The quote above is from Councillor Naheed Mather the Kirklees Cabinet Member for the Environment and was made in response to viewing the photos in this post. The images are of course from Ramsden Road and Kiln Bent Lane, the scene of much 4×4 damage to both the highway and surrounding countryside. Perhaps a visit to Specsavers early in the New Year would be a good idea.
That you can can see the scar on the hillside from miles away is an indication of the extensive damage that has been done to Magdalen Road, a public bridleway in the Peak District National Park. The road is Meltham Bridleway 50 and it’s popular with mountain bikers, horse riders and walkers in equal measure.
There’s a lack of suitable off road routes for equestrians and cyclists in both the national park and wider Kirklees. That any public bridleway can be treated in this manner is appalling and thoughtless but not a surprise. At the moment who has carried out the work remains a mystery. Kirklees are advising that the work is unauthorised and enquiries are ongoing. Let’s hope they tackle this head on and quickly!
Following on from It’s Not A Rifle Range. You Don’t Have To Keep Out. a number of ramblers have got in touch to point out that the above sign is not in fact on its own. Oh no, it has friends stretching back over 500 metres to the legitimate exclusion zone. A wall of “Danger Keep Out” signs on what is public access land. Here is the legitimate keep out zone Deer Hill Site Notice – July 2019 The sign above and its friends are over 500 metres away!
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.
Thanks Kirklees 🙂
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.
I know which approach I prefer.
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!
In Ramsden Road Kirklees V Jacob’s Ladder Derbyshire PathWatch compared the two very different approaches of two seperate Highway Authorities within the Peak District National Park and how they make decisions on the management of problem Byways.
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.