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/

Aughton – Beware the presently closed footpaths

Folk walking around Aughton enjoying the local footpath network need to be aware that a number of public footpaths in Aughton Civil Parish are presently closed due to major works that are being undertaken there by United Utilities contractors who are laying a new pipeline.

This is a long ongoing project affecting a huge area. Here’s an example of a notice from Lancashire County Council about part of the closed footpath network:-

The notice was at the beginning of a footpath in Brookfield Lane, Aughton which goes across the fields, over the the Liverpool – Ormskirk railway line (via Bowkers Green Pedestrian Level Crossing)and on to Mickering Lane.

Liverpool City Region’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan – Your views wanted by Merseytravel

Footpath off Bridges Lane in Sefton Village

www.merseytravel.gov.uk/about-us/local-transport-delivery/Pages/Public-Rights-of-Way-Strategy.aspx

The link above takes you to the web site of Merseytravel and the consultation documents they would like responses to – please have a look if you like cycling or walking locally off road.

Gate and stile from Butchers Lane in Aughton to Millbank in Maghull.

I sit of the Sefton Rights of Way Group representing Lydiate and Maghull Councils so this is matter of interest to me, I am also a regular walker and cyclist.

My view is that what we need to get across to policy makers throughout the Liverpool City Region is that the development of pedestrian pathways are vital to the health and wellbeing of our communities. In short we need the following:-

* More hard surfaced paths which enable their use by cycles and those with disabilities
* Clearly way marked circular routes suitable for push chairs and wheelchairs
* Cycle routes that connect communities
* A clear programme to deliver such improvements over the life of the next ROWIP within obviously tight resources.

Please join in and let the powers that be know what you think as they work on the Next Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) for Merseyside.

Sefton Borough – Accessible countryside routes for those with disabilities are very limited

I posted not so long ago about Sefton Council’s Rights of Way Liaison Group which I happen to sit on representing both Lydiate and Maghull Councils.

An issue raised with me recently by a Maghull resident was with regard to someone in their family having disability restrictions who finds it hard to access our local countryside.

Accessible paths like this are required by people with disabilities

There’s no doubt this is an issue and it’s one that is often compounded by the obstacles that are placed on public rights of way to try to stop abuse of them by motorbikes/quadbikes. The Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path and Cheshire Lines Path come to mind here. This is of course on top of routes often being uneven, crossing fields, stiles etc. All of these things can be overcome by those of us who are capable of walking/climbing freely but they are a barrier to those with restricted mobility.

I undertook to investigate the matter with the Sefton Council officer who leads our local Liaison Group and this is what he said in response:-

Hi Councillor

In regards to fully accessible countryside routes, unfortunately these are limited in number.

It is an action in the current Rights of Way Improvement Plan to work on improving the accessibility of the network and work in partnership with people with mobility impairments and as such efforts and improvements to accessibility are being made.

Under the Active Walks scheme there is an independent walks pack that has 24 walking routes in various locations around the borough and some of these are promoted as being accessible. The details of these routes can be found on the Sefton website via

www.sefton.gov.uk/around-sefton/walking-cycling/walking-routes-and-ideas.aspx

I think this is clearly a piece of work in progress and with severely restricted amounts of public money being around these days you would have to be quite an optimist to think that much will happen soon. However, whenever I get the opportunity I intend to bang the drum for disability access to Sefton’s countryside.

This is the front cover of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan made reference to above:-

This document, which covers all of Merseyside, runs to 98 pages and is due to be updated next year

it runs to 98 pages and is due to be updated by 2018.

Sefton Rights of Way – Any issues out there?

For my sins (can an atheist sin?) I am a member of this Group which meets on a 3 monthly basis to discuss and highlight issues with the Borough’s public footpath and bridleway network.

Footpath of Bridges Lane in Sefton Village

I represent both Maghull Town and Lydiate Parish Councils on the Group and am happy to take up issues with public rights of way in the two civil parishes and beyond. So if you have any comments to make please get in touch with me.

And whilst on the subject of walking I am presently reading a book by Stuart Maconie called ‘The Pie at Night’ – its all about what those of us Oop North do for fun! I was struck by some comments about the Ramblers Association now re-branded Ramblers. What I did not know was that it grew out of the Communist British Workers Sport Federation. Can I hear any Conservative members of Ramblers laughing at that surprising bit of history?

Ramblers – A meeting to chat about Sefton’s Local Plan and its effect on public footpaths

Had a good meeting this morning with a representative of the Ramblers Assn. The meeting was to talk through any negative implications on the Maghull and district footpath network of Sefton Council’s decision to build on areas of Green Belt.

The conclusion we came to was that the huge ‘New Town’ site to the east of Maghull will throw up the biggest challenge as a public footpath crosses it which is clearly an historic track. I say historic as it is named on the Ordnance Survey Map as ‘Moss Nook Lane’. The path runs from School Lane to the M58 Motorway and over it to Moss Nook Farm. A second path skirts this development site running alongside the M58 Motorway starting in Poverty Lane and joining Moss Nook Lane by the Motorway.

The large red area is the 'New Town' site to the east of Maghull.

The large red area is the ‘New Town’ site to the east of Maghull.

Public footpaths are important and many have been saved by the campaigning of the Ramblers Assn and others over the years. Clearly our local Ramblers have an eye to keep up such campaigning and I for one will be with them in their efforts.

So sad that we had to have this discussion at all though as the site should not be developed under any circumstances in my book due to it being high grade agricultural land and Green Belt. But despite climate change and supposedly everyone now wanting to put the environment first the economy trumps such concerns every time it seems. Subsequent generations will learn to hate us I fear for what we doing now to land on which they could have grown their food.