view of Hereford’s glorious cathedral.

My family, with our dogs, have enjoyed this panorama for years, walking on along the riverbank then retracing out steps and stopping at the friendly little pub right at the end of the bridge, the Saracen’s Head, where in good weather we can sit outside drinking in the view and enjoying a glass of wine.

In bad weather we go inside and enjoy the dog-friendly comfort and excellent hospitality.

Inside or out we have chatted with countless strangers: British, Australian, Canadian, Japanese and European.

The path and the pub are wonderful welcoming assets to Hereford, but since last August both are being rendered inaccessible.

Last August a hole appeared in the footpath near the bridge and behind the pub.

Barriers were erected forbidding entry, and now, five months later, they remain in place.

The spectacular view is no longer enjoyed, and the pub, with business decimated, faces an unnecessarily bleak future.

The council will make many excuses, but the facts are simple: it created that footpath as a public right of way, and laid the present surface.

It is the council’s responsibility, but now it is trying very hard to get someone else to pay for repairing the hole, gambling that the licensee will stump up in order to prevent the business going under.

The council should accept its responsibility and do its duty.

The Rev Jimmy Morrison

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