Crops. How Hard Can It Be?

Holmfirth Footpath 46. There should be a 1.2 metre wide footpath through here 

Very hard it would seem. The Highways Act 1980 is pretty clear on how farmers should manage ploughing and cropping. In a nutshell any ploughed/cropped path should be properly reinstated to its minimum width within 14 days from the paths first disturbance or 24 hours for any subsequent disturbance . Local Highway Authorities such as Kirklees have a duty to enforce this on behalf of the public and have some robust rechargeable powers to assist them.  So how hard can it be? Even the Farmers Guardian get it.

Oilseed (1 of 1)
Holmfirth Footpath 46 in 2018

Ramsden Road Kirklees V Jacob’s Ladder Derbyshire 2


In  Ramsden Road Kirklees V Jacob’s Ladder Derbyshire   PathWatch compared the two very different approaches of two seperate Highway Authorities within the Peak District National Park and how they make decisions on the management of problem Byways.

Derbyshire County Council are open,transparent and follow their authorities decision making process. Kirklees take more of a nudge,nudge,wink,wink approach and hold no record or documentation relating to their decision to overturn a delegated officer decision and drop their Ramsden Road TRO last December, having spent some £10k of public money in the process.

This is an interesting approach to doing things as it would appear to be well outside the Council’s constitution in terms of its decision making processes and of course shows the usual disregard for public money, residents concerns and the long suffering tax payer who funds it all.

 Derbyshire  have now made a TRO for Jacob’s Ladder at Stoney Middleton and because they follow due process the order and background information can be viewed at tro-jacobs-ladder . Kirklees have not followed the decision making process laid down in the Council’s constitution and it may be worth reading your tea leaves or seeing Mystic Meg as alternative sources of information.


BS:5709. How Hard Can It Be?

Holmfirth 146 Upper Millshaw Gate

Although Kirklees is part of the United Kingdom, and even better still  Yorkshire, it  seems to exist in a vacuum as far as applying the law and widely agreed standards and practices on public rights of way. In particular the Council has great difficulty with the 40 year old BS:5709 .

The image above shows the latest modifications to a gate on Holmfirth Footpath 146 which was authorised in November 2017. In the time since and for various reasons including a padlock and chain, barbed wire, wooden splinters and excavated ground (not an exhaustive list! Ed) the gate has never met the simple requirements of BS:5709 .

Whilst the latest modification adding a “Bold” washing powder  container (other brands are available. Ed) to cover wood splinters on the closing post  is to be commended for its innovative recycling of  single use plastic, that’s not really the point of BS:5709

It’s impossible for front line staff at Kirklees to effectively carry out their roles on public rights of way because of the toxic and anti public access culture that exists amongst senior managers and some councillors. The mildest of challenges from a landowner or their representative results in Kirklees managers and directors falling over themselves to apologise for  staff doing their jobs properly,offering to review procedures (which are perfectly fine) and taking long walks to pick up dummies spat out by councillors.  The result is no one rocks the boat to much and many public paths remain blocked, unusable,invisible and maintained to the lowest possible standard.

So after 20 months of Chuckle Brother Esque Carry On Up The Footpath nonsense it might be reasonable to expect removal of the gate on Footpath 146? After all the conditions authorising it’s installation (which the landowner signed up for) have not been met. So it should not be there hindering free passage. How hard can it be?

Impossible it would seem. In the upside down world of Kirklees Council this gate was mentioned in a report  to the July 18th Planning Sub Committee. “Further liaison”  is to take place! 🙂 🙂 🙂 What can there be to talk about? Perhaps a Daz plastic container should be used?

A BS:5709 gate. The spec does not included plastic washing powder containers or string which won’t go over the closing post to open the gate.



Works To Holmfirth Footpath 133 At Gate Foot Fail within Weeks.


It is only a matter of weeks since the works highlighted in  Well Done Kirklees 2  were completed and PathWatch is sad to report on the complete failure of the entire stretch of repaired path. Last weekend’s rain has washed the whole lot away from top to bottom.

The technique of stoning up public paths is a cheap and cheerful way of doing things and can look good and last on the flat. However PathWatch has blogged before about the vulnerability of this technique on the Pennine slopes of Kirklees. It isn’t easy to find a cost effective, sustainable and aesthetically acceptable  method of repair but it needs to be done. They do exist along with experienced specialist contractors.

This is the second time Holmfirth Footpath 133 has been repaired using this method and the second time it has failed in this way. It’s not the best use of scare resources.

29th June 2019
3rd August 2019
3rd August 2019
3rd August 2019
3rd August 2019



Holmfirth Footpath 146. Newly Signed After 51 Years!

New sign 

It certainly doesn’t look much but the brand new Public Footpath sign on Holmfirth Footpath 146 has taken some 51 years to erect! Local highway authorities have had the  duty to place public paths signs where a path leaves the metalled highway since 1968. There has been a big improvement in Kirklees over the years but many paths with a history of obstruction have stubbornly remained  signless into a respectable cricket innings of years. Holmfirth 146 has been clean bowled as it were and now sports a new sign where it leaves Sheffield Road near Hepworth.

PathWatch has blogged previously about quality control issues with the council following  reopening of blocked paths and sadly Holmfirth 146 is another example. The new sign is great but where an obstructing wall has been removed a decent waymark post is necessary and has not been provided. The path here is close to a residential property and waymarking would help everyone. Add to that the overgrown nature of the ground and it’s hard to see just where to walk. Job half done.

Holmfirth Footpath 146. Unobstructed but hard to find.