A link to Peak District MTB site reporting the rapid & catastrophic failure of this infamous Byway in the Peak Park.
A dramatic example that stoning up these routes is a technique extremely vulnerable to failure on Pennine slopes. A number of recently repaired bridleways in Meltham have suffered the same fate. A timely warning perhaps that any future repairs on our very own Ramsden Road are incredibly prone to something similar. Ramsden Road will be exposed to the twin assaults of weather and motor vehicles.
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.
The long running saga of Colne Valley Footpath 144 is rapidly approaching a first birthday! The council has managed to turn a relatively straightforward case of fly tipping on the path into an impressive comedy of errors. PathWatch may even write a book about it as we’ve written so much rubbish about the ..er…rubbish. See hereherehereherehere and here
The thing to remember is that legally the council is not a neutral player on many matters concerning public rights of way. It has a statutory duty to “assert and protect” the rights of the public to use rights of way and a duty to “prevent their stopping up”. The Council, it’s officers and councillors are duty bound to act in the public interest and with integrity at all times.
Seen through the prism of legal and procedural responsibilities it is difficult to fathom how a situation like that on Colne Valley Footpath 144 can be allowed to develop and continue. The council would appear to be doing the opposite of what it is legally obliged to do. It continues to permit dumping on the path along with its continued closure.
Any reader of this blog will know this is not an isolated case but pretty much par for the course for a rights of way problem in Kirklees.
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.
A change is as good as a rest they say and the opportunity to look at a path obstruction in Calderdale turned into a bit of a treat. Erringden is the smallest parish in the great sweep of Calderdale and clings to the flanks of Stoodley Pike.
All I had to go on was an iffy grid reference and the words “South West of Cruttonstall”. I knew I was onto something good climbing through rustling,mossy woods in my pedestrian time machine. Clearly there’d never been car access to this place!
Reassuringly I came across the usual barbed wire encrusted waymarks and see saw stiles which are such a part of walking. Such features are so commonplace on public paths the average rambler would feel unsettled without them confirming the way ahead.
Cruttonstall is listed but the dry words offer no description of the real place which positively oozes the essence of Ted Hughes’ sideburns. On a raw afternoon with a biting East wind hurling Curlew babbles at Stoodley Pike it was a wonderful place to be.