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Confusion as popular path closed off

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By Joseph Gartly
Annan and Eskdale

QUESTIONS are being asked as to why a popular walking route near Ecclefechan appears to have been closed off.

Gates appeared almost overnight on an former rail path near Cowthat Farm this week.
Councillor for Annandale East and Eskdale Archie Dryburgh yesterday said: “I am trying to get the path reopened.
“I have been trying to get hold of the relevant authorities.
“There should have been consultations conducted before this was done.”
Anthony Analore posed the initial question on the Ecclefechan Community Project Facebook page this week, with photos of new gates that have appeared on the bridge that joins two paths at the site.
He said: “Anyone know when the access was blocked by the railway? Was a great walk with the dogs, sad it’s gone now.”
And villager John Craig confirmed it is actually a right of way. He said: “That path is a right of way. I cut it when I supervised the community service.”
The path is situated by a set of retired rail-links, and has been used by walkers since that area stopped being used by the rail companies.
Councillor Dryburgh confirmed that it may have been safety concerns over the bridge that has sparked the situation, however he again reiterated the need for advance warning.
He said: “This is a very recent and appears to have been done just before the new year.
“It may just be a case of maintenance work on the bridge needing to be conducted, but I will find out.
“I have not had any luck as of yet with Network Rail, but for many it is the first day back from the holidays, so any information may take some time to come through.”

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