The other day I was cycling the short path that leads from Green Lane to the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail when I noticed workmen reconstructing a footbridge across Maghull Brook.
Maghull Brook is the boundary between Maghull & Lydiate and it also forms part of the boundary between Sefton and West Lancs. It was indeed this very brook that the Leeds Liverpool Canal collapsed into in 1995. Here’s a reminder of that day:-
Anyway I digress as this posting is about what seems to be a rarely used Maghull Footpath which the bridge pictured above serves. Trouble is I have never seen anyone use that footpath, a point also made to me by one of the workmen who clearly lived locally. The path runs northwards effectively alongside Maghull Brook towards that group of houses on the sharp bend in Bells Lane. The houses, once known as Upper Gore Farm but now called Mercer Court, are actually just in West Lancashire. In fact two footpaths radiate from that group of houses, the one we are talking about here and a second which ends up crossing the Cheshire Lines Path and then the River Alt on Showicks Bridge and leads you to either Sefton or Lunt Villages.
Showicks Bridge over the River Alt
Um, I seem to digressed again! Anyway a footpath sign showing where the path across the recently rebuilt bridge goes would be handy, then maybe it would be used by walkers who don’t have a local Ordnance Survey Map.
If you have ever used the signposted section of the TransPennine Trail from the Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull (just south of the access at Meadway) towards Chapel Lane in Netherton and the new Brooms Cross Road you will know what poor condition the surface is in through Jubilee Woods and across the River Alt. Here’s some photos:-
This path/cyclepath is Numbered 62 on the National Cycle Network and I have taken the poor condition of it up with Sefton Council who are responsible for the Trail throughout its journey through the Borough. At this stage I’m not sure what remedial work they are able to do but if I hear more I will post it on this blog site.
The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above
And here we see the sad consequences of irresponsible scrambler bike riding.
It’s far from being a new problem though, indeed it goes back 25 years or more at least. In my years as a councillor one consistent complaint that has come my way, especially in the summer months, has been the menace of scrambler bikes on the Cheshire Line Path/Trans Pennine Trail, on The Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path and on Jubilee Woods between Maghull and Sefton Village.
But now they are all over our roads and one was even driven through Bootle Strand Shopping Centre not so long ago!
In my experience the Police are quick to react to information about where the bikes are being stored because seizing them at such places is far safer than trying to catch them when they are being driven at speed.
I recall one occasion when a sharp eyed resident spotted a van that regularly parked up near the River Alt on Bridges Lane and from which scrambler bikes were unloaded. The boy and girls in blue dealt with that one.
My advice is always tell the police when you see a scrambler bike being driven erratically as it helps them put together a picture of where they appearing. Even better if you know of where any of them are being stored, please ring Crime Stoppers.
It’s so sad that an innocent pedestrian has been run down by an irresponsible scrambler bike driver.
There’s a public footpath/public right of way just where Lydiate’s Bells Lane joins Altcar Lane in Great Altcar Parish. The path crosses the fields of Great Altcar and ends up at Showicks Bridge, which is a footbridge over the River Alt. When you cross the bridge you are back in Sefton Borough (in Lunt Meadows Wetlands & Nature Reserve) as you were in Lydiate but the whole length of the path is actually in Lancashire County such is the odd shape of Sefton Borough.
The former Upper Gore Farm now a small housing development
And why do I raise this matter now? Well the footpath is not presently sign posted at the junction of Bells Lane/Altcar Lane and it could do with being so to aid walkers. It does not help that to those unfamiliar with the area, or who have not got an Ordnance Survey map with them, the path looks to go through a small housing development (which it does) that used to be Upper Gore Farm.
Showicks Bridge over the River Alt
I have raised the matter with Sefton Council’s Footpaths Officer and have contacted the Public Rights of Way Team at Lancashire Council in the hope that a finger pointing sign for the path can be erected.
The Guardian has the story – see link above
This is a very important issue yet for reason that do not bear close examination more and more new homes seem to be getting built in flood risk areas.
The Maghull area flooding pressure points
Only yesterday in conversation I heard of a Maghull family refused flood risk insurance due to the location of their property. This particular property seems to be caught up in the concerns about the River Alt and Dovers Brook over-topping problems at times of very heavy rain.
With thanks to my research assistant Roy Connell
Stood in a muddy field next to Dovers Brook with it tippling down, that’s where I was interviewed by Radio Merseyside journalist Mike Perkins as storm Frank was hitting Maghull today.
Dovers Brook in full flood looking north from Sefton Lane on Boxing Day 2015.
Thankfully at noon today the River Alt was not high and neither was Dovers Brook unlike Boxing Day when Maghull was hit by flooding.
Not sure what parts of the interview Radio Merseyside will use but I made comment on the low lying nature of Sefton and how much of it is prone to flooding at times of heavy prolonged rain.
Hall Lane, Maghull with a Merseyside Fire & Rescue worker trying to clear debris from Whinney Brook on Boxing Day.
I also explained how Whinney Brook flows into Dovers Brook which in turn flows into the River Alt and how when the Alt is too high the process starts to work in reverse causing flooding for parts of western Maghull.
Having lived in Sefton Lane as a lad and teenager I recalled how flooding took place near Dovers Brook back then but that it has got far worse in recent years with 2012 being the worst flooding event.
Dovers Brook where Sefton Lane becomes Bridges Lane – The houses were about to be inundated on 26th December 2015.
We also discussed the work the Environment Agency is doing on the Alt to create food zones in fields north east of Lunt and how this almost replicates what used to happen a 100 years ago when the Meadows around the Alt would flood each winter. In very cold weather it would provide a place for folk to ice skate.