Second world war memories used to secure Costessey footpath’s future

Footpath campaigners are using memories of a second world war plane crash to secure the future of a popular path.

Costessey Parish Council is having to hunt for walkers from at least 25 years ago as it bids to make the path linking Townhouse Road to Marriott's Way a public right of way.

At the moment the route is classed as permissive, meaning the landowner gives walkers permission to use it, but last month the path was closed, amid complaints of fly-tipping and dogs chasing horses.

In 2017, the route will no longer be classed as permissive and the council fears it may then be shut, which has led to the move to make it a right of way.

To make it a right of way, evidence needs to be gathered that the path was used for at least 20 years before the date it was made a permissive path – 2007.

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The evidence from before 1987 includes one man's childhood memories of March 7, 1945, when a US Airforce bomber, a B-24J Liberator, crashed into Carrs Hill Wood.

The plane was heading for Germany to bomb oil and communication targets including rail yards and a viaduct. But it crashed after take off killing the ten crewmen.

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Children walked up the footpath to the area where the plane had crashed but were stopped by the airforce.

Walker Gordon Hodgkin, 76, has been emailing walking clubs to find more people who used the path decades ago.

He said: 'It is one of the paths which gives us the best view of New Costessey.'

But, he said, finding people who used it before 1987 was almost as difficult as finding needles in a haystack.

Natural England will pay the landowner to keep the path open until 2017. The evidence will then be given to Norfolk County Council and a decision made on whether to make it a right of way.

To give your evidence of the footpath's use email or pick up forms from the Costessey Centre.

Do you have a story about Costessey for the Evening News? Contact reporter Tom Bristow on 01603772313 or email

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