River Alt – Everything drains into around these parts

Following all the heavy rain of recent days it’s sadly no surprise that the River Alt is struggling to to deal with all the water flowing into it from the land and other drainage brooks, streams and ditches. In turn this means flood alerts for parts of Maghull as the river water rises.

The first shot below was taken yesterday from the aqueduct which takes the Leeds Liverpool Canal over the Alt near to Aintree Village:-

Just back towards Melling there’s a runoff for the canal to keep it’s levels down and I could see it was in use. I’m guessing that this runoff also goes, eventually, into the River Alt.

The second shot below was also taken yesterday where the A59 (Northway) crosses the Alt in Maghull:-

Then we move on to today and the consequential flooding of Sefton Lane/Bridges Lane on the Maghull/Sefton Village boundary. Here the Alt flows under Bridges Lane and this is how it looks:-

At face value the river looks to be coping until you move a little further east along Bridge Lane to where Dovers Brook is crossed by Bridges Ln/Sefton Ln. It looks like this:-

The first shot is looking north with the adjacent houses on Sefton Lane* clearly visible. The second shot looks like the Dovers Brook has been halted by a stone wall but in fact it’s the bridge under Sefton Ln where the arch of it has been covered by the floodwaters. The houses here are being affected as is sadly often the case when Dovers Brook backs up.

My understanding is that the Alt being so high stops Dovers Brook from emptying into it, hence the backing up. Although there’s nothing new about this problem (I recall Sefton Ln flooding here when I was a lad living on the Lane in the 1960’s /1970’s) it’s all the more frustrating that after many years the problem has not been resolved. You have to feel for the residents of this isolated row of houses and elsewhere along Dovers Brook when it over-tops.

With more rain anticipated tomorrow, well I don’t need to say any more do I………

*Sefton Ln/Bridges Ln has already been closed during the present foul weather although it was passable this afternoon. However, this is what it looked like in December 2015 when the section of road between Dovers Brook and the River Alt was a river in itself:-

A flooded Bridges Lane between Dovers Brook and the River Alt – when it all got too much in December 2015

Aintree – Removal of Copy Lane Cheshire Lines railway bridge

I came across this photo (see below) on the Mersey Railways group of Facebook and it is credited to Phil Hughes:-

At this point the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway and the Liverpool – Ormskirk – Preston Line paralleled each other between Aintree and Old Roan Stations. The other line can be seen behind the crane removing the Cheshire Lines bridge.

What I don’t know is the date when the bridge was removed – 1960’s?

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Lydiate – More on that strange public footpath issue at Sandy Lane Park

Footpath sign at Sandy Ln – There’s a similar one off Moss Ln

I’ve blogged a couple of times recently about Lydiate Footpath No.14 which links Sandy Lane to Moss Lane.

To recap, its become an issue following Lydiate Parish Council creating a fenced dog-run area a few weeks back which means that footpath users effectively have to walk through the dog-run.

Dog run area seen looking towards Sandy Ln. The public right of way is somewhere to the left where the corner fence post is

Attempts to define exactly where the public footpath is have come to nought (so far) as it’s not detailed on the deeds for Sandy Lane Park. This could mean that the path is actually on the neighbouring framer’s field and this angle is now being checked out by Sefton Council’s Footpath’s Officer who regulates public rights of way in the Borough.

Another strand to this odd story is that if the definitive route has not been recorded on any land deeds (which logically it should have been) then the back-stop is using a piece of law which allows Sefton Council to define the right of way route based on what has been used by the public for a 20 year period. It won’t take long for those familiar with the footpath to realise that the edge of Sandy Lane Park is what has been used as the footpath for many, many years. Certainly I’ve lived in Maghull & Lydiate since 1968 and I’ve never known the route of the path to be anywhere else. Here’s a link to the appropriate law provided via the Ramblers Association:-

www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/improve-the-path-network/how-to-claim-an-unrecorded-right-of-way.aspx

A few years back, when I was a Borough Councillor for Aintree Village, I helped with a campaign to gain a public right of way from Aintree Lane (at the side of Melling Road) through to the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath using this 20 year rule as the basis for the claim. That battle was won and I use that path regularly to gain access to the canal towpath when I’m cycling locally. Here’s a photo which includes a part of that path:-

The new public right of way is the path which turns off the towpath to the right in this photo

More news as things develop…….

The last photo is amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Aintree & Melling – Pen portraits of a community’s fallen heroes – 1914 – 1917

No sooner had I blogged about Lydiate’s fallen in World War 1 than Bill Honeyman got in touch to tell me about a similar project covering Aintree and Melling undertaken by two friends of mine Bill Borland and Peter Gill, what’s more Bill supplied me with a copy of their excellent booklet. Here’s a link to the Lydiate booklet blog:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/03/07/lydiate-and-its-great-war-1914-1918-a-lovely-remembrance-booklet/

The deaths of 81 servicemen from Aintree & Melling are attributed to the Great War

Many of the deaths are commemorated on memorials at St. Giles Church Aintree and St Thomas’ Church Melling including Henry Mattocks who died aged 21 on 13th October 1915. He worked at Melling Potteries and was a member of the Melling Brass Band. His name together with those of Michael May & Thomas Clark caught my attention because they all worked at in the now long gone Melling Pottery business. Some years ago when I was the leader of Sefton Council I was given a pamphlet-type book written by Irene Birch about her mother Bertha (Mattocks) Birch called A Melling Lassie “Pottery Days” Melling’s Scottish Heritage. In it on page 13 is an undated photo of Melling Pottery Band and I can’t help but wonder if Henry Mattocks is in that photo.

The vast majority of what we now know as Aintree Village was agricultural land back around the time of the Great War but I spotted a Richard Kirby who died aged just 19 on 14th November 1916. He was the son of Myles and Ellen Kirkby (nee Quick) of Aintree Lane. He died at the Somme and is buried at Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban, France.

This booklet is another great addition to the local history of the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough. My congratulations to the authors and thanks to Bill Honeyman for providing me with a copy.

We will remember them

Maghull – The narrowest cyclepath/footway you can imagine – A59 – Northway

Cycling or indeed walking around Switch Island to go to say Aintree Village or ASDA from Maghull is a bit of a performance because you have to go around the island in an anti-clockwise direction and out of your way.

This huge vehicle junction where 3 dual carriageways, 1 single carriageway road and 2 motorways join has evolved over time rather than been planned or so it seems. It’s far from being pedestrian or cyclist friendly, indeed its a dangerous place altogether as the numerous weekly vehicle accidents prove. Highways England are you listening?

However, if you know your way around it you can just about survive walking, cycling or driving but one odd quirk of the planning of the pedestrian/cycling route is on the A59/Northway as you leave Maghull heading for Switch Island.

A cycle/pedestrian crossing was installed over both separate carriageways of the A59 some years back so that you are taken to a path alongside the northbound traffic flow. Trouble is this path is very narrow, yet it is supposed to be for pedestrians and cyclists. It is not possible for one cyclist and one pedestrian to pass each other without one standing aside.

I have raised this matter with Sefton Council and have noted that in recent weeks all kinds of spray painted makings have been placed along the path which seem to indicate that some work is going to take place. Not sure what the work is but I hope this completely inadequate path is going to be widened.

Here’s a shot of the crossing and a view towards Switch Island. The path in question runs alongside the northbound carriageway where you can see the dog walker. The narrowness of the path can also be seen:-

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Aintree – The furthest north Liverpool’s trams reached

Liverpool’s once extensive tramway network got as far north as Aintree Sefton Arms/Queens Arms pubs and Aintree Sefton Arms Station/Aintree Central Station on Warbreck Moor road.

Whilst at a recent open day of the Wirral Transport Museum & Heritage Tramway, at their Taylor Street Birkenhead Tram Shed HQ, my eyes lighted upon Liverpool Tram No.762 sat in Taylor Street Tram Shed. It took my attention as the destination board was set for Route 22 – Aintree via Scotland Road.

In fact Route Number 22 and the Destination Board of Aintree seen in this photo seem to be slightly at odds as I understand that Route 22 actually went to Fazakerley whereas Routes 20 and 21 went to Aintree Sefton Arms/Queens Arms pubs.

The Wirral Transport Museum & Heritage Tramway, with its mile or so of track leading to Woodside Ferry Terminal from Taylor Street Tram Shed, will be celebrating the running of Liverpool’s last Tram on Saturday 16th September 2017. A link to their facebook Page is available below:-

www.facebook.com/events/746829122135116/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A%22[%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22page%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22page_upcoming_events_card%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A[]%7D]%22%2C%22has_source%22%3Atrue%7D

That last tram ran on Saturday 14th September 1957 although the Aintree route was converted to buses commencing Sunday 5th August 1951.

The 2nd photo is amongst my flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/