ANGRY residents in Blackrod have criticised the “disgraceful”

state of a popular roadside path — claiming parts of it have become inaccessible.

Jogger Alison Billington, aged 42, said she was so badly covered in nettle stings after running along the path next to the A6 Blackrod bypass that she has now had to change her route for the first time in six years.

Husband David Billington, aged 43, was left fuming after seeing his wife’s stings, and claims the area is overgrown and littered with rubbish.

The couple, of Tanner’s Brow, have lived in the area for 17 years and said they have never seen the path in its current state.

Alison said: “I’ve been running there for the past six years and this is the worst it’s been.

“Before I started jogging I used to push a double-width buggy along there and there was no problem.

“A lot of my friends walk along there and take prams down there.

“But after I came home covered in nettle stings David said ‘right that’s it’.”

Mr Billington said: “It’s in a disgraceful state. Is this where our hard-earned council tax goes?

“There is also an abundance of rubbish. I really do feel this stretch of road deserves better.”

A Bolton Council spokesman said cutting grass, which often required lane closures for health and safety reasons, was both costly to taxpayers and disruptive for motorists.

She said: “To minimise disruption, the council implements a planned programme of maintenance activities throughout the year based on previous years’ rates of grass growth by area.

“However, this year has seen one of the wettest summers on record with unpredictable grass and weed growth rates which have been significantly above what was expected.

“We will start grass cutting work on the Blackrod Bypass in the next couple of weeks, also we will be reviewing the frequency of operations for summer 2013.”