Trans Pennine Trail V Tissington Trail

These two photographs tell a story and in the case of the Trans Pennine Trail, specifically the part of it through West Lancashire which is also known as the Cheshire Lines Path, it’s not a good one as far as maintenance is concerned

Trans Pennine Trail/Cheshire Lines path – Looking south from Cabin Lane Great Altcar – December 2020

Tissington Trail Derbyshire – March 2019

The difference in maintenance regimes is stark indeed yet (I thought*) both are National Trails and I’ve cycled them both.

I’ve commented on the terrible condition of the Cheshire Lines path, through West Lancashire, previously but it continues to deteriorate and seems to be fast becoming the forgotten Trail – so very sad. But before you shout ‘austerity’, which will of course clearly be a significant factor in recent years, this path has been suffering a lack of maintenance since it was fully opened some 30 years ago through West Lancashire. There was, in my view, hardly any maintenance to cut back on!

The part of the Trail/Path in Merseyside (Maghull) has seen some improvement work in recent years at the hands of the Merseyside North Volunteers. This is some of their excellent handiwork just north of the site of the former Sefton & Maghull Station and behind Sefton Drive, Maghull:-

* The Trans Pennine, it turns out, has not been made a National Trail (despite efforts to have it designated as such) and that probably indicates why its maintenance levels are not up to National Trail standards – With thanks to those correcting my view that it is a National Trail.

Altcar – Light & shade on the S&CLER

Great Altcar Civil Parish in West Lancashire remains a predominately rural community to this day. It lost its very rural passenger service along the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway in 1952, well before Beeching came along.

The trackbed is now a part of the National Cycle Network, the Trans Pennine Trail and is known as the Cheshire Line Path.

The two light and shade shots in this posting were taken just to the north of the site of the former Altcar & Hillhouse Station. Both are looking south and from the same location – the next bridge north of the B5195 Wood Lane.

If you click on the photos to enlarge them you will see more detail. The first one shows the next bridge south (Wood Lane) and the former station would have been just the other side of it where a sewerage works now stands at the side of the Cheshire Lines path.

I love the stone and brickwork in these shots, built to last you might say. The line opened in September 1884, so these bridges are over 130 years old and still looking pretty much as good as the day they were erected.

The first shot is also amongst my Flickr photos at – www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

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.’

30 years of the Trans Pennine Trail

This was the state of the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail through Great Altcar Civil Parish in the winter of 2017 – it’s not got any better.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=niTXh9NLJg0

The video accessible via the link above is worth watching.

I recall the original efforts to establish the Cheshire Lines Path (which forms all of the Trans Pennine Path through West Lancashire and part of it through Sefton) led by the Rev. Smout from Aughton. It’s so sad that the parts of the West Lancs section, particularly through Great Altcar, are in such poor condition.

Sefton & West Lancs – Encounters on a bike ride

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride yesterday so I set off from my Lydiate home through Maghull, Melling, Simmonswood, Aughton and Downholland back into Lydiate. It was a ride of just over 12 miles but quite a bit happened along the way.

Firstly, a van overtook me whilst I was negotiating the roundabout by the new Maghull North Station and the Poppy Fields housing development. To say the van was too close is putting it mildly; less than half a meter from me I would guess when the recommended amount of space to leave around a cyclist when overtaking them is 1.5m! Fortunately, the name of the firm was on the truck so when I stopped I Tweeted the Preston-based company asking them to advise their driver not to put cyclists at risk by driving so close to them.

Then I went down Spurriers Lane, which turns into Outlet Lane when it leaves Melling Parish and enters Simmonswood Parish in West Lancs. I had a brief look at the hugely controversial caravan site off the beginning of Spurriers Lane, near Carla Lane Animal Centre, and saw 4 or 5 caravans on it. My recollection is that the Champion newspaper recently reported that Sefton Council is having the landowner return the land back to its original condition as the development does not have planning permission. There was no sign of remedial works taking place.

I pressed on down Spurriers and into Outlet Lane and then a dog encounter, which I have never had before down that particular lane. I stopped a good 20 yards from the two dogs that were running free in the lane and retreated. The problem is you never know as a cyclist what dogs running free will do so its best to avoid them. Even friendly dogs can jump up and knock a cyclist off causing injury. When I stopped later for a brew in Town Green I e-mailed the West Lancs Dog Warden asking them to speak to the owners about keeping their dogs under control and I await a response. I also Tweeted the company of the too close van as mentioned above and I await their response too.

Then it was up and over Clieves Hill and what a view it was on a lovely sunny winters day. I also encountered the volunteer litter picker who often cleans up at this local beauty spot. Regular readers of this blog site will recall that I posted a while back about my encounter up there with a West Lancs Council litter cleaner who told me how bad the littering was and that there was a chap who did some volunteer litter picking. Well, I’ve now met the chap and we had a good chat about the mucky buggers who create so much mess in and around this lovely spot.

Down the hill into Downholland and I find myself approaching the Green Lane/Eagar Lane canal swing bridge over the Leeds Liverpool Canal but there were workmen on it and the bridge had clearly been closed. It soon became apparent why – one of the safety barriers had snapped off in the high winds as always seems to happen at this exposed spot. Indeed, the barrier was in the canal and was being fished out by contractors working on behalf of the Canal & River Trust. A narrow boat was waiting to get through the bridge and it was able to whilst I was there as the work had been completed and a new barrier is on order. Here’s a couple of shots of the activity around the bridge:-

Snapped off bridge barrier being hauled out of the canal

Narrow Boat at Eagar Lane canal swing bridge after bridge is reopened

Quite a lot of things going on on one short bike ride around Sefton and West Lancs.

Aughton – Gorse Hill Nature Reserve

www.facebook.com/events/227208221377516/?notif_t=event_calendar_create&notif_id=1526975458190728

An event there on 3rd June is advertised on the Reserve’s Facebook Page – see link above

I have walked some of the public footpaths through this nature reserve in the past and a pleasant area it is too.

There will be a free guided walk on 3rd June to parts of the Reserve not normally open to the public from 1 pm to 2.30 pm under the the theme ‘Contrasting Woodlands’. Access to the reserve is via Holly Lane.

The reserve is run by the Northwest Ecological Trust and their web site can be accessed via this link:-

nwecotrust.org.uk/