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Rat run to close at nature reserve

(January 04, 2009)
A NARROW country lane much loved by walkers, riders and cyclists that still exists within the town of Warminster which in danger of being re-named 'Rat Run Lane' is to be closed tomorrow (Monday) to cars writes Paul Macdonald.
The lane that runs past Henford Marsh and connects Bell Hill and Boreham provides frustrated motorists an inner by-pass during the long-running saga that the High Street and Market Place improvements has become.
It took an act of nature a couple of weeks ago to close it when the deluge of water caused the brook that runs alongside the lane to burst its banks and flood it deep enough to trap a car leaving the owner and their child to wade out of it.
An series of 30 minute surveys by last autumn revealed that at  least three or four cars and vans a minute were using the lane that has a nature reserve on one side and woods and stables on the other.
Several LGVs were also spotted trying to plough their way through churning up the roadside.
The edges of the lane have been turned into a muddy quagmire by cars creating passing places which now spreads across the road spoiling it for casual walkers.
"Often the quiet setting is disturbed by the beeping of horns as drivers let others know of their presence at one of the sharp and narrow bends," says Paul Macdonald.
"It is a shame that the car is so intrusive along here and I for one hope that the road closure will become permanent.
"The walk through here is special and so much has been done to make the nature reserve wheelchair friendly it is so accessible to everyone.
"You can see in the faces of young riders they are sometimes made to feel nervous spoiling their enjoyment.
"It is nice set off from Weymouth Street, go through our wonderful park, then the nature reserve, and use the lane to end up at the lovely setting of Hunters Moon."
The county council have reacted to complaints and are to close the road to motorists just past the nature reserve car park. The car park can still be reached from Southleigh View.
The regular use of the lane by drivers has now had another unwanted side effect for the car park. Complaints are pouring in to councillors about young drivers meeting there after discovering it while using the 'rat run' and adding to the disruption with litter and noise at night.
The restriction will be in place for at least ten weeks to coincide with the resumption of the town centre roadworks which were suspended for the Christmas festivities.

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