A mother who was injured in a park because overgrown grass obscured a wooden stump has warned it could have been much worse.

Natalie Clark, 30, was playing in Denton Park, Newhaven, with her four-year-old daughter, Luna, when she ran into the post hidden in the long grass.

Natalie, from Newhaven, was left with bruising and a graze on her shin. Now she is calling for Lewes District Council to take action over the state of the park before a child is injured.

She said: “I dread to think if this was the injury I received what it would do to kids.

The hidden wooden posts which Natalie injured herself on The hidden wooden posts which Natalie injured herself on (Image: Natalie Clark)

“If a little child runs and catches it they are guaranteed to knock their face and teeth on the stumps.

“Hopefully the council will come over and cut it. It is a public place so we shouldn't have to cut it ourselves, this is why we all pay council tax.”

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Lewes district councillor Sean Macleod, who represents Newhaven North, said: “The play parks in Denton are in a disgraceful condition and this is due to the contractor Idverde not mowing them as they should. Newhaven Town Council pay Lewes District Council to manage our grass management programme but it's just not happening.

Overgrowth has also been reported in other parks in the areaOvergrowth has also been reported in other parks in the area (Image: Natalie Clark)

“It's shocking that a lady has been injured in one of our parks due to poor maintenance, it's time Lewes District Council started holding Idverde to account and penalising them for their poor grass management as frankly it's totally unacceptable.”

Natalie took to social media to share her dismay, prompting others to highlight problems in parks in Lewes Road and Norton Road which they said were hazardous with overgrown grass and nettles interfering with play equipment.

One woman said she would cut the grass herself. Laura Dean said: “My son is having a party soon at Lewes Road park, if the grass is still long we've already said we are just going to cut it ourselves.

“Shame on Lewes District Council. Children’s parks should be kept tidy and safe for the kids to play. Little children and babies crawling around will end up hurting themselves.”

A council spokesman said the grass was being cut this week and officers would "take any other safety measures required". 

The injury Natalie suffered following the incident The injury Natalie suffered following the incident (Image: Natalie Clark)

He said the council was "proud of our parks and gardens" but maintenance teams were under huge pressure right across the UK following the particularly wet spring. 

He said: "The high levels of rainfall made it too damp to mow the grass and with the warmer weather that followed there has been very rapid growth in grasses and other vegetation. This is something that local authorities are struggling to keep pace with."

He said many grounds maintenance contractors, including Idverde, were trying to bring in more resources to manage the situation and consequently there was "a shortage of suitable candidates for these roles".

The spokesman added: "Council officers are meeting Idverde on a regular basis and have left its senior team in no doubt about the seriousness of our concerns.
"Idverde has acknowledged that levels of service provided have fallen below the high standards we expect and assured us that it is doing everything within its power to address the current under-performance.
"We are monitoring the progress made and will not hesitate to take further action if the promised improvements are not quickly achieved."