And so it was told in the Book Of Big Excuses 14:22-33 (and that council email the other day) “Behold Rambler, Scar End Lane,New Mill. The great sea of Neglect rises forth each winter. Do not be afraid. It has been a long walk into the night. Fear not the storms. For it is maintained in character only. But have ye faith. For we will not repair it. Nor will you be forgiven your trespass into the next field. Step forth and come to me. Walk on the water.
Somewhere in the hierarchy of local authority highways records there are hidden highways. Between those highways considered “fully adopted”and on the Street Register and the bum fluff of highways known as “public rights of way” shown on the Definitive Map lie mongrel and unloved public roads.
These poor creatures are often tucked away on a tatty card index and in most of West Yorkshire referred to as “maintained in character only”. More often than not they are old roads which when everything else was black topped were not considered important enough. Accordingly they have been left to decay for nearly 70 odd years.
Any self respecting highways engineer would deem such routes as beneath their pay grade. Public rights of way officers would be delighted it is not their problem. And so you have the perfect storm of not giving a toss.
Depending on your point of view the Holme Valley is blessed or cursed with a good number of these routes. They are invaluable to walkers but suffer the twin scourge of Council neglect and heavy 4×4 usage.
Scar Hole Lane near Hepworth is one such example. A washed out, potholed and cratered old road it has wonderful views for anyone brave enough to venture along it on foot.
Kirklees are in the usual muddle over a request for maintenance on the road. They state it is “maintained in character only” as a reason to do nothing. This is a meaningless phrase as all highways are maintained in character. The M62 is “maintained in character” as a motorway for instance.
Scar Hole Lane is a publicly maintainable highway “maintained in character” as an unsealed all purpose highway. At present it is “maintained in character” as a large lunar crater through the summer and deep inland sea through the winter. By any standards it is way out of repair and in need of some TLC.
This is one PathWatch will be coming back too 🙂