View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Rights of Way problems. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rights of Way problems. Show all posts

Monday, 3 November 2014

16th October, A Nangreaves Recce

Rick and I needed to get out for a walk – it’s been, er, such along time since our last outing.

I had a route in mind for the Tally-Ho! that really needed checking out. It’s all very well plotting a route on the map, but it’s often a different matter when you actually run (or walk) the route.

Kick off is the Lord Raglan, home of the Leyden Brewery, in Nangreaves near Bury – where all the best black puddings come from. That’s Bury….although the Leyden Brewery might make black puddings too, I don’t know.

A short bit of tarmac up Snape Hill was endured before hitting decent footpaths and Land Rover Tracks. All went swimmingly well until we came across a ‘Private’ sign, barring our way through the Public RoW through the farm yard at Croston Close – SD820158 if you want to harass the property owner.  An additional sign offered an alternative route – a concessionary path across a boggy field. The sign pointed out that the original Right of Way was still valid – but it was quite clear that the owner’s successful deterrents had , er, successfully deterred walkers wishing to use the path.

The appropriate authorities have been informed.

 

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The next ‘challenge’ was Croston Close Bottoms. This is a valley where, if the map is anything to go by, is an easy navigational exercise. Ho-ho, oh no it isn’t! We spent a long time trying to locate the path on the ground – we did eventually but it was damned hard work. And my feet got rather wet.

Around Ashworth Moor Reservoir following footpaths across what was Water Board land we crossed the Edenfield Road and began a gentle climb up to Knowl Hill – passing the thoughtfully planted windfarm en-route. The wim-wam trig point / pile of rocks at the top served as our lunch stop.

 

P1030205bRick posing, apres-lunch, in front of the pretty windfarm 

Following the route of the Rochdale Way, we descended in an Easterly direction (East is good….etc, etc) towards some reservoirs – where a pretty view was prettily presented to us:

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Naden Middle Reservoir with Naden Lower Reservoir peeking out on the right (=south) 

P1030208aNaden Higher and Naden Middle Reservoirs 

It’s pretty obvious that land owners don’t want you around here: barbed wire is abundant in totally inappropriate places, many paths are blocked and footpath signs just don’t exist where they really should. It’s a poor show.

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Just for Alan:

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Some of paths were dead easy to locate and follow, although the stony surface of this one may well catch out the faster runners:

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More blocked and unmarked paths followed that entailed some serious map studying – much to the amusement of the audience that was gathering. Even sheep deserve a giggle sometime I suppose:

P1030215aAnother Right of Way difficulty presented itself at Sale’s Farm (SD818150 if you want a whinge). A Right of Way is clearly marked on both the 1:50K and the 1:25K maps – but not on the ground. There’s no footpath sign or any indication at all that a Right of Way exists. It DOES exist, and goes through a private house-type farm yard & stables. The addition of an openable (not sure if that’s a real word, but you catch my drift) electric fence gateway adds to the feeling of general path obstruction / lack of Right of Way.

Again, the appropriate authorities have been informed…..but don’t hold your breath.

Whatever, in a couple of weeks 20 – 30 hairy-arsed trail runners will be piling down that Public Right of Way – and there’s some big lads amongst them.

More blocked / overgrown footpaths followed:

image Can you spot the Footpath sign?

We eventually got back to the Lord Raglan at too late an hour to have a pint so we headed off back home – just in time to miss the worst of the rush-hour traffic. What we were expecting to take around under 4 hours actually took nearly 6 hours. I’ll be out on a re-recce next week, apart from needing to tweek the route I need the exercise.

At the end of the day we’d enjoyed (endured?) our little outing, there are some really cracking bits to the route – unfortunately there’s really crappy bits too.

This is what we SHOULD have done:

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8.5 miles with around 1200’ of ascent.

We ended up doing nearer 11 miles after all the faffing about.

 

Reporting footpath problems

Footpath problems can be reported using FixMyStreet at www.fixmystreet.com

It’s very simple, just specify the location and describe the problem…..and your work as a responsible member of the great walking public is done.

FixMyStreet will then forward your complaint to the appropriate authority who will (hopefully) deal with it.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Thursday 10th July 2014, LDWA Red Rose 100 recce, Day 5


Chipping to Mellor Brook

Chipping starting stirring at around 5am – dog walkers, agricultural stuff and so on. My tent was absolutely wet through after yet another clear and still night. I draped it over a wall in some warm sunshine to dry – it didn’t take too long being as wot the sun was hot, even at this early hour.
P1020214My pitch around the back of Chipping village Hall, Checkpoint 10, 68 miles
I was aware that I probably wasn’t drinking enough on this trip…we all know the signs, eh? I filled my 2 litre Platy water carrier and promised myself that I’d make a concerted effort to drink more that day.
P1020215 The mist appeared within a couple of minutes – caused by the hot heat?
Chipping’s public bog had a plentiful supply of hot water and I managed another top-to-toe wash down before setting off on the next leg of the recce at around 7am.
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Chipping’s tractors
Crossing the grassy fields to the south of Town End was a bit tedious – it wasn’t terribly easy to navigate. Navigating through farm fields isn’t always easy, there are often missing or worse, moved signposts. Blocked stiles, often hidden by overgrown undergrowth just adds to the problem.
I would imagine (and hope!) that at the end of May 2015, when the event takes place, the overgrown triffidness won’t have grown too much and that signs and stiles will be easier to locate.
My feet were wet through within minutes, the dew-laden grass combined with seriously un-waterproof (and almost new) Goretex-lined North Face Hedgehog XCR shoes. A fairly major kit-failure methinks.
P1020219 Lancashire welcomes you!
It was an ‘interesting’ footpath that headed away from Thornley Hall at SD632412 – it was actually a running stream at the time. Having sploshed through in my wet footwear I thought my troubles were over…oh no!
Another ‘footpath’ running from SD633410 to SD626404 was a complete jungle of boggy bits and overgrown nastiness. I imagine the overgrownedness may not be a problem in May, but I would expect the boggy bits to be boggier.
Giles wasn’t too easy to get through, although reading the Route Description just might have helped me. Koff. The gated exit from Giles is very easy to walk right past – I suspect that there may be a few folk wandering off through the private grounds on the event itself. Just like wot I did.
It’s a horrible climb out of Giles up to the road near Myers’s Farm – at least that’s what my notes say. There is bog, ill-defined footpaths and considerable overgrownedness. Oh, and it’s an uphill up. I was glowing by the time I got to the road….all hot, sweaty and a bit mithered.
By this time stomachly noises reminded my that I’d not had my breakfast and I needed to stop to rest, eat and drink. And perhaps locate an ice-cream van.
There wasn’t an ice-cream van but there was a nice grassy bit on the road by Longridge Fell. It was very hot indeed by now and I decided to sit out the next hour and a half or so. My backpacking towel protect my delicate skin from the worst of the sun’s ravages, and that same sun dried my feet, shoes and socks. 
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Longridge Fell 
Longridge Fell was very popular with Hang Gliders that day – the were loads whizzing around he skies. I don’t know why, but I didn’t take any photos. I should have done, some of the aerobatics were lovely to watch.
My next navigational faff was to very effectively miss the section through the grounds of Stoneyhurst College. I put this down to enjoying my walk and not paying attention to where I should be going. This was really a major error on my part, it’s a spectacular establishment and really shouldn’t be missed.
P1020224 Hurst Green Memorial Hall, Checkpoint 11, 76 miles.
Hurst Green Checkpoint 11 at the Memorial Hall (76 miles) was next.
I should point out here that the mileages I quote alongside the Checkpoint number refer to the distance into the actual 100 route, and NOT my mileage covered. My mileage was different ‘cos of the unique and quite interesting (to me) method of finding my way around. Or not.

Wonderful Tea Shop Warning:

The checkpoint was quickly followed by another extended stop at a very wonderful tea shop, Millie’s in Hurst Green. It was friendly and welcoming and provided all I needed for the next leg of my walk. I must confess to spending an hour and a half just chilling – quite literally.
What a difference to the unpleasant atmosphere of Puddleducks in Dunsop Bridge.

End of Warning.

Leaving Hurst Green in the very hot heat I walked south to pick up the Ribble Way. There was no wind and the sun was burningly hot, this all made for difficult walking. don’t worry though, by next May it will be cold and wet!
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Locating the Ribble Way wasn’t too difficult but walking along it wasn’t so easy, main problems were overgrownedness and hidden stiles and signposts. Nowt new there then!
I needed to leave the route to pick up food and stuff so I diverted to Ribchester’s Spar for ice cream, electrolyte drink, more ice cream and some food.
P1020226 Bridge over the Ribble at Ribchester
The final stretch of the day into Mellor Brook presented a few access problems. I was getting the idea that this part of Lancashire didn’t welcome walkers on it’s paths:
P1020228 Footpath from nowhere
P1020229 Oh no sirr, I don’t of any path going thataway
P1020230 Broken footpath sign
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Triffid-laden stiles
Eventually I arrived in Mellor Brook and found Mellor Brook Community Centre, location of Checkpoint 12 at 89 miles into the 100 route:
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Checkpoint 12, 89 miles
After locating the pub and shifting a few pints of rather good ale I nipped into the bogs for a wash down before heading out of the village to sort a quiet spot for my tent. This was far easier than I expected, within 5 minutes I found a field that was completely shielded by a tall hedge. Half an hour later I drifted off to sleep to the sound of Radio 4 in my right ear ‘ole….not before taking a piccy of the sunset from my tent:
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Wot I did:

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19+ miles of hotness.

With this much up and downery:

image That high bit is Longridge Fell
This was really quite a tough day – mainly down to the high temperature and having to deal with obstructions on the route. It wasn’t helped by the fact I was a bit tired and was carrying 20lbs+ on my back!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tuesday 8th July 2014, LDWA Red Rose 100 recce, Day 3


Barley to Tosside

At 5.30am the bright sunshine on my tent woke me, Barley was waking up too. By 6am I was wrapped around my first cup of coffee of the day as the village dog walkers wandered by. The tent was once again wet through with condensation, both inside and out. I managed to spread it out on a wall so it could dry out in the sunshine – that was hot even at this early hour. As the tent steamed gently I used the facilities and managed a full top-to-toe wash down in the washroom of the public bog.
P1020127 Barley campsite park
First objective of the day was Pendle Hill, famous for black pussy cats, broomsticks and witches. This area is perhaps most famed for the Pendle Witches, a bunch of unfortunates who were tried and hanged for witchcraft at Lancaster Assizes in 1612.
‘The Lancashire Witches’, written by William Harrison Ainsworth is recommended reading for anyone wanting to know more. A more speculative work, but very readable, is ‘Mist Over Pendle’, written by Robert Neill.
End of Eng Lit lesson.
Back to the walk: I set out in the direction of Pendle Hill, passing the Pendle Inn, famous for good ale and brill pie & mushy peas. I may have mentioned that bit before, but it WAS good.
P1020129 Cobbled path leading out of Barley
It’s a bit of a tug up the side of Pendle Hill, but quite do-able. There’s a choice of a couple of paths up to the top, I’d suggest the zig-zag route – a bit further but much easier. Easier is A Good Thing.
Once on the top it’s easy to spot the trig-point, even if it’s dark a well-worn track will lead you to it.
P1020130Pendle Hill 
Another zig-zag path on the north slopes of Pendle guides you nicely through Downham Moor down to a road and then another path leads to the very attractive village of Downham.
P1020136Approaching Downham 
My first job was to locate the Village Hall, the venue of Checkpoint 5. It wasn’t difficult to find, on leaving the footpath you have to climb uphill and AWAY from the village and the general direction of the route. Oh well.
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Checkpoint 5, Downham Village Hall.
It was still quite early and I hadn’t yet had breakfast – only a Mars Bar, an Eccles Cake and my compulsory two mugs of coffee. I found a rather good tea room on the edge of the village. Two pots of tea and a large BLT roll set me up for the next section of the day’s walk.
The next few miles weren’t without excitement – a herd of cowlets decided that I was worthy of following…perhaps they thought I was carrying their dinner in my pack!
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P1020143    Disappointed cowlets
Then there was this nice little bridge (crossing Ings Beck?):
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I was now heading for the River Ribble and the village of Sawley – that DIDN’T have a checkpoint, but it did have Sawley Abbey. Well it had it’s ruins anyway:
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According to English Heritage, Sawley was a Cistercian abbey founded in 1148 and lasted until its dissolution in 1536. Monks were in possession until the execution of their abbot. Nice.
Sawley lies on the River Ribble, one Lancashire’s more famous rivers…..perhaps because we share it with North Yorkshire. That’s it with Lancastrians, we’re generous y’see.
P1020151River Ribble
The stretch alongside the Ribble and then Skirden Beck varied between highly walkable to thrashing through overgrown undergrowth. If you get my meaning. It wasn’t terribly difficult to navigate but I think it must have been a good year for triffids. I imagine that in May the plant life and general weedery will be much easier to walk through.
Checkpoint 6 at Bolton-by-Bowland Village Hall was one I didn’t photograph…..’cos I was hot and bothered…..and forgot.The Village Information Centre, loo and car park at SD785493 is a great spot to sit down, visit the loo, have a wash-down, fill up your Platy etc if you’re doing a recce. You might need this facility ‘cos there was bugger all open when I passed through. Not even the boozer. The actual Village Hall is just a little further to the east of the information centre and isn’t difficult to find.
Continuing north there was another navigational / Right of Way confusion. I’m easily confused, you may have noticed this. The turning to Green Ford Farm at Stoop Lane was quite overgrown. The signpost was difficult to spot – the Route Description does point this out. I ended up walking a little further north and taking the farm track at SD783509 instead.
The next little problem was negotiating Newhurst Farm at SD778512. According to The Map (OS Explorer 041) the footpath goes right through the middle of the farm….which doesn’t appear to be a farm anymore, rather a posh residence.
Click on the photo below to see the details of the alternative route by a concessionary path. What I find REALLY bloody annoying is that the original path has been blocked in spite of it not having been extinguished. I shall be on to the council about this and I suggest you do too. Try entering the details on Fix My Street – this takes all the hassle of reporting problems of Rights of Way issues. The website automatically sends your complaint to the appropriate local authority - it’s good.
If you intend having a whinge about this you’ll need the Post Code for the location of the problem…..Newhurst Farm, Forest Beck, Bolton By Bowland, Clitheroe BB7 4NZ. You can view my whinge here.
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Enough whinging….for now.
I ended up using the concessionary path to get past the farm pretentiously posh residence.
Next came Witton Farm:
P1020159Welcome to Wittons Farm 
Easy enough to find, I used the farm track rather than the footpath through the field ‘cos the field was being fettled by an enormous tractory-thing and I didn’t relish the idea of being threshed, thrashed and baled.
Approaching the farm there’s a locked electric gate:
P1020160Just before this locked gate, in the dry-stone wall on the right, is a gate that allows you access into the farmyard.
Once out of the farm the route follows tarmac for around 4km. This allows for a decent turn of speed (Ho-ho!) – the surface is good and navigation is dead easy. This was A Good Thing….especially considering the sky was turning a decidedly dark shade of rain. The faster I went, the more threatening the clouds. A steep descent to cross Bond Beck meant an ascent towards Tosside, my goal for the day.
Looking at the map I could see a footpath off the road that would take my directly onto my intended campsite at Hartley’s Farm. This was COMPLETELY blocked by triffids, nettles, man-eating thistles and heaven knows what else:
P1020162Stile at SD770553 
This blockage wasn’t the end of the world but I do find this sort of thing irritating.  A couple of hundred metres on tarmac got me to the access road to the site….but even this wasn’t without it’s problems:
P1020163 At the entrance to Hartley’s Farm Campsite, Tosside
The rather expensive campsite (£15 for a solo backpacker) had a shower block, a loo, and flat, smooth grass. After a shower I wandered up the road to the pub in the centre of the ‘village’. It was closed….at 6.30pm!
Not only was this pub closed, I later discovered it only opened on Saturdays and Sundays between mid-day and 5pm. I don’t think they want the business.
Things got worse. The Old Vicarage Tearoom, a very attractive establishment with a stomach-rumblingly good menu outside along with signs advertising that they were ‘Now Open’ proved to be utter cobblers.
P1020173The very closed Old Vicarage Tearoom, Tosside 
Not only was the door locked, there was no indication of when the place might open. The menu listed a couple of nice breakfasty items so I rolled up the next morning, hoping for breakfast. Not a chance, it was completely shut. And I was completely hungry.
You may gather that Tosside didn’t endear itself to me. You would be quite right. I can only assume that business for both the pub and the tearoom must be so good that they don’t need to open very often.
On a more positive note, Checkpoint 7 at Tosside Community Hall looked nice:
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The day’s route:

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13.6 miles with 3500’ of ascent.

A more detailed view of my route on Viewranger should be available here. Be aware that my route differs from the route described on the LDWA 100 website ‘cos of my navigational problems.
If unable to open the link, just go to Viewranger and search for  LDWA Red Rose 100 Recce, Day 3