Reading the agenda for Wednesday 1st June APC meeting I noticed item 12(iv) about the proposed Anston Bridleway. This will run from Woodsetts Road to Swinston Hill Road.
There is evidence the route has been used by horse riders since 1958 without opposition from the landowners and farmers therefore there has been at least 20 years of uninterrupted use.
RMBC also propose to upgrade the existing Anston footpath to a bridleway status, and a section of the Dinnington footpath. There will be a new section of bridleway through Swinston Hill Woods which will join the Dinnington Bridleway.
The creation and preservation of footpaths and bridleways is important because on 1 January 2026 – not ten years away – the official (definitive) maps will be closed against the addition of paths claimed on the basis of historic evidence. Unrecorded paths, even if they are still in use, could and often will be lost for ever. Paths you know and love could be among them.
The Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act) is a balanced package of measures that allow people to enjoy more of the countryside whilst providing safeguards for landowners and occupiers. http://jncc.defra.gov.ukpage-1378 It has created a new statutory right of access and modernised the rights of way system. Part I of the Act gives people the ‘right to roam’ on foot across mountain, moor, heath and down,in addition to registered common land.
Part II of the CROW Act changes public rights of way law in a number of ways including, introducing a cut off date for recording historic rights of way, providing greater access opportunities to existing routes for people with mobility problems and amending enforcement procedures to combat driving motor vehicles off road and failing to remove obstructions.
We must claim those paths which, with the backing of historic evidence, we believe to be public highways. If we do not claim them, most will be lost for ever. But with hundreds, potentially thousands, of paths to investigate and record, a massive and urgent effort is required.