Between Shooters Nab and West Nab there is an exclusion zone in the CROW Act access land. The area is a “fall of shot” zone where, theoretically, some stray shot may fall to the ground from the firing range north of Shooters Nab. Rather than use a red flag system to keep people off when live firing is actually taking place, the exclusion is at all times. The area is clearly marked on OS Maps and on the ground by the type of sign shown above. So far so good.
Except the sign above has only recently appeared and it is some 540 metres to the south and outside of the legal exclusion zone. Someone has gone to a lot of effort to put it there. This isn’t far away from similar signs and a fake dog ban sign highlighted in https://path-watch.com/2020/09/03/meltham-moor/
Down on Wessenden Head Road where the public have traditionally parked to access West Nab someone is putting boulders within the width of the public highway and digging holes in other long established parking spots.
We really aren’t welcome in areas of our own countryside it would seem.
On a wet foggy walk it is easy to pinpoint Ramsden Road through the gloom. Just walk towards the loud high pitched sounds of motorbikes over revving as they destroy the local countryside. Hey presto you end up on the Somme like byway which lies within the Peak District National Park near Holmfirth. This unintended navigation aid could be seen as one of the few positive benefits of off roading. Though a map and compass are more environmentally friendly.
A staggering level of incompetence from Kirklees Council and political interference from a couple of councillors have permitted the byway and adjacent land to continue to be trashed by vehicles. There is seemingly no end in sight to the environmental damage.
Both Kirklees Council and Holme Valley Parish Council have declared climate emergencies and are committed to making the area more walker friendly. Kirklees go as far as saying they wish to make the area a great place to walk and cycle! Hard to believe that when looking at these photos. Both council’s, and to some degree the Peak District National Park, stand by and look on, enabling this environmental degradation to continue.
The vehicles that use Ramsden Road are more often than not aging 4×4’s pumping out black diesel fumes along with particulates from brakes and clutches. Nasty stuff for anything that breathes. These vehicles travel from all over the uk to pollute and damage the countryside here in the Peak District. It’s low hanging fruit for any council half serious about cutting emissions and protecting the local environment.
A permanent Traffic Regulation Order prohibiting motor vehicles from Ramsden Road ( and all other surrounding off road highways) would have an immediate effect in reducing pollution, carbon emissions and improving the amenity value of the right of way for walkers,riders and cyclists. It would also meet the National Parks aims of both “quiet enjoyment” by the public and conservation. Removing vehicles permanently is the only realistic way to achieve this and allow the environment to recover.
Kirklees have just completed some extensive drainage & resurfacing works to Holmfirth Footpath 63, Old Lane. The works bring back into use a lovely path which should be good now for a generation. Much improved from the wet January day in 2018 when it was surveyed. There is a claim currently logged with kirklees to upgrade the status of the way to bridleway. It’s now in a much better condition for shared use, as it must have originally been.
Delighted to report that Holmfirth Byway 182 at the foot of Holme Moss has had substantial surface repairs and drainage works. It looks a good quality job which will benefit a wide range of users and not least the humble pedestrian. Thank you to the Kirklees frontline staff involved in this 🙂
Most of the damage to this byway has been caused by off road vehicles which inflicted deep ruts and craters on the surface and destroyed the drainage in the usual manner. Much damage has and is being done by these vehicles to adjacent land,all within the Peak District National Park. See photos at the foot of this piece.
Byway 182 is less than a mile away from the foot of the Ramsden Road Byway. It is interesting to compare and contrast how they have been dealt with. Ramsden Road is a 20 year saga of failure from Kirklees. There have been petitions for banning vehicles, reports to committee, aborted Traffic Regulation Orders,weak management, failed works,public meetings,interference from councillors supporting the motor vehicle lobby, £30k spent in the past 2 years (which has achieved very little) and laterly the formation of a friends group.
In contrast Byway 182 was reported as being out of repair less than 2 years ago. It has now been repaired to a good standard without any fuss.
Following on from Ramsden Road. What’s Not Been Done. The following photos show the current state of Ramsden Road where it has been repaired & drained at a cost of £15k. Even after a modest amount of rain it clearly isn’t working. There is also damage by motorbikes to the new surface and fly tipping. Good money is being thrown after bad here and it is painful to watch.
The land beyond this gate is access land in the Peak District National Park and the public have the right to walk here. There was a proliferation of these signs in the area. Most did refer to private property but not this one. I’d only walked this way because the footpath I intended to use was blocked!
Derbyshire County Council are open,transparent and follow their authorities decision making process. Kirklees take more of a nudge,nudge,wink,wink approach and hold no record or documentation relating to their decision to overturn a delegated officer decision and drop their Ramsden Road TRO last December, having spent some £10k of public money in the process.
This is an interesting approach to doing things as it would appear to be well outside the Council’s constitution in terms of its decision making processes and of course shows the usual disregard for public money, residents concerns and the long suffering tax payer who funds it all.
Derbyshire have now made a TRO for Jacob’s Ladder at Stoney Middleton and because they follow due process the order and background information can be viewed at tro-jacobs-ladder . Kirklees have not followed the decision making process laid down in the Council’s constitution and it may be worth reading your tea leaves or seeing Mystic Meg as alternative sources of information.
It is some 7 months on from Kirklees Council’s unexplained decision to drop plans for an experimental traffic regulation order to restrict motor vehicles on Ramsden Road for 18 months. The plan, agreed with senior managers and councillors, was to allow for repairs to be undertaken and then bed in whilst being protected from vehicles for a short period.
So 7 months on how is the “Equitable Way Forward” getting on? Well it’s looking rather potholed as you can see from the photos. Despite the dry summer of 2018 and the equally dry winter that followed Ramsden Road continues to deteriorate and is particularly bad for pedestrians (traditionally the lowest of the low here in Kirklees). The flat top section of Ramsden Road is pitted with potholes and developing inland lakes despite the unusually dry past 12 months.
Repairs carried out by Kirklees in June 2018 have noticeably suffered from damage by vehicles. Even now in late June there is a large new pool which has developed this year and which walkers now have to deviate around. This damage is caused by legal use of Ramsden Road by vehicles. This sort of thing and this sort of thing for instance. It’s hard to see how the current surface or any future repairs will hold up to this type of usage or to understand why the council have now chosen to ignore the issue.
Of course the council know exactly what the issue is as can be seen from the following correspondence
From: Rob Dalby Sent: 22 August 2018 17:45 To: Cllr Nigel Patrick <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: Ramsden Road – Experimental TRO
Dear Cllr Patrick,
I do take this seriously, and this is not a decision taken lightly. You raised the decision process previously and as you may recall I CC’d in the portfolio holder Cllr Mather, I subsequently discussed the matter with her and she advised this was an operational decision, and as such rested with officers.
These actions are to address some long term issues that I have inherited, and have been in response to a s.56 notice . The upper section has been repaired, but as I have previously advised the lower section with the significant degradation that is the result of both damage caused by recreational off road vehicles such as land rovers and that damage being exacerbated by the water ingress and action within the non sealed surface and damaged substrates, is beyond an easy remedial fix, and will require significant intervention.
I do fully appreciate your points raised previously that relatively small scale actions to maintain the route earlier would have forestalled the need for this more drastic and on the face of it draconian response, but given the present condition of the route, the way forward of putting in place an experimental – and so by its nature time limited restriction of use, and then comparing that against another route of similar character that does have the earlier water management intervention possibly opens up more routes longer term, as it will demonstrate the cost benefit of those works.
This was gone into following talks with the national park, and how they are looking to address similar issues, and it is my intention to meet with and discuss the various merits and objections with as many groups as possible once we have all the interventions in place.
From: Rob Dalby Sent: 19 July 2018 11:25 To: Cllr Nigel Patrick; Cc: Elizabeth Twitchett; Jacqui Gedman; Cllr Donald Firth; Cllr Kenneth Sims; Cllr Naheed Mather; Karl Battersby Subject: RE: Ramsden Road, Holmbridge Attachments: RE: Meeting with Rob Dalby and Will Acornley – More suggested dates and times Dear Cllr Patrick,
I do appreciate your viewpoint, and this was why I understood after the conversation with yourself and your ward colleagues ( notes sent afterwards attached) that the experimental notice would be put in place and that we would then identify similar routes that could have drainage work undertaken to see if this would preserve the surface. The reason it is a time limited notice is that the matter can be subject to some rigour to come up with a longer term solution to allow sustainable access to our routes.
You have mentioned enforcement, but the issue at Ramsden road specifically is that the route is not being used illegally, there is a legal right for 4×4 usage, but it is that very allowed usage that has certainly contributed and exacerbated any issues with surface degradation. The issue of illegal use would be more in the realm of the Police if the driving was dangerous.
This issue was discussed with the previous portfolio holders but I have including the present portfolio lead Cllr Mather so that she can if she wishes comment on this.
It’s plain to see that any repairs are vulnerable to damage by legal vehicular use and that the council know this is the case. Why then would they permit any future works to go ahead without mitigating this risk?
Both these Byways are located within the Peak District National Park (in the case of Ramsden Road the section of byway most out of repair & problematic falls within the park boundary) . Both have very similar long standing issues relating to damage by vehicles, water damage and conflict between vehicles and other users. However both byways have different Highway Authorities responsible for them. Ramsden Road has Kirklees Metropolitan Council whilst Jacob’s Ladder has Derbyshire County Council.
The difference in the decision making processes regarding the future of each byway by its respective highway authority is striking.
Officers at Derbyshire County Council have compiled a 19 page report which will be presented to the County’s Highways Committee later this month. The report contains results of an extensive public consultation on the proposals for the byway which involved over 1000 responses. Various Defra policies on byways are referenced along with the councils policy on green lanes and a detailed officer analysis. Financial and legal considerations are explained in detail and there is a list of referenced background papers. There’s much in this report applicable to Kirklees and Ramsden Road and it is well worth a read. Most of what it covers has never been taken into account properly by Kirklees in respect of Ramsden Road.
In contrast there is no transparent decision making process here in Kirklees, no report on Ramsden Road, no traffic survey, no reference to Defra policy, no local policy, no site survey, no consultation and no record of any legitimate decision making process for the council’s current course of action. Kirklees Council as Highway Authority for Ramsden Road have said on record that its decision on Ramsden Road was “was based on a visual assessment of the road and discussion with colleagues and the Peak Park on the most equitable way forward”. No date of when this decision was taken, no details of who was involved, what information it was based on, absolutely no record of it whatsoever.
Again it is well worth reading the Jacob’s letter report as an example of how these matters should be properly dealt with.
This report concerns Jacob’s ladder which is a byway at Stoney Middleton rather than the bridleway in Edale of the same name.
The decline in the condition of Ramsden Road continues and indeed would seem to be accelerating. These images were taken on the long sloped section which is within the Peak District National Park. Some 12 years or so ago when a local petition was raised to Kirklees Council about the condition of the road and use by 4×4 vehicles the road looked like this.
It was just at the point of perhaps being repairable and it’s rural character saved. Sadly the Council, subject to a toxic mix of ineptitude and political interference, did nothing. The sloping section in the Peak Park has gone completely now and is recognised as being unsafe by the Council.
That same toxic soup of ineptitude and political interference drives the Council in 2019. Walkers are vulnerable users and have to negotiate a surface akin to walking on marbles, deep ruts, holes, a broken cattle grid and of course 4×4’s and motorbikes. Who is standing up for pedestrian users? Certainly not our local tory councillors who are determined to protect motorbikes and 4×4’s and in doing so prolong the mess in England’s most popular National Park .