Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Byways, Greenlanes, B.o.a.ts etc., etc.,

I'm sure many of you use what are now termed as 'Other routes with public access' on the current series of 1:25:000 maps, and 'Byway open to all traffic' on the older 1:50,000 series of maps. These are marked as a series of green dots on the 1:25,000 series and on my older Landranger 1:50,000 maps as red crosses on the key and red dots on the map(!). They are sometimes called green lanes.

On older maps these were shown where they could be seen as either tracks, lanes or simply unmarked if the OS could make nothing out on their surveys with no indication of whether there was a public right of way.

I'm sure there'll be a slight variation in some counties perhaps but in Yorkshire and most other countries they are the responsibility of the highway authority and not the county/town council/national parks which look after the footpaths and bridleways.

In many areas these other routes are largely unmarked, unloved and not looked after by the highways department. In Yorkshire they are at the bottom priority and nothing is spent on them. In fact our highways department have allowed some of these routes to become diverted by private landowners. Twice recently a private house owner has told me, "We don't mind you coming this way as long as you go around the outside of the garden". This from a doctor whose pretty farm house has/had a byeway crossing the middle of what was once his access to his barns/fields.

On Sunday I was out and another old farm, now a done up second home had a sign up stating that the bridge over the stream near their property was; "Private and no access to the green lane". On accessing the green lane it was impossible to walk most of it as it was blocked by discarded junk (corrugated steel, rolls of old barbed wire etc and blackthorn/briars/nettles everywhere)

The vast majority here are unmarked and on complaining about these issues to our highways department have been told variously that, "We haven't the manpower/money/resources or simply that it wasn't an issue!

Can I ask that if you come across any problems to e-mail your highways department and complain before these routes are simply taken into private ownership and before it becomes to difficult to reverse the situation?


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