Walkers were dismayed to find access to Buxted Park restricted at the weekend after new fencing went up.
They were pushed back from open fields on to muddy paths and took to Buxted Talk, on Facebook, to query why the fencing was there.
Estate manager Rob Batchelor said wherever they put fencing it was to protect wildlife, livestock, create habitat and to protect estate land.
Site of Special Scientific Interest
He said: “Not many people are aware but we are an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), with public footpaths, not an open access common. Where we have denoted footpaths in the past we have planted 1000s of hedging plants to provide wildlife corridors.
“The area concerned at the moment used to be an oasis of wildlife but now everyone and their neighbours just let their dogs run riot over the area (I follow people from my village 20 minutes away to walk here).
“When I started here we had skylarks nesting on the big Warren but no longer, (there will be an electric fence surrounding Warren to keep cattle out at appropriate time).
“I don’t plan to put a hedge line down this fence yet until I have a site visit as it might be suggested as a bat corridor to enable the bats to go from the woods to the lakes safety.
“I do all my work with the backup of NE and the Forestry Commission and we have gone from ‘unfavourable condition’ to ‘improving’.
“I know that the quagmire by the lakes is a bug bear for many people but again I need permission to do this and hopefully this summer I might be able tackle it.
“Sorry if people don’t like what I do but I love working in the park and whatever we do is to improve it although it’s not pleasing on the eye to start with has long term goals.”
Mr Batchelor added that he hoped eventually the land would be opened up again to dogs on leads so people could see the results of the work.
He said deer could still access the areas as they would leap the fence easily and he hoped they would feel more secure when there was not so much disturbance. Coppiced hazel stools would be protected individually to prevent browsing.