Dover Lane,the popular path off Dunford Road to Washpit Mills, is best left to the Hippos at the moment. The mud is boot top deep and unavoidable. A sorry mess for October.
As our regular reader will know there are few all new public rights of way problems in Kirklees. Most are recycled versions of age old issues never properly sorted by our hapless bureaucrats.
So it is with the surface of Dover Lane. Over a year ago PathWatch highlighted Washpit Mills – A Missed Opportunity .The thought of getting this path repaired and upgraded by a developer and at no public cost (which was offered but the council failed to secure) was on my mind today as my boots filled with cold black mud whilst negotiating the lane.
This path links an approved development of 50 houses to a Bus Stop on Dunford Road. Whilst the Council declares a climate emergency on the one hand its planners fail miserably to gain an improvement which would benefit locals, the new home owners and of course poor old planet earth. As it is you can’t really blame anyone living at the future Washpit Mills development for driving everywhere. Where’s the alternative?
PathWatch spoke to Johnny Morris the council’s wildlife zsar who told us “We prefer to see the state of this public footpath in a much more positive light. Whilst it may no longer be suitable for bipeds I can reveal that following an extensive fact finding visit to The Gambia, very nice at this time of year by the way, we are launching a scheme to encourage overnight stays in Holmfirth from Hippopotamuses. Whilst Dover Lane may seem to be inconveniently situated in the Northern Hemisphere there is a bus stop on Dunford Road with direct links to the rail network from Huddersfield. What Dover Lane can offer the well healed and adventurous travelling hippo is year round mud and a range of excellent farm style accommodation which includes an all you can eat silage offer.”
Well sort of… There’s not much humour in the bureaucracy surrounding public rights of way but in this fps_z4718-_14d_12_decision (1) direction from the Planning Inspectorate the reasoning seems to be the impending mortality of the witnesses. It would seem the Inspectorate are of the view a good life expectancy is essential if you are ever to get off the Kirklees “Priority Matrix” for rights of way claims. You’ve got to laugh….
This really is an excellent route consisting of 22 and a bit miles around the edge of the valley taking in moorland,woods, rolling fields,cloughs and Castle Hill. A walk to really get the feel of this place.
It is something of an under used asset and could be so much more. It doesn’t seem to be waymarked as one long walk and although there aren’t any obstructions there are the usual unauthorised and dodgy stiles, barbed wire and a complete lack of coherent signing/waymarking.
The amount of stuff you have to climb over in a 22 mile walk gets a bit waring. Most of it is unauthorised and out of repair. If these stiles and Heath Robinson structures were removed and a quality waymarking scheme put in place a walk like this could really attract stay over visitors to the valley. It would be quite possible to link into the route from Holmfirth or Honley and make a weekend of it.
As it is the Holme Valley Circular Walk is perhaps a little too challenging for the wrong kind of reasons at present.
The public right of way through Washpit Mills Holmfirth was blocked off about three years ago when a developer took over the site. An application to have the route recorded as a byway has been sat on the Kirklees “priority matrix” gathering dust for the same amount of time.
However Kirklees have now been directed to determine the application within the next 6 months. The decision is here fps_z4718_14d_14_decision . It would be nice to have our path back!