Holmfirth 73 Barbed Wire Fence Now Removed

HOL 73 obs removed July 2020
After – August 2020
HOL 73 Fence obs (2)
Before – January 2019

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.


Holmfirth Footpath 65 Works

HOL 63 repairs July 2020
August 2020 After surface & drainage works by Kirklees
Screenshot (32)
As it was in January 2018

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.

Thanks Kirklees 🙂

Not Colne Valley Bridleway 197

CV 198 Wks April 2019
Not Colne Valley Bridleway 197

Kirklees Council has, via several sources, partly funded works on “Colne Valley Bridleway 197” at Eastergate on Marsden Moor. The work has involved laying of reclaimed flagstones to provide a new surface. The council has spent some £53k for materials on this scheme. The bulk of that cash, £45k came from the New Homes Bonus Fund but was approved by a council committee for this use. The remaining £8k came from the limited £55k Prow budget which is the annual revenue budget for rights of way maintenance across Kirklees. The report which led to approval for this expenditure can be read here CVBW197Rep4

The report refers the legal status of the way –

3.4 The legal status of the route remains unchanged. As Highway Authority,
maintenance of the existing surface of the route is the responsibility of the
Council. Maintenance responsibility for the new surfacing would remain with
the council. However, this type of surfacing has been shown to require very
little maintenance.

The flags were laid out on site back in April 2019 and are shown in the photo above. However it should be pointed out that contrary to 3.4 in the report the flags and works have NOT been used on Colne Valley Bridleway 197 but on a “desire line” (shown in photo) some distance away from the legally recorded bridleway.

This raises a few interesting points. Firstly, why has our strapped for cash council spent £8k of a tiny rights of way revenue budget on something that it has no responsibility for? Although the New Homes Bonus Fund cash does not have to be spent on something publicly owned, why not direct that £45k and officer time at one of the many out of repair public paths in Kirklees? There’s plenty in the Colne Valley or what about Ramsden Road for instance? The new flagged bridleway is of course not publicly maintainable as stated in the report. So who is responsible for it? Similarly if a user damaged a bike or had an injury on this section how liable is Kirklees? Kirklees is of course very much liable for the real Colne Valley Bridleway 197 some distance to the north.

This is just the kind of future issue which will pop up  when there’s a problem with the flags and no one can decide who should put it right. Once again Kirklees has conjured up a legal mudle where one didn’t previously exist.

CV 198 Wks April 2019-2
Not Colne Valley Bridleway 197



Huddersfield 231 – Committee Approval Making Of Bridleway Order!



Huddersfield Byway 231 Report Goes To Committee 29th July 2020 The proposal to make an order recognising Huddersfield Byway 231 as a bridleway was carried unanimously this afternoon. Over an hours worth of members of the public speaking up for this right of way. Well done!

Ramsden Road Culvert Improvements

Ramsden Rd-4
Ramsden Rd 12_6_20-9


Previously on PathWatch we’ve reported on the poor finishing off and functionality of the new culverts on Ramsden Road. After meeting a senior Kirklees Councillor on site some progress has been made. A number of the culverts have now been lined with stone & fenced off. The culvert which was already eroding back has been retained with stone (first photo). Whilst only 3 of the 8 culverts work correctly this modest progress is welcome.

Rams Rd culvert-2
After. Finished with stone & fenced off.

Dover Lane, Holmfirth Repaired!

Dover Lane
After 🙂

It looks like Hippo Tourism Comes To Dover Lane, Holmfirth. is now a non starter and all those hippos will be unpacking their trunks (isn’t that elephants? Ed.) and having a staycation in the Gambia.

Yes pathpickers, Dover Lane, Holmfirth Footpath 195, has been repaired by Kirklees and is now very dry and a pleasure to walk on.  Excellent job! Well done and thank you to the staff involved.

Before 😦

Huddersfield Byway 231 Report Goes To Committee 29th July 2020

Byway 221 obstruction 4 (1 of 1)

The long running case of Huddersfield Byway 231 returns to committee next week with an officer recommendation to make an order downgrading the route to bridleway status. Details of the meeting and report can be viewed here . Regular readers may recall a similar order ultimately failing at the last hurdle Huddersfield Byway 231. Order To Downgrade To Bridleway Fails.

Further useful information.

The above is to be presented to the Virtual Meeting, Strategic Planning Committee at 1pm on 29 July 2020.  Below is a link to the agenda, report and documents.


Please note that any members of the public who wish to speak at the meeting must register to speak by 5.00pm (for phone requests) or 11:59pm (for email requests) by no later than Monday 27 July 2020.

To pre-register, please email governance.planning@kirklees.gov.uk or phone Richard Dunne on 01484 221000 (Extension 74995). 

As this is a virtual meeting please include in your email the telephone number that you intend to use when addressing the Committee. You will receive details on how to speak at the meeting in your acknowledgement email.   

Alternatively, we would encourage members of the public who do not wish to use the telephone option to email their written submissions to governance.planning@kirklees.gov.uk to be received no later than 12:00 pm Tuesday 28 July 2020.

Kirklees Claim To Have 91% Obstruction Success Rate Looks Dodgy


stile2 (1 of 1)

Previously on PathWatch we reported on the astonishing claim made by Councillor Rob Walker (Kirklees Cabinet Member for Environment) that the Council has a  91% Success Rate  in removing public rights of way obstructions. A claim that needed it’s surface scratching to see what’s underneath if ever there was one.

So via the Freedom of Information Act PathWatch asked our slippery bureaucrats a simple starter for 10 question.

At Kirklees Cabinet on 2nd June 2020 Cllr Robert Walker claimed that  of 114 prow obstructions reported to Kirklees since 2017 a total of 104 had been successfully resolved. Please provide me with information you hold that substantiates this claim. Please identify the path numbers, locations and nature of obstructions and what action was taken.

Any reasonable person might expect to receive a copy of some very straight forward data. Perhaps a print out from the councils database showing the 114 reported obstructions identified by their path number, a location and the nature of the obstruction. There could even be a handy column in this print out highlighting the 104 paths where obstructions had been removed. How hard can it be path pickers?

Here is the Councils waffling,vague, Johnsonesque reply.

Cllr Walker’s response of 2 June 2020 was provided following a discussion between the Greenspace Environmental Action Manager and the Greenspace Operational Manager, which included considering a spreadsheet of requests from one specific organisation and various other records of PROW issue reports to the Council. 

The text of the response was sent to the Strategic Director on 28 May and forwarded to Cllr Walker that same day. 

The Council does not hold a breakdown of the figures given.

So the Council holds no breakdown of the figures? How then has it come to the conclusion that out of 114 obstructions reported 104 have been resolved? It would seem  the council are making a claim and have not or cannot provide any hard data to substantiate it.

The way this has been dealt with displays the usual contempt for the public. It would also seem that council staff, including a Strategic Director and several managers, are more than happy to provide a Kirklees Cabinet member with information for public consumption that they cannot explain or substantiate in any meaningful way.

The iniquitous effect of the answer provided by Councillor Walker at Cabinet on June 2nd is one of positivity and a high level of performance in keeping public rights of way obstruction free in Kirklees. The truth is somewhere at the other end of the spectrum.







How’s Holmfirth 135 Doing This year?

Hol 135

After watching dear old Footpath 135 disappearing last September in  Holmfirth Footpath 135 Goes Under The Plough. I think we are due an update.

PathWatch has monitored this route for 4 years and once again there has been no reinstatement of the path following ploughing and cropping within the 14 days required by law. Or at all in fact.

Interestingly Kirklees have owned up to having visited the path but have proffered no further information. Perhaps it was for a ramble, picnic or to enjoy the view? It certainly does not appear to have been to discharge the authorities duties under section 134 of the Highways Act.

The only difference on the ground is a crop of obstructing oats instead of barely and a wooden post at either end of the field  marking the start/finish of Footpath 135 through the crop. This has had the effect of concentrating walkers  onto a line and partly trampling the crop. It falls well short of full reinstatement within the legal definition. There should be a 1.2m clear width for Footpath 135 through this crop.

Public access to the English countryside by right is very limited. Most of it is on the country’s public rights of way network. A network that is legally recorded and protected to some extent by law. However,those laws are only as strong as the local authority enforcing them.We’re practically flatlining here in Kirklees as far as protecting public access rights to any consistent or reliable degree.

The law for cropping as laid out in section 134 could hardly be clearer to understand or enforce. Why is it so hard for Kirklees Council to apply?


Holmfirth Footpath 73 Gets A Makeover

new gate

It’s true to say that the old stone stile on Holmfirth Footpath 73 had let itself go a bit. It was falling over 25 years ago and the desperate addition of various posts and rails to add support to those droopy places and keep the sheep in also kept walkers out. In the end it was barely recognisable as a stile let alone usable.

Pleased to report that with the assistance of Kirklees Council the stile has had a makeover that would make Trinny & Susannah  weep. The disheveled,saggy and outdated stile has been transformed into a sleek stylish (pun intended) new gate.

Thank you 🙂

HOL 73 Stile 4
Hol 73
Holmfirth Footpath 73