Disappearing stiles

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Opening where a stile used to beSite of former stileAs a lover of the English countryside and all its idiosyncrasies, when a stile disappears I feel sad that the something quintessentially English has vanished.

However, as a dog walker, I am often very appreciative if it makes the walk easier when I have one or more dogs with me.

The photo shows where there used to be a stile at the start of footpath 56, which goes from the footbridge over the Rother near Merrieweathers towards Rolfs Farm.  I once came along this path from the Rolfs Farm direction on my way back after a long walk and discovered the old stile with no way round it and my 30kg Labrador unable to jump the stile.  Luckily I was just strong enough to lift her over and drop her (reasonably gently) over the other side.  Otherwise we would have had a long walk back the way we came.

I am not sure whether the removal of the stile is permanent and will wait to see with interest.  Meantime, we now have a much smaller dog (a Cockerpoo) which makes lifting her over remaining stiles much easier.

However in other areas “kissing gates” seem to be becoming more popular, which is also helpful for dog walkers.

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