Regular ramblers may have noticed a number of new footpath signs popping up all over the Holme Valley. The infamous “disappearing” sign on Holmfirth 50 which was an early victim of the last lockdown has just been replaced, will it make it to the 2nd December? Holmfirth 149,shown in the photo, usually disappears pretty quickly too and has been awol for 20 years until a couple of weeks ago.
Many other signs have been replaced and cleaned up with more to come. Thank you Kirklees.
Some excellent news for Holmfirth Footpath 168 through Morton Wood. Kirklees agreed to replace the 4 rotting footbridges on this popular section of the Kirklees Way earlier in the year but delays due to Covid 19 have set things back. However the 4 bridges are now ready to go in! In addition the washed out section of the path shown in the photo above will be reinstated.
This is a significant and expensive scheme and credit is due to Kirklees for committing to do this work. Particular thanks and appreciation is due to the Project Officer and front line staff involved.
Previously on PathWatch we highlighted a Dodgy Gate & Stile On Pennine Way Black Hill The gate has now been modified to allow easy access for walkers with rucksacks. The tight coral area has been completely removed. At 4 months from report to being fixed this must be a PathWatch record!
Holmfirth 78 was one of the worst paths in the valley from a maintenance point of view. Choked with vegetation and a quagmire underfoot due to a longstanding drainage issue. It was barely passable.
The path has had some attention from Kirklees this year and it’s now a delight to walk down. Some simple drainage,clearance and surfacing work have made a huge difference and completely transformed the path into an inviting little walk with distant views across the valley. Well done Kirklees!
Following confirmation by the Planning Inspectorate of an order to add this well used footpath to the definitive map the final legal appeal window has now closed. The public footpath exists in law and should be available for public use. Of course it is still blocked by locked gates and numerous intimidating signs.
Despite a strong and successful public claim for the right of way, a direction from the Secretary of State to Kirklees to determine the matter, an inquiry by written representations and a confirmed order the situation on the ground is unchanged.
The public are now in the unenviable position of being reliant on the council to open up the path to public use. As readers of PathWatch will know, this isn’t a good place to be. Basically there isn’t a piece of string long enough to measure this kind of timescale.
Nothing will happen on the ground unless a degree of public pressure is exerted on the council. To that end it would be useful if the public contacted the local ward councillors and asked for prompt action to open up the path. The three ward councillors are Rob WalkerLesley Warner and Donna Bellamy
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.
Prompted by a post on Kirklees Bridleways Group Facebook page I refreshed my memory on The Packhorse Road Trial back in 1908. There’s an excellent summary of events from Marsden History Group here packhorse_rd_trial
It’s a familiar tale of a landowner, Sir John Radcliffe, attempting to close the Rapes Road (Colne Valley BW 197). His lordship was none to pleased at repairs carried out and signs erected by the local Marsden Council.
This of course is before the days of the 1949 National Parks & Access to the countryside act and the formal recording of rights of way on definitive maps. So Marsden Council had to win the argument in court that the way was a public highway and that works it had carried out were legal. With the assistance of many Marsden residents as witnesses, it won the argument.
It’s acknowledged in the case that there were some minor deviations from the established line due to seasonal ground conditions. Interestingly the line of the bridleway over Stack End is mentioned (known then as “Lady End). This of course is the line subsequently recorded on the definitive map. As such it is unquestionably publicly maintainable by Kirklees Council, the current highway authority. As reported in Not Colne Valley Bridleway 197 Kirklees have funded over £50k worth of repairs to a nearby alternative line which is not publicly maintainable.
This bridleway has a historical significance as a long established, defended and valued public highway. It’s been poorly treated by Kirklees. Arguably they have succeeded where Sir John Radcliffe failed in 1908 by closing a short but important section of the route at Stack End.
Of course Kirklees have no authority to carry out a de facto closure/diversion of this nature or to spend a penny of public money on private property but there you go.
This must be one of the more obvious and seemingly straightforward path obstructions featured on PathWatch. A new 3 strand barbed wire fence strung across the old stone stile on Holmfirth 73. Real bread & butter work for any half competent highway authority. Whilst it’s great that it has now been removed it should never have taken 20 months to do it!
A little waymarking, vegetation clearance and general TLC to get the path back into a more user friendly condition overall is still needed.
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.