The Combe Valley Warden Service has been operating since December 2019, in close liaison with Hastings Police, the Sussex Police Rural Crime Team and with Rother Police at Battle Police Station.
The Warden Service has six volunteer wardens, one of whom is the warden co-ordinator.
They regularly patrol the Combe Valley Countryside Park with around 30 miles of paths and a varied landscape of waterways, woodlands, water meadows and marshes.
There have been many instances of unacceptable behaviour including criminal behaviour reported by the wardens. These include:
- deliberate fires in woodland and grass fires,
- the painting of anti-Semitic slogans and other graffiti,
- loose dogs in swan nesting areas,
- illegal stocking of East Sussex County Council anti-flood attenuation lakes with golden carp, illegal fishing,
- the misuse of off-road vehicles and track motor bikes,
- damage to paths, gates, stiles and fences, including bat boxes, a bird hide, farmers property,
- fly-tipping and items of stolen property,
- the harassment of walking families and farmers by bikers.
The regular patrols of the Warden Service with prompt reporting of crimes to police have resulted in a reduction in the number of incidents. Facebook has been used to appeal for witnesses and local people have taken photos of suspects which have been sent to Sussex Police.
The wardens have provided information and maps to visitors to the park and helped reassure visitors if they have come across damage or other problems.
On average the wardens spend about 12 hours each week patrolling in the park, which works out at about 600 hours in 2020 and 440 hours from January to the 18th September 2021.
Community Safety includes path clearance, path repair, the removal of fallen trees. Work is in hand to install disability-friendly kissing gates and information notice boards with maps, wildlife identification information and police warning notices.
Volunteers, including the wardens, have spent in excess of 350 hours undergoing restorative work in the park from May 2021 until September 2021.
If you wish to find out more about becoming a warden then contact :
Peter Clarke on 07393 358530