Colne Valley. The Elephants Graveyard Of Rights Of Way.

Snap shot of problem paths in the Colne Valley.

There are over 250 individual public rights of way in the Colne Valley and this ought to be a superb area for the 17k plus local population and visitors alike to go walking. It has a bit of everything from canals, rivers, woods, dark satanic mills and wild windswept moors.

The past ten years have seen previous work and investment to open up, sign and repair paths in the area swept away on a tide of austerity and local authority indifference. Longstanding historical problems have been left to ferment for another decade. A recent volunteer survey has recorded over 350 individual problems on the valley’s 250 rights of way. A large number of paths are completely blocked and unusable.

Kirklees front line staff do a good job with the limited resources at their disposal but an area with this level of prow disfunction needs an injection of cash, staff and expertise way above that presently available. The 800 odd miles of rights of way in Kirklees get a £50K annual revenue budget.

In contrast Kirklees Council bought the derelict George Hotel in Huddersfield in 2020 for £1.8 million (the previous owner paid £900k for it in 2013). It is spending some £250 million at various sites in Huddersfield Town centre and a reported £100 million in Dewsbury. So the council isn’t short of a bob or two when it wants to spend ( so long as it’s not public rights of way! Ed.)

Councillor Naheed Mather who is the cabinet member with responsibility for rights of way has been asked what further resources can be made available to help frontline staff tackle the Colne Valley. In response she suggested resources are stretched because of Covid 19 (but not so stretched that they can’t afford £1.8 million for a derelict hotel. Ed.) and directs members of the public to volunteer on Colne Valley paths for now (wot lockdown? Ed). This of course ignores the complex nature of path problems which often require a degree of legal or enforcement action and large scale ground works on site. It also abandons current frontline staff to an impossible task.

One can only wonder at the complete lack of aspiration and imagination from our local “leaders” with regard to maintaining and improving countryside access.

Path Signs In The Snow.

Holmfirth 68. Went missing in the first lockdown but now reunited with it’s path.
Holmfirth 112 gets a pasting from the north.
Holmfirth 68. A box top beauty from the 1950’s
Holmfirth 105. All aboard for Cartworth Moor.
Holmfirth 177. This way to the best path in the valley?
Holmfirth 178. This was regular “turn arounder”
Holmfirth 165. Winter wonderland sign at Cartworth.
Holmfirth 108. Free tractor.
Holmfirth 95. Wot’s not to like.
Colne Valley 92. An honorary entry from over the hill. Nice too.

BBC You & Yours Piece On Ramsden Road

Is off roading ever acceptable?  That’ll be a no!

The Beeb have been up on Ramsden Road with a long suffering local resident to do a piece on off roading. Many local voices have been drowned out by Kirklees & 4×4 groups propaganda so it is refreshing to hear Mr Wilson’s perspective as someone who lives near the byway. The piece starts at about 24 minutes here

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…

View original post 406 more words

“Having viewed the photographs provided there is nothing much we could consider at these locations”

Ramsden Road

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.

December 2020
Deliberate 4×4 damage to land adjacent to Kiln Bent Road

Morton Wood – 4 New Footbridges In Place :-)

One of the new FB’s in Morton Wood

Following on from Morton Wood Footbridges 2 Footpath Closed PathWatch is pleased (cock a hoop to be honest. Ed.) to report that all 4 brand new footbridges are now in place on this lovely riverside footpath! 

This is a significant investment in the future of this route from Kirklees and has been achieved on a difficult site in these trying Covid 19 times. Thank you barely covers it but thank you to all Kirklees staff involved 🙂




 

Signs & Stiles

New sign on Holmfirth Footpath 115(kirklees photo)

More bread & butter path work by Kirklees in the valley this week. A new sign on Holmfirth Footpath 115! Practically every public right of way in the valley is now signed from the public highway. This is a big improvement and thanks are due to the frontline staff involved.

Holmfirth stile repairs.(Kirklees photo)

The old timber stile on Holmfirth Footpath 116 has now been repaired and is safe to use. There’s a steady flow of regular jobs being carried out on Holmfirth paths now which is a really positive situation and benefits so many members of the public who use the network.

Thank you 🙂

Kirklees Approach To Ramsden Road In Tatters.

Ramsden Road & extensive off piste activity. This is much worse now than in 2017 when Kirklees began the process to close the route to motor vehicles.

As we all know England has been in a strict covid 19 lockdown for the past 4 weeks. During this period only essential travel has been permitted. Work, caring, essential shopping, medical reasons, that kind of thing.

Funnily enough 4×4 use of Ramsden Road has reached a peak during the lockdown. Locals are reporting damage to property, including pulling out of gates,posts and boulders to access and drive on private property. Much of this has been under the cover of darkness. Although regular convoys of 4×4’s, quads and motorbikes have been a common daily sight  on Ramsden Road and nearby Kiln Bent Road. 

Deliberate damage has been caused to the publicly funded works on Ramsden Road with vehicles driving in the new ditch and destroying at least one new culvert. The damage extends beyond Ramsden Road and onto land adjacent to Kiln Bent Road which is also popular with off roaders. 

Deliberate 4×4 damage to land adjacent to Kiln Bent Road

 

Post put in to stop 4×4 access to Ramsden Clough (a sssi) pulled out by 4×4 drivers. 

Kirklees Council’s approach to Ramsden Road has been to hide behind the well meaning  “Friends of Ramsden Road” group whilst ignoring the ongoing damage to the local environment and public highway, nuisance to residents and loss of amenity value to non motorised users of Ramsden Road. That’s a high price to pay but of course it’s not the only bill facing Kirklees.

Year on year the damage to Ramsden Road becomes more expensive to repair as a direct result of the council’s negligence. The final bill may run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. That’s a lot of money to keep a few 4×4 drivers and a couple of councillors happy. Dig deep taxpayers! Incompetence on this scale doesn’t come cheap.

Colne Valley FP 165 Longstanding Obstruction Shifted

Before. Not so inviting.

This short section of path has some lovely views of the valley below and one or two niggling little problems. It is typical of many paths in the Colne Valley. One long standing obstruction has just been removed (see photos). Thanks are due to the Kirklees staff involved and to the voluntary efforts of Peak and Northern Footpath Society. The path remains invisible from the road network and the council have also been asked to sign the path in line with their legal duty to do so.

After. That’s better 🙂

Investigation into an application to modify the Definitive Map and Statement: Meltham 70, Wilshaw, W Yorks. Nearest postcode: HD9 4D. Grid reference SE 1203 0963

Meltham 70 . Point A1 on the Kirklees plan. There is no record of any structures at this location on the Kirklees Definitive Map & Statement.

Kirklees Council are currently carrying out an investigation into the presence of a locked gate and 45 cm squeeze stile on Meltham Footpath 70. Location shown above.

The various structures shown in the photo have appeared fairly recently on what was a well used path. The full width of the lane between walls was  available for public use. For many years equestrian use of the lane was common place and there is a claim to have the path upgraded to bridleway status. The Kirklees consultation is copied and pasted below. Anyone with information supporting the open nature of the path and lack of locked gate and squeeze stile is encouraged to respond.

Kirklees Council has received an application to vary the particulars shown in the Statement accompanying the Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way.

The application is to record as limitations to the public right of way a squeeze stile 45cm wide next to a locked gate at point A1 on the attached map. There currently no gates, stiles or other structures recorded in the Statement accompanying the Definitive Map.

 

Do you have any evidence about gates or stiles on this path?

 

We would welcome any evidence regarding the existence or absence of structures on this path.

We would be particularly interested to know what structures may have existed in the past, and when any structures might have been removed.

If you have any evidence to add, or any comment to make please send it to Phil Champion phil.champion@kirklees.gov.uk by 23 December 2020.

Please note that this Notice forms part of the investigation of the application to modify the Definitive Map and Statement and that no decision on the application has yet been made by the Council.

Any comments you make or evidence you provide you make may eventually become public and may be used in evidence at a Public Inquiry.

Plan etc  – Meltham 70 – Vary Particulars – Informal Consulation – Plan