Lydiate – Our canal towpath

I don’t cycle the towpath of Leeds Liverpool Canal through Sefton and West Lancashire often for two reasons. It’s narrow and rough to ride on and the narrowness means I need to stop frequently to let pedestrians pass. However, the other day I decided to cycle the section from Greens Lane swing bridge in Downholland through to Bells Lane swing bridge in Lydiate.

The ride was pretty much as I expected i.e. only really suitable for mountain bikes due to its rough and uneven nature. I would add that as the weather had been dry for quite some time I didn’t encounter any of the usual boggy areas that can, during winter months, make the towpath all but impassable in places north of Lydiate Hill Bridge/Billy’s Bridge.

Joining at Greens Lane the swing bridge was just closing as I got to it from the Aughton direction:_

Greens Lane swing bridge

You arrive in Lydiate on the towpath when you cross Sudell Brook (it forms the Lancashire/Merseyside & Lydiate/Downholland boundary) which flows under the canal just north of Jackson’s Bridge where Pygons Hill Ln/Hall Ln cross the canal. This is the view from atop Jackson’s Bridge looking northwards towards the Lancashire boundary. This section of the towpath is reasonable, in dry weather:-

Looking north from Jackson’s Bridge

The towpath southwards from Jackson’s Bridge, past Lollies Bridge, Pilling Lane Bridge, and through to Bells Lane swing bridge is variable but mainly poor especially if the weather has been wet.

This is where the ong-term collapse of the towpath into the canal has been diverted past – Between Billy’s Bridge and Lollies Bridge.

The repairs required to the collapsed section of towpath were, when I last asked the Canal & River Trust, due to take place during the 2021/2022 financial year i.e. any time soon but I don’t have an update on those works.

One of the problems with the same section of towpath between these two bridges is that the land abutting the towpath is higher and there’s a continual run-off of groundwater across it. This photo illustrates the problem but after weeks of virtually no rain. It’s not hard to imagine how the situation deteriorates after heavy rain or through the winter:-

Finally a nice view of Pilling Lane bridge with a narrowboat traveling towards the camera:-

The Maghull/Lydiate boundary is roughly halfway between the Bells Lane swing bridge and the Green Lane swing bridge. It is this section of towpath that is down to be resurfaced with the Canal & River Trust gaining the money to do it via the new Rose Hill Gardens housing development at the end of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road. The new houses are all in Lydiate, not Maghull. I still have no news as to whether the Canal & River Trust is prepared to use some of this money to address worse sections of the towpath through Lydiate.

Downholland – Eagar Lane/Greens Lane resurfacing outside Lavender Barns

Back in August 2019 I called on Lancashire County Council to resurface the stretch of Eagar Lane/Greens Lane outside Lavender Barns just yards into Lancashire from Lydiate, and I blogged about the state of the lane – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/08/15/greens-lane-downholland/

If I recall correctly that prompted more patch repairs but the message must have got home to LCC (maybe others raised the matter with them too?) as a couple of days ago they did a significant resurfacing job:-

Editor’s note – ‘Thanks for that LCC, much appreciated, but sadly there’s another very poor stretch of Greens Lane which has deteriorated significantly of recent months. It’s around the entrance to the 2nd fishery, past Green’s House and near to the row of houses further into Downholland Civil Parish. I’ll pop a note on your website about it.’

Greens Lane Downholland

The road surface outside Lavender Barns (just into West Lancs & therefore just outside Lydiate) is in a terrible state. Two parts of it have been patch repaired more times than is sensible and in places is more patch than original road surface. It’s really bad for cyclists I might add as you have to weave around the ruts and patches especially after rain. This what it looked like last Sunday:-

Greens Lane Downholland looking towards Lydiate.

The photo is looking towards Lydiate and indeed the boundary (where it becomes Eagar Lane) is just out of shot around the corner.

I’ve raised the matter with Lancashire County Council hoping that they’ll resurface this short section of the lane rather then keep patching it.

Downholland – Queueing for the swing bridge to open

Following the shocking vandalism to the electrical control box of Bridge 20 on the Leeds Liverpool Canal a few weeks back where Greens Lane/Eagar Lane cross it this was the scene one day recently:-

Interestingly the C&RT refer to the bridge as ‘Coxhead’ (see notice displayed by the bridge below), a name I’ve not heard before. I thought it’s local name was Rimmer’s Bridge. Can anyone with local knowledge clarify? I suppose it could be like Billy’s Bridge in Lydiate also being known as Lydiate Hill Bridge i.e. more than one local name?

Is there any update from Lancashire Police about the unprovoked attack on the bridge control box? – Not that a control box could provoke an attack of course!

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Downholland – Rimmer’s Bridge Damage Update

Following my posting of yesterday about the criminal damage to the bridge the latest news is that the bridge can be opened manually and it was today at 12 noon to let a large number of queuing boats through.

The top photo shows boats waiting to travel through to Liverpool, whilst the lower one is of boats waiting to travel north toward Scarisbrick marina etc.

My understanding is that the bridge will be manually opened each Monday and Friday. I’m not aware of the detail of the openings but I’m sure boat owners will be getting up to speed via the Canal and River Trust.

Downholland – The strange Rimmer’s Bridge destruction event

This is the base of the bridge control cabinet which was completely destroyed in the incident.

As bizarre criminal events go this is one of the oddest I have come across in a long time. Here’s the take on it from Ormskirk Live:-

ormskirklive.com/2019/04/24/police-appeal-to-info-after-major-damage-to-canal/

And here’s the matter as on Ormskirk Police Facebook Page:-

Looking north from Rimmer’s Bridge.

The obvious question is why go to so much trouble to cause so much damage to a canal swing bridge out in rural West Lancashire? The bridge is accessed via Eagar Lane Lydiate or Green’s Lane Downholland and I cycle over it regularly, indeed I took the photos in this posting on Sunday 28th April whilst out riding.

Was it a planned and deliberate act to stop the bridge from being opened for boats, narrow boats and barges on the Leeds Liverpool Canal? If so why? Someone with a grudge against the Canal & River Trust or is there some alternative reason for this very costly destruction?

As I say one of the most bizarre criminal incidents that I can recall. I guess it’s going to be a real eye opener when the culprits are caught and taken to court.