Celebrations as gate to Pilton's Manning's Pit officially opened
- Credit: Jim D N Smith
The gates to Manning's Pit have been thrown open as local campaign group Friends of Manning’s Pit finally get access to the much-loved green space.
For more than six years no local residents have been able to enter Manning's Pit from the Windsor Road, Bradiford and Chaddiford Lane direction unless they were agile enough to climb over a high and awkward-to-climb gate.
Now thanks to the Friends of Manning's Pit volunteer Maintenance Team, more popularly known as “Dad's Army”, there is a brand-new entrance, with a kissing gate making pedestrian access easy again.
This is also the shortest way to reach the Manning's Pit bridge with its historical and cultural links, and provides a level entrance into the main Manning's Pit field itself.
A spokesperson for the Friends of Manning’s Pit said: “Local people of all ages were there in force on Saturday, September 18, to show their appreciation as the five members of ‘Dad's Army’ raised their glasses of bubbly to celebrate.
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“Two little girls, whose grandfather Joe is one of the Maintenance Team, cut the ribbon to declare the gate well and truly open.
“We would like to thank Pearce Constructions for their support in licensing access to Manning's Pit from Windsor Road, and to Tozers and Wollens for their assistance in enabling this to happen.”
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The area has been used for rest and recreation by generations of Pilton people and campaigners feared it could be lost to a housing development.
Nearly six years after the Friends of Manning's Pit were founded, the group earlier this year announced that the fields had been purchased for the benefit of the local community.
“Our aim from the beginning was to save the land for future generations, both for the protection of the wildlife and for community access. It was never enough just to stop the initial planning proposal,” said Christine Lovelock, chair of the group, speaking earlier this year.
“We have faced many obstacles but we never gave up, and neither did the wonderful local people who supported our campaign through all the difficult times and never lost hope.”