AN 80-YEAR-OLD man was attacked after trying to prevent cyclists from illegally riding on a footpath near his house.

The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, was knocked to the ground on the Severn Way footpath just off Church Lane, Oldbury-on-Severn.

He went to close the gate when two cyclists, a man and a woman, attempted to get on the permissive footpath.

The man was left with a fractured rib as a result of the accident and has been in considerable discomfort ever since.

He has been advised to take eight painkillers a day for the next eight weeks to manage the pain while the bone reforms.

Although walkers are allowed on this particular stretch of footpath, cyclists are not permitted to use it.

The man said: “They came down it and I just happened to be out there. I tried to shut the gate as they went out.

“The next thing I knew I was on the ground.”

He remembers the man standing over him with his ‘fists raised right over my face’ before the woman stopped him from causing any further damage.

“He was stood over me threatening another punch when she stepped in.

“I thought I was in for a pasting. Maybe he wasn’t going to hit me but it didn’t look like that,” he said.

Reflecting on the unprovoked attack he added: “They knew so well they couldn’t be there. They were annoyed I happened to be out there.

“I suspect they were on some trek along the Severn Way. They thought they’d get away with it but they didn’t.

“Hundreds of people walk it, we have groups of walkers. Generally people are fine, this was the first time.

“This was a bit of a shaker,” he said.

The resident has also called for more visible signing to be placed on the footpath to ensure cyclists know they are forbidden from riding there.

In the past he has regularly put up signs himself in an attempt to make it clear cyclists are forbidden from riding there.

He described the footpath as ‘not compatible’ with bikes due to the amount of horses and young children that also use the path.

“If you have one or two the next thing there could be dozens of them and bike rides organised.

“The moment I opened the gate I would have been permitting it. I wanted to stop them so they learnt they couldn’t come through,” he said.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: “The Severn Way at this location is permissive and cycling is not permitted.

“We will be installing gates across the sluice next week and will review the current ‘No Cycling’ signage.”

Avon and Somerset Police are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident.

Anyone with any information should call 101 quoting the crime number 5218207271 from September 15.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form at