Storrington woman says cattle plan would ‘spoil’ safe haven

Rosemary Vaughan, who is concerned at plans for fencing at Warren Hill
Rosemary Vaughan, who is concerned at plans for fencing at Warren Hill

A WOMAN who has suffered a spate of anti-social behaviour has expressed fears over plans to install fencing and graze cattle at a nature spot which offered a safe haven.

Rosemary Vaughan, of Spierbridge Road, Storrington, believed the National Trust’s proposals to graze cattle at Warren Hill, Washington, would leave her unable to use the popular site due to safety concerns over her lack of mobility.

The 60-year-old, who is registered disabled, said she has endured years of incidents including repeated vandalism to her car outside her property, to the point of feeling unsafe walking down her own street.

Despite these incidents, she has found a rewarding challenge running a voluntary collie dog rescue service. According to Mrs Vaughan, this would also be affected as the young puppies she takes in would not be able to be near cattle.

She said: “I am very concerned by the cattle being grazed at this site. I suffer from arthritis and have to use a stick. If there are cattle grazing there then I would not be able to get out of the way of them as I have trouble walking.

“In this day and age when people are struggling to get by, they are spending money on putting up fencing. I just don’t see why there’s a need for cattle there. I won’t be able to take the young rescue dogs I have there either if they do this,” added Mrs Vaughan who said she is desperately trying to find suitable homes for seven dogs.

Michelle Cleverley, of the National Trust, stated it had carefully considered its plans in terms of disabled access to the site.

She said: “There are three existing gates at the car park (one of which is a five-bar gate, which is suitable for disabled access), and there will be two new gates along the line of the new fence (one of which will be another five-bar gate, suitable for disabled access).

“These gates will only be in place during the times the cattle are grazing, so for approximately five weeks twice a year, during other times they will be removed.”

According to the trust, it is aiming to restore natural heathland to the site.

It revealed that it was “fighting a losing battle” in cutting and spraying scrubland with its present management scheme. This prompted it to consider the cattle initiative due later this year.