Author Topic: Road Safety and Lostways.  (Read 647 times)

barewirewalker

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Road Safety and Lostways.
« on: 15:40:23, 01/09/19 »
Yesterday we drove back from a stayover in mid Wales. Crossing a bridge at Buttington, Nr Welshpool we observed two walkers on the road trying to find a gap in an almost continuous stream of traffic attempting to cross over the River Severn. Offa's Dyke Way crosses the bridge here, the right of way, which leads to it, from the south, also continues across the road a follows the east bank off the river for about 1 3/4 miles going north. At the point, where this RoW turns away from the river, there is a bridge. In fact the continuation of the RoW could be interpreted as another approach to the bridge. Unfortunately there is no right of way over the bridge, called the Maginnis Bridge or the short track leading to it from Pool Quay.
buttington BrX2 by Barewirewalker, on Flickr
From the image, with thanks to Google Earth, it can be seen that there is little room for a pedestrian to walk across this bridge unless it is free of traffic. In fact I was surprised that no traffic was on the bride for the two images taken, it was a very rare occurrence.

What prompted me to bring this to the forums attention, on our way up to Wales, we encountered another walker trying to negotiate the bridge.
Is this a risky crossing? Is there is a safer alternative by simply crossing the road and continuing up the east side of the river to a bridge that has all the hallmarks of a lostway?

Below is a quote from the Country Landowners' Associations 2012 policy document on Access
Quote
2.1 Lost Ways
It is wholly wrong, and defies all sense of propriety
and logic, that paths which have been unused for
decades, centuries or even at all, can be "discovered"
out of the blue and opened up across land, which
may be garden, commercial or farm land, or have
been developed. The greatest sense of injustice
occurs when there has been no use within living
memory and there is no evidence of a path on the
ground. That injustice is compounded if the land is
registered and all relevant searches were completed
at purchase.
Such paths can cause significant interference with
modern-day operations and can affect the amenity of
residents and the property value. Challenging the
existence of these paths is time-consuming and
expensive and, should they be confirmed, the
process for getting them changed is slow and
expensive, and the outcome uncertain.
The style of peevish authority of the above quote bears resemblance to the style of other articles written by Harry Cotterell, President of the CLA at the time of the publication of their policy claimed to be, 'a common sense' approach to access. I have taken an interest in the Maginnis bridge, know a bit about it's history and have tried to draw attention to it's potential value with both the Powys and Shropshire CCs.
Recently it has come to my attention that another LDW directs walkers to this crossing. It is the Cross Britain Macmillan charity way. If ever there was chance for a landowner to make a charity donation, without having to dip into his pocket, this is it, allowing access of the Maginnis Bridge. Unfortunately not only do the CLA write authoritative blurb such as the above, they also have a lawyer as their adviser on access matters, who conducts workshops on how to avoid creating rights of way. This lawyer, I believe, replaced a previous adviser, I guess was a Land Agent by background and wrote along the lines that landowners would have to give more away than they could receive, if they were to reach an understanding over access. I think this is just the sort of example of a valuable way left off the definitive map that a land agent would know about and the reason he wrote those words.
How many more examples such as this are there?
The three walkers did not look happy, in fact fearful, in the face of the heavy weight of traffic could have been a fair assessment. Is this our best way to treat visitors? The council are at an impasse to make safe the way without great expense, yet there is a cost free alternative at the grace and favour minority, who could do with a thorough clean up of their far from popular image.






BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

archaeoroutes

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Re: Road Safety and Lostways.
« Reply #1 on: 17:22:04, 01/09/19 »
Bridges are a whole new kettle of fish compared to a path across a field. The responsibility to ensure it is safe is still the same, but that is vastly more difficult and expensive than for a footpath. Perhaps if the council took on that responsibility it might help?
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk

BuzyG

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Re: Road Safety and Lostways.
« Reply #2 on: 20:53:37, 01/09/19 »
I don't see a footpath across the bridge, marked on the map.  There are many old bridges I can think of where walkers are right there with the traffic.  Gunnislake bridge immediately springs to mind.  That said I agree that one is an accident waiting to happen one dark wet evening.   :-\


On a similar vain.  I noticed couple of golfers waiting for an opportunity to cross the main A road from Plymouth to Dartmoor today, near yelverton, as it passes through the course.  Beautiful sunny day, every man and his dog out for a drive.  They could well still be there waiting.  ;)

Strider

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Re: Road Safety and Lostways.
« Reply #3 on: 20:57:19, 01/09/19 »
Here's the track leading to the bridge, as you can see, there are no 'Get orf moi laaand' signs at the entrance:

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.6966421,-3.100774,3a,60y,78.96h,69.8t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sN6KHWgFAs-F_dRGjpsSesw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

The bridge itself looks pretty substantial and is clearly used by farm vehicles, so I don't think maintenance is an issue:

https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/935260

And the track is used by anglers who have a car park adjacent to the bridge (see final paragraph 'Powis Arms'):

https://www.baa.uk.com/where-fish/severn/buttington-bridge/

So, are the track and bridge not marked as ROW because they don't need to be?

It does look like the path on the eastern bank of the river would be a safer route than the official one which, apart from the bridge, also runs alongside the road for a while, but the area to the east appears to be a flood plain so perhaps whoever devised the Offa's Dyke path decided it wasn't suitable for that reason.  You'll note that the official route runs behind a flood defence dyke just north of Buttington Bridge.

Not all those who wander are lost

barewirewalker

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Re: Road Safety and Lostways.
« Reply #4 on: 10:42:11, 02/09/19 »
Thanks for those links, Strider. From the geograph photo you can see, part of the remains of the original bridge. This, I understand, collapsed in the 1960's or thereabouts. It may have suffered the same fate as another ancient stone bridge over the River Vyrnwy near Meifod. I was given an accurate description of that one's fate by an old farmer, whose house was right beside it. As the river thawed out in the big freeze of 1963 massive blocks of snow and ice piled up against it, taking it out completely.

Here's the track leading to the bridge, as you can see, there are no 'Get orf moi laaand' signs at the entrance:
Those were on the field gate east side of the bridge.

Thanks for your comment BuzyG. There was a footpath from the west side of the bridge back to the pub on older B&W maps. It is reasonable to suppose that the pub drew custom from the far side of the river. As the pub is call the Powys Arms, did the landowner collect the rents there, so land across the bridge may well have been part of the estate, should we not be able to share in bits of our history by walking the ways many of ancestors walked

Bridges are a whole new kettle of fish compared to a path across a field.
I agree, I have realised that lost infrastructure can be far more important and a failure not to recognise their value damages the asset value of the footpath network, also by not understanding their strategic position relative to a modern day network.

When the Maginnis Bridge collapsed the farmer tried to get support from the council to re-instate the bridge and was refused, I assume that he obtained a section of military surplus bridge, a lot around in those days and went it alone. The holding then was only small, a living attached to the Powys Arms pub, when I started exploring that area the landlord was quite open about the history as he knew it. I think if he had been handled right by the Rights of Way officers he might have been won over, at that time the CLA were actively touting for membership. He had been indoctrinated about the risk of third party claims etc, etc.


Though he did tell me a story of one of the long time regulars of the pub, who used to drive his landrover over fields to the bridge and walk over the bridge and the short distance to the pub, usually drinking well over the legal limit.

That publican died rather suddenly and the field was sold off.


There some brilliant lines for walking west from The Powys Arms and there is a lovely approach to it over the Breiddens and down through Bytherig, marred slightly by some rather stupid little anomalies in the RoW track. Sadly anyone making this approach will run into a locked, with attitude, gate, a lot of barbed wire and privacy notices. That was a couple of years ago.
I looked up the Cross Britain Way, starting at the Wash and heading for Barmouth. It crosses Cannock Chase then dips well South going along the Wenlock Edge before taking a northerly route to the Buttington Bridge. Had the Definitive Map of Shropshire had a truer representation to the Pre War Ordnance Survey maps there would have been a fairly clear line across Shropshire from Lilleshall Abbey to the Maginnis Bridge.

It is a shame that these new LDPs have to cherry pick other LDPs to make there way across country, the line that could have been chosen has plenty of countryside interest, creating a totally different experience to that force fed by lack of choice. There could also be another feeder line to this bridge from the NE of the county, again this is not immediately recognizable because of ways lost from the reestablishment of agricultural land after military use.

Also there is a very good linear walk; A Shrewsbury - Four Crosses bus service drops at Crew Green on the east side of the Breiddens by walking to the canal towpath behing the Powis Arms it is a strait and attractive walk into Welshpool and the train station. Don't tell the Irreverent Merrill. :P 
 
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

barewirewalker

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Re: Road Safety and Lostways.
« Reply #5 on: 13:01:37, 10/09/19 »
Fernman made posted elsewhere about an interesting Campsite, about Montford Bridge, made me think, what is the connection between Montford Bridge and the Maginnis Bridge?

Just a whole load of Lostways, through uninterrupted countryside, leading from one safe major road crossing to another safer major road crossing.
And Harry Cotterell got an OBE after writing a policy intent on burying this sort of information.  :2funny: NO  :'( .

Oh and there is another bridge or will be when the Shrewsbury NW relief road is built, also joined by lostways to Montford Bridge, wonderful walk little traffic, historical interest, miles of lovely countryside.


Sad I am one of the few people, who will ever have walked it, knowing what could be  :crazy2:
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

barewirewalker

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Re: Road Safety and Lostways.
« Reply #6 on: 16:00:21, 12/09/19 »
Below is a quote from the Country Landowners' Associations 2012 policy document on AccessThe style of peevish authority of the above quote bears resemblance to the style of other articles written by Harry Cotterell, President of the CLA at the time of the publication of their policy claimed to be, 'a common sense' approach to access.

Quote
2.1 Lost Ways
It is wholly wrong, and defies all sense of propriety
and logic, that paths which have been unused for
decades, centuries or even at all, can be "discovered"
out of the blue and opened up across land, which
may be garden, commercial or farm land, or have
been developed. The greatest sense of injustice
occurs when there has been no use within living
memory and there is no evidence of a path on the
ground. That injustice is compounded if the land is
registered and all relevant searches were completed
at purchase.
Such paths can cause significant interference with
modern-day operations and can affect the amenity of
residents and the property value. Challenging the
existence of these paths is time-consuming and
expensive and, should they be confirmed, the
process for getting them changed is slow and
expensive, and the outcome uncertain.
I thought that the author of the above could have learnt something about Public Access and Road Safety from his own Locale, had he kept his eyes open as well as his mind.
I recall showing a map some years ago, taken down by photobucket, so I thought it might be interesting to look at it again but in smaller scale. It is over an area in Herefordshire, where the author of the above farms his families estate of Garnons (I believe about 2000 acres), The map shows 2 areas devoid of off road rights of way divided by a single bridleway. I have shaded these 2 X zones and have been pondering the effect that they have on our access to the countryside.
mlacy-garnon_Xzone_A-Zssc.map by Barewirewalker, on Flickr
Reading BethFF's topic and the sort of areas she would like to create long distance walks, this is the sort of project that get complicated by large areas of conjoined private land, made more frustrating when they are riddled with many miles of Lostway.
The 2 X zones block a north approach to the only non urban bridge over the River Wye for many miles. South of the bridge 2 RoWs give good access to countryside. However despite there being pedestrian walkways on the bridge, there is no safe approach from the north.

If you climbed the Malvern Hills you would see the Black Mountains, in between is the town of Hereford, Not prime walking. But a line veering through Dinmore Hill would give an almost direct walk crossing the River Wye a Bridge Sollers, only a few yards from where the North section of Offas's Dyke terminates at the bank of the River Wye.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.