Muir calls for an end to the King John's Highway blockade

Path blocked on 4 August 2010

I was contacted by local residents a few weeks ago about the King John's Highway Right of Way near Creighton's Green Road, Holywood. Residents reported it was blocked but I was glad to see the path re-opened on Tuesday 10 August 2010. I am now frustrated that the path has again been blocked.

The path is a historic public Right of Way established after King John made his way from Carrickfergus to Dublin via Holywood and Dundonald in 1210. North Down Borough Council's Holywood Walking Guide details that King John "is said to have “spent the night” of Thursday July 29 in the Government Bailey situated on the Motte before heading on to Dundonald by way of Victoria Road and Croft Road (formally King John’s Highway) to stay at Dundonald Motte (where he lost 2 pence playing cards!).

I am informed that the path was previously blocked a few years ago but re-opened following action by the Authorities. I was therefore shocked to hear that the path was again blocked a few weeks ago, this time by massive padlocked gates erected at what I assume must have been great expense. I immediately contacted North Down Borough Council's Countryside Officer who has been very helpful. Swift action was taken and a few days later the gates were opened by North Down Borough Council who were able to use powers bestowed to them under the Access to the Countryside Act 1983.

Path blocked on 22 August 2010
Following action taken by North Down Borough Council on 10 August 2010 the path has been blocked with large mounds of soil. I am very frustrated that it seems that every effort possible is being made to stop people using this Right of Way. I am informed that North Down Borough Council are again taking action to re-open the path and I fully support their efforts to protect this Right of Way and ensure people are granted free passage.

Public paths and Rights of Way such as King John's Highway in Holywood are extremely important. They provide great leisure opportunities and are also part of our heritage. I hope sense prevails and this matter is quickly resolved once and for all. We should be advertising, promoting and improving our Rights of Way rather than blocking them.