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.
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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Mixed messages on a Calderdale footpath. Someone’s not happy 🙂
Long forgotten Holmfirth Footpath 77 has now been waymarked and signed throughout its course between Edge End Lane & Mellor Lane. Lovely little path and well worth a visit for the views. Thanks Kirklees.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Walkers near Otley in west Yorkshire
Green prescribing has…
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30 years on from the “Rights of Way” Act 1990 but here in Kirklees they haven’t heard of it!
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.
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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Many local footpaths & bridleways could meet the criteria for the West Yorkshire Combined Authorities scheme for improving safety for pedestrians & cyclists. Here’s the consultation link Safe Streets Map
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.