Because of the Ramblers

CampaignerKate

The upside to lockdown last spring was that lots of people discovered their local paths—and as we return to lockdown they will do so again. But few will have realised that those local paths only exist because of the work of the Ramblers and our predecessors.

Without the Ramblers there would probably have been no definitive maps of public rights of way, which we won 71 years ago in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Before then, if you went for a walk and found your path blocked you had to prove it was a public highway before you could expect any action to clear it.

Path cleared through maize near Felbrigg in Norfolk

The definitive maps were just the start though. Then we had to claim the paths for the maps—not so easy in the 1950s when far fewer people had their own cars. Later…

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Meltham Moor

 

Access land
Stile on access land,Meltham Moor. 

20 years on from the Crow Act 2000 and the “right to roam” and there are still areas around here where you can’t help but feel unwelcome. Meltham Moor is one of them. The stile at Muddy Brook Clough is not maintained and difficult to use. In contrast a misleading sign warning of a rifle range  and highlighting a fictitious dog ban is very well looked after.  For the record here is the only dog restriction in that area 2019108990 It’s over half a mile away.

Access land-2
Misleading sign – there is no “dog ban” at this location

Kirklees Council Has Taken Decisive Action To Remove Illegal And Potentially Unsafe Structures From The Highway

Kirklees remove dangerous obstructions from highway. Don’t panic it wasn’t a public footpath and all council approved blockages remain in place. Furthermore this outbreak of ‘decisivness’ is under control and will not spread to the public rights of way network.

Kirklees obstructing Spen Footpaths 110

Defra’s omissions

CampaignerKate

Environment ministers have a habit of making speeches just before the summer holidays.  I wrote yesterday of David Trippier’s disastrous announcement on common land 30 years ago.  Last year Michael Gove spoke to us from the hothouse at Kew, in his final days as environment secretary—and failed to mention public access, a significant part of Defra’s remit.  Last week his successor George Eustice similarly made his heading-for-holidays speech, again without mentioning public access.

You would have thought that with the summer break about to start they might have been thinking about recreation.

HomewardboundnearLaneHead,Horndon,MaryTavy Riders near Lane End on Dartmoor

George Eustice did announce that Defra would be ‘investing £4m in a two-year pilot to bring green prescribing to four urban and rural areas that have been hit the hardest by coronavirus’, which presumably has an access element—but this is too little too late.

IMG_6440 Walkers near Otley in west Yorkshire

Green prescribing has…

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A helpful act for paths

30 years on from the “Rights of Way” Act 1990 but here in Kirklees they haven’t heard of it!

CampaignerKate

In November 1987, the late Brett Collier, the Lincolnshire Ramblers’ path-champion, led the Conservative MP for Gainsborough and Horncastle, Edward Leigh, on a walk across local farmland.  Edward saw at first hand the constant issues which walkers and riders in the county faced: ploughed and deeply-rutted paths across large fields, unrestored and unmarked.  At another time of year he would have had to negotiate impenetrable crops.

This outing was a wise move on Brett’s part.  Three years later Edward came fifth in the ballot for private member’s bills.  Remembering his walk he turned to the Ramblers for advice on the bill he might introduce.

Draft bill
Coincidentally, the Ramblers had been working with other organisations on legislation to strengthen the law against ploughing and cropping of paths and were able to hand him a draft bill.  He introduced this into parliament—and the result was the Rights of Way Act, which…

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Ramsden Road. What’s Not Been Done 2

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.

Ramsden Rd June 20
Reopened culvert  with nowhere for the water to drain to. This could damage the wall and will surcharge back onto ramsden Road in wetter conditions.

Ramsden Rd June 20-4
Water running off Ramsden Road & eroding back the road edges. The culverts should have been retained with stone. The road levels here are low and the cause of this issue.Imagine a land rover driving on this edge.

Ramsden Rd June 20-2
A reopened culvert which discharges onto the adjacent drystone wall. The wall footings have been undercut in the recent works. Water accumulating here could undermine the wall over time and it will surcharge back onto Ramsden Road as it has nowhere else to go.

Ramsden Rd June 20-5
One of a number of basic grips cut into the verge of Ramsden Road (which was the best bit for pedestrians to walk on! ). Even after a very modest amount of rain water  accumulates at the base of adjacent dry stone wall. In wetter conditions the water will just back up onto Ramsden Road.

Ramsden Rd June 20-7
Another very basic grip. In 30 years I’ve never seen water accumulate at this point. Again it will surcharge back down Ramsden Road in wetter conditions.

Ramsden Rd June 20-9
Another reopened culvert but with nowhere for the water to get away.

Ramsden Rd June 20-6
Group of 8 motor bikes traveling at speed on Ramsden Road.

Ramsden Rd June 20-8
Damage by motor bikes to the new surface which has only been in place for 2 weeks. What will it be like after the winter?

Rams Rd-2
More motor bike damage. Where are pedestrians supposed to walk here?

Rams Rd
The yellow sandstone in the foreground here is the last remaining bit of the 2018 repairs. The grey stone beyond was put down just a couple of weeks ago and the potholing pattern caused by vehicles is already obvious.

Ramsden Road Flttipping 3_6_20
A very neat pile of fly tipping just inside the Peak District National Park section of Ramsden Road.

Ramsden Rd June 20-11
Same fly tipping 4 days later after a few 4×4 enthusiasts have driven through it.

Screenshot (13)
More rain is forecast over the next few days. Maybe it will wash the fly tipping away?