Happy Valley repairs, late 2019

    Day 1
    On day one, we arrived on site and made our way up from the Pennal end. The journey to the top was extremely slow with a 3 ton tracked machine actually struggling with the rugged terrain and stopping to do some minor repairs along the way. By this time, the weather had turned to gale force winds and torrential rain and even waterproof clothing failed to keep the wet out.

    Regardless, new large drainage pipes were installed and back-filled and the area just below where the burned out car had been graded back to the stone base, leaving large mounds of surplus mud and spoil to be dealt with the following day.

    Day 2
    On day two, we had some extra hands. As one of Pauls labourer's, Dan, was an experienced dry stone waller, he attended to a wall that had collapsed. It was at a point where a gully ran under the wall, so water that should have been exiting was continuing to run down the lane. Fortunately he had it rebuilt within an hour.

    Back on the top, the surplus spoil was graded into a nice large embankment between the road and the large water channel and much of the smaller stone moved by hand in an effort to try to improve the one section that remained very muddy. More work still required here when the weather improves.

    On the return journey, many ditches were re-dug to help the water run away quicker.

    So far, the Green Lane Association had contributed £1,000 to the work. Unfortunately we haven’t yet moved any further forward with continued weather damage repair work due to lack of communications from the Local Authority and the National Park. We hope this will change soon and have more positive news to report.

    Happy Valley repairs

    Day 1

    On day one, we arrived on site and made our way up from the Pennal end. The journey to the top was extremely slow with a 3 ton tracked machine actually struggling with the rugged terrain and stopping to do some minor repairs along the way. By this time, the weather had turned to gale force winds and torrential rain and even waterproof clothing failed to keep the wet out.

    Regardless, new large drainage pipes were installed and back-filled and the area just below where the burned out car had been graded back to the stone base, leaving large mounds of surplus mud and spoil to be dealt with the following day.

     

    Day 2

    On day two, we had some extra hands. As one of Pauls labourer's, Dan, was an experienced dry stone waller, he attended to a wall that had collapsed. It was at a point where a gully ran under the wall, so water that should have been exiting was continuing to run down the lane. Fortunately he had it rebuilt within an hour.

    Back on the top, the surplus spoil was graded into a nice large embankment between the road and the large water channel and much of the smaller stone moved by hand in an effort to try to improve the one section that remained very muddy. More work still required here when the weather improves.

    On the return journey, many ditches were re-dug to help the water run away quicker.

    The Green Lane Association had contributed £1,000 to the work. So far, Unfortunately we haven’t yet moved any further forward with continued weather damage repair work due to lack of communications from the Local Authority and the National Park. We hope this will change soon and have more positive news to report.

    Wolverns Lane, Surrey

    The Forestry Commission have finally spent The Green Lane Association donated funds and their’s to execute the repair works on Wolvern’s Lane. It is extensive and addresses about 70% of the issues I have logged. Time will tell if the serious perpetrators are put off or just see it as a challenge, but they’d need to make a real effort to breach the barriers. We shall cross fingers and wait.

    There will be a sense of desperation and anger among landowners if more damage does happen, especially as it is very wet down there which will attract a certain type of driver. Members may be asked to assist with any further reports so keep an eye on the emails!

    It is gratifying to see the way the lane has been reinforced with two projects that The Green Lane Association have had a big hand in. I am not sure if this will permanently stay the TRO axe, but it is certainly a good try.

    Criminals who deliberately damage land off the highway threaten access to the recreational driver who love exploring unsurfaced roads. If you see anything that needs sorting on this, or any lane, do get in touch!

    Stuart Boreham, Surrey Rep

    North Wales team work – Denbighshire SJ1266-03

    Our Wales Regional Area Rep Coordinator/Comms & Media Officer, and members from several North Wales counties cleared SJ1266-03 in Denbighshire after storms had damaged several trees along the route leaving them dangerous to passing users. The lane was blocked by a large fallen branch, others were left fallen but tentatively supported by other branches, leaning precariously with the potential to fall onto the right of way and possibly anyone using it!

    The landowner was thrilled to have us on site helping out and generally keeping an eye on the long and stunningly scenic lane. The RoW is heavily used by walkers and cyclists, many stopped to ask us about the work we were doing; there were plenty of smiles and waves and positive chats about the work we do here at The Green Lane Association. It was nice to have our hard work appreciated.

    The land owner spoke of some past off piste activity and measures he had put in place to deter illegal usage. He requested that we revisit the lane to keep an eye on things and also offered to be involved and speak from a land owner’s perspective in some future media projects our Comms and Media Officer has planned. We have kept in touch with him since our initial visit and have been back as promised to check that no further obstructions or problems have occurred. A farmer from the other end of the lane also showed interest in working with us too; building relationships with land owners is something our Comms Officer has been working hard on in North Wales this year. She plans to return with some bilingual signage soon to ensure people stick to the legal route and close the gates behind them.

    After the hard work was done, and the lane was made safe for all users, we had lunch with views stretching right across the county before taking in some other lanes in the area. Many thanks to all involved! Days like this are what the laning community is all about - helping each other out, keeping the lanes safe for all, meeting new people, and enjoying our stunning countryside along the way!

    Friends of Ramsden Road

    Ramsden Road is an iconic byway open to all traffic in the Holme valley region of West Yorkshire.

    This is an area the Green Lane Association have been very active in for some years now promoting responsible driving of these unsurfaced rights of way. The area has suffered in the past from irresponsible activity ranging from off-piste driving to blatant illegal driving on open moorland where no vehicular rights of way exist and the Green Lane Association has worked with a number of partner agencies (WY Police, Peak Park Rangers, Yorkshire water, gamekeepers and local residents) to counter and discourage these Illegal activities.

    Several ‘awareness days’ have been held by the Green Lane Association with these partners where time has been spent on the lanes talking to motorised users to promote responsible and sustainable driving.

    Ramsden Road Closed!

    In November 2018 an unexpected experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) was imposed by Kirklees Council on Ramsden Road. After legal challenges by both the Green Lane Association and the TRF this ETRO was revoked.

    After a public meeting in January 2019 (organised by Kirklees Council), which was well attended by all user groups and local residents/landowners, a group was set up to explore potential repairs and maintenance – the birth of “Friends of Ramsden Road”

    This group has been meeting regularly since then and have progressed well with the remit given by Kirklees.

    The Group

    The group is now firmly established with a constitution, committee (on which the Green Lane Association are represented), bank account and as well as looking at repair/maintenance work have started fundraising.

    Site Surveys

    Several site surveys have been carried out and the proposal is for a phased program of work to address the issues of water drainage and erosion of the surface. It is widely agreed that damage to this right of way is not caused by motorised use but by water erosion.

    Phase 1 is identified as the top (NE) relatively flat section of the route – without addressing drainage issues here the lower/steeper sections cannot be repaired sustainably.

    A quote for work on this section has been obtained from a contractor experienced in this type of work (and who are already an approved contractor to Kirklees Council). This has been submitted to Kirklees and at present we await their response.

    Future Activities

    The group will continue to work with Kirklees council to make sure that repair works are carried out (with funding for these works from Kirklees).

    As appropriate, once works commence, organisations involved are committed to providing volunteer labour.

    With the establishment of this ‘Friends’ group we have a great opportunity to show what can be done when all user groups, local landowners and residents come together to work alongside the local authority to restore a right of way to good order and repair.

    The Green Lane Association is at the heart of this project and are fully committed to this project and our hope is that ultimately this could be the perfect example of “best practice” in relation to the collaborative repair and maintenance of rights of way.

    Sadgill to Stile End Byway, Lake District, Cumbria

    In October, stone pitching was installed on a section of BOAT 548016 at Low Sadgill in Longsleddale Parish. This was because there was a rock step on the route by the gate next to the farm (see photo below) which created a problem for some vehicles, occasionally causing them to knock into, and damage, an adjacent stone wall - which anyone who knows the route will recognise as a long-term issue. The pitching has created a more level surface so that vehicles do not have to deviate to the side.

    Further up on the hairpins, a large boulder had become dislodged causing people to cut the corner. More stone pitching was required here, along with moving the boulder and making the deviation less desireable.

    The road was closed for a week due to the fact a trench had to be dug across the full width of the route and the pitching not ‘locked’ until it was all in place.

    The work has now been completed and was partly funded by the Green Lane Association and the TRF.

    Corfe Clearance and Repairs

    The first attached photo was taken in Spring 2014, a year after we were granted vehicular rights to drive the new BOAT at Corfe Castle.....and realised that we had some serious clearance work to carry out as well!

    In September 2019 volunteers from the Green Lane Association, Dorset Land Rover Club and Solent & District Land Rover Club supported this clearance and repair project. We repaired a farmer’s fence alongside the BOAT, cut back large amounts of overgrown vegetation, rehung gates and replaced latches, reinstated a fence line which had been pushed into the track by vegetation encroachment and made the entry/exit gateway on a steep bank safer to use.

    The hoops which had to be jumped through to fulfil the legal requirements for such a project, included filing all the relevant COSHH and NEEBOSH compliant risk assessments, Method Statements, Environmental Impact Statements, Emergency Action Plans, checking for any AONB, ESA and SSSI restrictions which may affect us, took me around 30 hours to complete. All this had to be done before a wonderful turnout of over 20 volunteers could raise so much as a pruning shear at an errant bramble bush.

    The Green Lane Association has carried out regular clearances on this lane since 2014.

    Rob Elliott, Dorset rep

    Wimbish 98 repair, Essex

    Until last year the road had a winter closure on it. Highways repaired it and the closure was lifted. Less than a year later it was full of potholes caused by HGV's using the lane as a delivery route to the few houses there – one of which had been having building work done. Some of the local council dust carts have been using it as a short cut also.

    I was asked by PROW if I could take a look at it after they had received complaints about its condition, which led to us undertaking repairs on it, rather than let it getting to a state where they would have to close it again.

    It turned out to be an interesting day in more ways than one.

    Ed Matthews and myself made a start once we got there and shortly after, one of the local residents dropped by and mentioned that he couldn't believe we were volunteers and not getting paid for our work!

    Once this section was complete, we moved to the other end and carried on with the repairs there. A lady came out of her house and offered us a cup of coffee which of course we didn’t refuse. Whilst chatting to us, one of our volunteers came in from that end in his very dirty Discovery – the lady immediately said “oh here they come!” We pointed that it was actually one of our volunteers. It was clear she was shocked at this and asked if we were all 4x4 drivers. We explained all and about the Green Lane Association and what we do, and her attitude totally changed. A bit of education goes a long way! We met a few more people during the day and the appreciation for what we were doing was clear to see. Also a useful contact was also made with a gentleman who is involved with volunteers on community projects, who asked if they could work with us in the future.

    So, drain-off's dug, pot holes filled = one byway repaired, locals perceptions changed and very grateful for our efforts. You can’t ask for better than that. A big thanks to Andrew Metters for giving up his time to help us.

    Rob Tongue

    Waymarking in Powys

    The Green Lane Association and Treadlightly volunteers first waymarked the key BOATs in Powys around 9 years ago after the Welsh Government provided grants through what was then CCW, (now NRW).

    Byways have been revisited this summer and way marking replaced as necessary on the following routes :

    NB: The location references are taken from TrailWise2 (https://www.trailwise2.co.uk)

    • Golf Links Rhayader (SN9270-02)
    • Doctors Pool (SO1450-03)
    • Giants Grave (SO1254-02)
    • Black Yat (SO1755-01)
    • Strata Florida (SO8056-02) to be done once current works have been completed

    Additional routes waymarked this year, making the total completed around 50km:

    • Water Break’s Its Neck (SO1959-01)
    • Monaughty (SO2368-02)
    • Ciltwrch (SO1440-03)
    • Club Lane (SO0353-02)
    • Glasbury (SO1538-02)
    • Kerry Ridgeway (SO1887-02)
    • Llanelwedd Wood (SO0451-01)
    • Lower Claerwen (SN8663-02)
    • Newbridge Wye Valley Walk (SO0060-01)
    • Old Hall (SO1565-04)

    Further routes planned for waymarking are:

    • CR127 (SO0860-02)
    • Four Stones (SO2360-05)
    • Bailey Hill (SO2372-02)
    • Garth (SO9248-02)
    • Pentre (SO1544-05)
    • Bleddfa (SO1968-02) currently closed due to badgers!

    A new batch of signs has been produced which are not linked to a specific local authority: If you have any suggestions please let us know!

    Trail-blazers fix Glyndwr's Way

    A popular National Trail in north Powys is being improved thanks to a group of volunteers and their 4x4 vehicles.

    Glyndwr's Way National Trail near Llangadfan is set to be improved thanks to a project that has been started to build boardwalks made of lightweight culvert pipes and mesh on an inaccessible and boggy part of the trail.

    The remoteness of the area had given Powys County Council's Countryside Services team considerable problems in getting the large amount of materials needed to the site. However, thanks to the resources of a new volunteer group, with its 4x4 vehicles and experienced drivers, improvements on the trail are starting to take shape.

    The volunteers come from a group called Treadlightly, an organisation that promotes the sustainable, responsible and legal use of motorised vehicles in the countryside. Working alongside the council's countryside access volunteer co-ordinator, the group helped to transport the materials using their 4x4 vehicles and then got to work building the boardwalks.

    Helen Tatchell, the council's Glyndwr's Way National Trail, said: "I would like to thank the Treadlightly volunteers, who are both willing and happy to offer their services on all rights of way, including those that do not allow for vehicle access. "Utilising their vehicles meant that we only needed to make the minimum number of journeys from the public road to the remote site, saving a huge amount of time and effort. The day was a great success and we hope to repeat it again soon." Cllr Rosemarie Harris, Cabinet Member responsible for Countryside Services, said: "Volunteers have played an important role in recent years in opening up our beautiful countryside for people to enjoy. I'm delighted that we have worked with Treadlightly on this successful project and we are looking forward to working together again on other projects in the future."

    Cartmel Fell culvert repairs, Lake District

    Steve Stout of Cumbria TRF organised a repair plan which was developed in collaboration with experienced upland path management, following the advice laid down in the Uplands Path Advisory Group manuals. (Upland Pathwork and Upland Management) and Repairing Upland Paths, Best Practice Guide 1996). Cumbria Drystone Walling Association was consulted for their expertise on the rebuilding of the main retaining wall. Experienced contractors have been consulted for the culvert installation. All health and safety paperwork was completed before the weekend.

    Although a TRF initiative, the Green Lane Association were part of the work party, along with ACU, CALM and LARA members.

    The work involved:

    1. Clearing a drainage gully and replacing the damaged culvert with larger diameter twinwall pipe.
    2. Fill in the eroded surface where significant water is being retained through surface erosion, clear drainage channels as required.
    3. Rebuild retaining drystone wall at GR 409 890.
    4. At GR 413 883 build drystone culvert entrance/exit for existing culvert

    Day 1

    Culverts were dug out and the road has started to look like it should again without the water running across it rather than under it. In the morning stone was picked up from Staveley. A huge thanks to Richard Rogers, (RR Stone) for both donating, loading and then bringing some across.

    Duncan Allen, Patrick Lacey, Richard Burke and Jim David from the Green Lane Association turned up and did a stirling job on wall building and gully clearances.

    Several of the TRF lads dug out the upstream riverbed and unearthed the entrance to the main culvert, then built a catchment area and stone faced it. Others dug out another drain line, found a huge culvert and opened this out.

    Day 2

    With visits/help from Geoff Wilson, (LARA), Robert Wilson ACU & Peter Apps, (CALM), all of the major organisations involved with green lanes were present, as both TRF & Green Lane Association members turned up to help out again.

    Plenty of some very old stone drainage was exposed and rejuvenated. Lots of superb work was done by the lads with plenty of digging, and some big stones moved around. There are some areas still to finish off but the road is now not in danger of collapsing.

    Big thanks to Kankku for donating the drainage pipe needed today last minute.

    Thanks very much to everyone who turned up today.

    A fabulous achievement in the Lakes

    Police seek prosecutions following posting of online videos

    Police in the Peak District vowed in January 2018 to take more illegal off-road bikers off the road and out of the countryside if they are damaging our natural environment.

    The pledge came as police carried out dawn raids in Grimsby and Cleethorpes areas after identifying suspects and seizing their bikes.

    Sergeant Dan Healey from Grimsby Community Policing Team said bikers would be hunted down because of the damage they are causing to areas of outstanding natural beauty and also areas of special scientific interest.

    He praised the collaboration between all police forces in the country to stamp out thrill-seeking riders who tear through private land, along bridleways and footpaths.

    He highlighted the co-operation between forces, and said Police are targeting offenders who are being identified thanks to social media, drones, nightscopes and if needed a police helicopter will be drafted in.

    Sergeant Healey said: “While we support and condone safe motorcycling, we cannot condone the destruction of protected areas across any part of the country which are meant to be enjoyed by everyone.

    “We are very pleased with the results today. It sends out a warning to anyone who commits crime in any part of the country that police forces will collaborate on such operations, and that we work hard together to bring those who commit crimes to justice.”

    He said riders could cause damage if they were careless and inconsiderate, or by riding off legal routes.

    A number of riders were arrested in the raids in the Grimsby area, as they were alleged to have caused damage to sites of significant interest, as well as roads and pathways and legally-protected flowers and fauna.

    Officers from Humberside Police and Cheshire Police seized four KTM and two Husqvarna off-road bikes at a series of addresses in Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

    The operation, which began around 6am, centred on properties at St Christopher's Road, Humberston, Sunningdale and Woodhall Drive in Waltham, Bramhall Street and Nelson Way, Grimsby.

    The police action came with a warning to other off-road bikers who cause damage: “We know who you are. We will find you and we will seize your bikes.”

    Five Humberside Police officers assisted by two volunteer Special officers and a team from Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team carried out the raids.

    The operation was in response to a group of men causing damage to areas of outstanding natural beauty and special scientific interest in the Peak District National Park.

    Sergeant Rob Simpson, of the Cheshire Constabulary said the arrests of the seven men were in relation to criminal damage caused to footpaths, bridleways and private land in the National Park.

    He said damage had been caused in the Macclesfield area where riders had been identified riding without due care and consideration.

    The investigation was assisted by Green Lane Association members in Derbyshire, who spotted a YouTube video showing illegal trail riding, realised the activity shown was illegal, and helped Cheshire police analyse the video. 

    The police identified the culprits and realised they were a group from ‘out of area’, so liaised with the Humberside force.

    Sergeant Simpson said: “With fantastic support from Humberside Police the seven men saw their off-road bikes seized and hauled away.

    “Thanks to the assistance of Humberside Police we have been able to launch a successful operation.

    “Cheshire has beautiful countryside that is here for the enjoyment of everyone and so anyone who ruins it for others will be robustly dealt with. These arrests send a clear message to those that commit these type of crimes that where ever you are, whoever you are, we are prepared to come and get you.”

    He added: “We are happy for people to enjoy their sport so long as they act responsibly.

    “They can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage. In a site of special scientific interest you can’t put a value on the damage caused.”

    The police thanked The Green Lane Association for their assistance in the operation.  Chris Mitchell, the Derbyshire Area Rep for The Green Lane Association, said “Our members are bound by a code of conduct which requires them to use only road legal vehicles or bikes, and to use only roads or byways. Illegal ‘off-road’ activity on motor bikes or in 4x4s not only damages the countryside, but brings responsible drivers into disrepute as the public image of green laning is adversely affected.”

    https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/grimsby-news/road-bikers-warned-theyll-arrested-1108522

    The bikes seized by the police, some of which were identified in a YouTube video.