The BBC has the article on its website – see link below
As a cyclist, I find this article interesting and to the point. I’ve commented before along the similar lines by highlighting local cycle route inadequacies which I have encountered.
Often segregated cycle routes do not have logical ends and are in effect bits and pieces between destinations. The route from Switch Island to Ormskirk along the busy A59 is an example. From Switch Island to the Maghull boundary there’s a brand new cycle path but it stops well short of Liverpool Road South. Yes, I know that Sefton Council intends to address this but really it should have been done in tandem with Highways England doing the first stretch.
But then moving north through Maghull & Lydiate a safe cycle route has yet to be sorted out. It’s either the busy dual carriageway or pavement for cyclists.
A59 Cycle path becomes narrow pavement at Robins Island.
Then at Robins Island, a cycle path appears again, on both sides of the A59. Generally, it is in good condition but parts of it are not – patches of grass, poorly completed surface repairs & tree roots make the later stages of these cycle lanes poor. But then as you climb into Aughton the cycle route peters out altogether just like through Maghull & Lydiate. This makes the last mile or so into Ormskirk a cycling challenge.
This was the state of the Cheshire Lines Path through Great Altcar Civil Parish in the winter of 2017 – it’s not got any better.
I could illustrate other problem routes where cycling facilities in Sefton and West Lancashire are inadequate but will settle for just one. The Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail. This former railway track is in very poor condition through West Lancs because since it was created there has not been the regular maintenance that is clearly required. Some of the route is now really only suitable for mountain bikes and a once wide path where cyclists could pass each other is presently very narrow in places.
There is much to do to make our cycling routes safe, logical and well maintained.
With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting
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.
Meadow Community Wildflower Garden behind Sefton Drive on the Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull.
The link above is to a short time lapse video of scything being undertaken at the ‘Meadow’ behind Sefton Drive in Maghull on the Cheshire Lines Path. It’s worth watching to see how this old and environmentally friendly grass cutting method actually works. It’s being done by volunteers from the Merseyside North Volunteers Group.
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.
A few weeks ago I blogged about the poor condition of this footpath/cycle path through West Lancashire and as a consequence of my finding it in such a poor state I have been lobbying various bodies with responsibility for it or connections with it. My previous post is accessible via the link below:-
I have exchanged e-mails with a local volunteer who works with the environmental charity Sustrans and also the Trans Pennine Trail Office in Barnsley. All indications so far seem to point towards West Lancashire Borough Council being the lead organisation that needs to find some grant funding to address the matter.
This is what the Trans Pennine Trail folk said to me:-
West Lancashire have flagged up the urgently needed work on their section of the Trail for some time now but unfortunately have been unsuccessful in securing funding. Earlier this year we helped our colleagues in West Lancs to try and secure some funding via their Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) but despite many of our supporters voting for this project we were unsuccessful which is a great shame for all concerned. The level of funding needed is far beyond our partners budget allocation but this doesn’t infer that they aren’t committed to the works, this is purely down to a lack of funding available.
Sustrans and the Friends of the Trans Pennine Trial are both registered charities which can be used to channel funding should there be a suitable ‘pot’ available.
My guess is that little is going to happen in the short term unfortunately.
It’s many years now since the Cheshire Lines Path was created on the trackbed of the old Cheshire Lines and Southport Extension Railway and of course it subsequently became a part of the Trans Pennine Trail.
Sadly the part of the Path/Trail through the Great Altcar part of West Lancashire has not been maintained and the surface is now rough and narrow considering that it is for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The photo above illustrates one particular part of the path where agricultural vehicles regularly cross over it – this particular site is the extension to Cabin Lane off Altcar Lane in Great Altcar. After the recent heavy rain it’s a horrible muddy mess for walkers and cyclists.
Yes I know austerity will have played into the lack of maintenance but in reality the decline in the surface well predates the financial crash. In terms of cycle riding areas of the path are now only really suitable for mountain bikes in my view. I fear that if something is not done reasonably soon this long distance path is going to be compromised such that folks will stop using it especially in the winter months.
I have made my views known to those who have responsibility for the path in the hopes of some plan to redress the decline.
Click on the photo to enlarge it
My thanks to Champion Newspapers for publishing an article based on this blog posting on 7th February