Author Topic: One for Barewirewalker!  (Read 1221 times)


barewirewalker

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3395
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #1 on: 10:21:28, 09/08/20 »
Thanks for that, there seems to be one other with more altruistically mature views about sharing the countryside, though I have only skip read it so far.
Interesting that he chose Highclere as one of his areas of trespass; it is out of my local range but I have done some virtual walking there some years ago. The Earl of Caernarvon's private acres sits directly between 2 mainline stations on separate lines, ten miles apart. It is this sort of functional recognition that is not required of 'landowners', where the absence of a responsibility to think how their occupation of parts of the countryside has an effect on others.
Hopefully his emotional writings could combine with practical examples to provide a way for the access network to move beyond the stalemate between petty aristocratic notions of property and dumb politics.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

GinAndPlatonic

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1000
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #2 on: 16:03:41, 09/08/20 »
That`s a long read Fernman but interesting .

& my apologies this is a bit of a long shaggy dog story too. ???
By coincidence I walked from the village of Leintwardine in Herefordshire a couple of days ago , on a circular route which took me near to the grandly named Downton Castle , which looked down at me rather imposingly , as I passed .
All around the estate are signs "No Entry Private"  or as below "Our tenure of the land does not allow public access"


                 My route took me to yet another No Entry sign which I obeyed but when I arrived at the top of the ridge via the Herefordshire way , yet  another "No entry" sign greeted me .
I thought to myself I do not want a two to three mile detour in this heat , thank you.
I decided to open the gate which was firmly tied with a double knotted polypropylene rope and retied it firmly . I walked through four such gates  and stepped over one barbed wire fence , making sure not to damage it .
All the time I was conscious that I could be easily seen from the Castle Windows and another cluster of buildings in the valley .
I came to Bow bridge to cross the river Teme . Sadly it was festooned with no entry signs , steel railings & steel gates . I decided to climb over them and also the others railings at the other side of the bridge .

I then walked along the track to be confronted by an English Springer Spaniel which turned and trotted off the way it came . I passed a bend and was then met by a tall rangy guy with six spaniels at heel , stood in the middle of the track staring at me . He looked like a game keeper , dressed all in Khaki . Now I cannot read minds and try not to jump to conclusions , but I did think ok maybe the guy would like me to turn and go back the way I came .

Then one of the dogs came tearing up to me . I know it is best to keep eye contact with any dog that I do not know . The dog sat by me as if he had found dead game . I stood there , and the dog sat , and the guy stood there , still looking at me ...dadada...daaa.

I asked him " Can you tell me the way to Downton Rock " ?  He did not reply but stood momentarily and then turned and walked away.
He called his dogs "come" and off he went not a single word . :-X
I am sure I will be looked upon as a common trespasser to many on here but at the time I was on a huge estate and doing no one harm or damage to anything . I just wanted to walk on .  :)

 ........................................................................................

I relate to the sentiments shown in this quote from the article :Not only is Hayes practically a professional trespasser these days, no sign too forbidding to be ignored, no fence too high to be climbed. In my case, he’s like a naughty younger brother, egging me on, urging me blithely to step over whatever impediment happens to be in my way. “They can’t do anything to us,” he says, cheerfully. “They can ask us to leave, but we can’t be prosecuted. Trespass is a mechanism for seeking redress for damage, and it would be absurd to suggest we are damaging anything.” (Trespass can be actionable through the courts, whether or not the claimant has suffered damage – but such cases are rare, and usually only brought to deter persistent trespassing, or where there are boundary disputes.)
Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because it's excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience - Adam Smith

barewirewalker

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3395
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #3 on: 12:04:52, 10/08/20 »
Mrs BWW and I have ventured across the Bow Bridge, had I managed to encourage more detailed thought into how access works for the benefit of our community, some years ago, this location would be well known. It is, I believe, 'A key Geographical position'.
We did not run into a phantom keeper, though I was aware of the game shooting dominance of the area. I would not be surprised if it is part of the Earl of Plymouth's estates. Though Downton Castle does not play a part in the land occupation as it is separately owned by an absentee owner, ? Greek multi millionaire according to a local I fell into a chat with. It is clear that there is a large swathe of significant countryside that is owned by a landowner ignorant/hostile of/to the way access could evolve for the better.

When Downton Castle was built at the tail end of the leisure classes being solely members of an aristocratic elite, it is clear by the maps inclusion of 'Downton Walks' that the surrounding geography had been fashion for leisure use. The estate management now uses the excuse of conservation to maintain privacy, yet to access public money the estate has bought in Nature Conservancy to maintain Downton Gorge, where is probable that the faint grey dotted line is a pathway crafted by landscape architects for the very purpose of leisure. (Public access was in the gift of a very anally retentive 'warden' somewhere in the region of the Stiperstones on a very limited basis.)


But the real reason walkers should look at Bow Bridge as a significant location is its strategic position in regards to long distance routes. It is unfortunate that such an important piece of walking infrastructure is on the borders of two counties, where both could contribute to the overall quality of way that would link the Clee Hills to the Monks's Trod across the Green Desert of Powys.

Why the Maxim, Leisure walking should be directed away from Highway Traffic, is not enshrined as a civil liberty, which the landowners as occupiers of our countryside should be made to respect, rather than trying to get trespass made a criminal offense beats me.

If you add the proximity of Downton Gorge to the course of a major C2C route, which is close enough in latitude to a green crossing of the River Severn at the Severn Valley Country Park at Highley to have value. You start to build a picture that we really need to be able to trespass to show how the access network can benefit the countries social well being and economy.


BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

GinAndPlatonic

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1000
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #4 on: 14:03:11, 10/08/20 »
Bww,
I do not recall seeing a bridge surface before , totally covered in grass as Bow bridge is . It was neatly mown too .

The whole estate although very lovely , did give me an impression in places that it is someones garden , albeit absolutely huge . There has been hard core laid down on many vehicle tracks , and near to Castle bridge the broad verges have been covered with hard core and "No parking" signs posted .
If the aim is for conservation and caring for the environment it seems in places that the opposite is happening and in areas , it is looking very unnatural . :-\
I walked through a small gate with " No entry " pasted on it to get access to the southern river bank just after walking past the Castle . Then on to a tunnel that had been hewn out of the side of the rock making up the gorge . That also has signs up saying "Danger , keep out" I held my hands above my head in (I`m sure it would have been in vain) hoping to protect my head if any rock did fall . I persevered another half mile but thought to myself , that if I made it to Bow bridge & could not exit the river bank then I would have to walk it back again . This area is looking au natural and the river bank pathway is falling away in places & breaking up.



Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because it's excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience - Adam Smith

barewirewalker

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3395
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #5 on: 15:45:17, 10/08/20 »
I think you have done that which I have dream't of doing ever since walking there and entered the gorge. When we were there we were hopeful of joining a group to legitimately be on a party that would walk from Castle Bridge down to Bow Bridge via the gorge walk, we were staying at Leintwardine at the time, crossed the Bow Bridge and took the track northwards to the Castle Bridge, then return cross country to Leintwardine via Downton Common. Since then I learnt stuff about the warden that made realise that trying to get a place on one of these outing was unlikely and by the sounds of it the Nature conservany people have allowed the Downton walk to fall into disrepair. It sounds as if the shooting element is investing heavily in the infrastructure.

 I understand that they ran shoots every weekday, which requires a heavy investment in reared birds and to get the 'city gunnies' from stand to stand in a condition to hit enough birds at £40 a pop would explain the hardcored roads.

It is the ridge down to the Teme from Huntley Hill that adds to the features that make Bow Bridge such an attractive crossing of the Teme. It is only 2/3 mile from 2 RoWs and open access. Making the bridge a permissive way is so obvious to join Bucknell Station to the Ludlow transport hub should be so obvious to the occupiers of land, only the sort of trespass that Hayes advocates is going to bring this sort of improvement to the access network to notice.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

GinAndPlatonic

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1000
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #6 on: 16:18:33, 10/08/20 »
Yes , I think before any organised group or paying person were to walk along that bank now , it would need some serious repair work done on it .The edges are falling away and the steep drop could take someone away into the river . I kept a keen eye on it all the time while walking .

There are indeed many pheasant on Downton walks . So they will be for the shooting , I guess .  I came across this on the web .


https://www.gunsonpegs.com/shoots/shropshire/the-downton-shoot

Quote : The Welsh Borders offer some of the most spectacular shooting in Britain and a day’s shooting at Downton is a day to remember. The shooting offers challenges for even the most experienced gun, its steep valleys and high hills attract shooting parties from across the globe. But it is the Downton Gorge drives, where the guns, standing on the banks of the rushing River Teme, shoot the high, testing birds driven from the cliffs above that make it so exceptional.
Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because it's excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience - Adam Smith

barewirewalker

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3395
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #7 on: 09:50:03, 11/08/20 »
Interesting quote G&P, but before going further I must congratulate you on a trespass worthy of comparison with the OP's Guardian Link O0

I very much doubt that the actually place guns on that part of the gorge you walked down, where the original leisure walk was hew'n out of the side of the gorge. Bird recovery and getting beaters into the woods on the cliff sides would be impossible, yet the approaches to the gorge are classic shooting terrain.


The very fact that these large houses were built to house the chosen part of 17th and 18th century society, who were considered to be essential to the running of the country, so that they could leave the deadly risk of disease of the cities during the the summer months puts them in key locations.

Today's owners are not required to take in consideration how their current occupation affects the rest of society. Apart from the Gorge the geographical position of Bow bridge could open up a considerable corridor of countryside, well beyond the boundaries of the land owned by it's current owner. Is this individual affecting the development of nationally important pastime that was out earning shooting and all other field sports by a factor of 10 at least ten years ago?
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

barewirewalker

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3395
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #8 on: 10:32:24, 11/08/20 »
Some further interesting reading here;
Quote
The Gorge itself is a dramatic natural feature, with the River Teme splashing along the bottom of a deep gorge the sides of which include long stretches formed by sheer rock faces. Some 400m south of the Castle, and visible from it, stands Castle Bridge (listed grade II). Of stone and with three eliptical arches, the bridge was built c 1780. At the north end of the bridge, on the west side of the road, is a stone cottage (semi-derelict 1997) and about 100m west of the cottage is a mill building. Some 150m north-west of the bridge is a small cave, 700m south-west of which, and perched on a ledge high above the river, is the ruinous Cold Bath or Roman Bath. Probably of the 1780s, the rude stone bathhouse had three rooms: an outer atrium; a high, inner plunge room utilising a natural spring; and a heated inner room. The approach to the Bath led through a secluded glade, and among the C20 softwoods there are several much older yews. Some 800m south-west of the Cold Bath, east of the hamlet of Downton on the Rock, is Bow Bridge, present by 1780. Of a single stone arch, the bridge had a new saddle and superstructure in the 1980s. A further 400m south-west is Downton Bridge, constructed in the later C19 to carry the Elan Valley waterpipe across the Gorge en route to Birmingham.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

GinAndPlatonic

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1000
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #9 on: 11:03:35, 11/08/20 »
Some further interesting reading here;

Yes indeed & the fact that Downton bridge was constructed so we in Birmingham could drink lovely soft Welsh water from the Elan Valley .! O0

There is another place west of Ludlow in a forest , I came across years ago, which I cannot name right now but there are access covers and such to that same pipe feeding water from the Elan valley .
 
Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because it's excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience - Adam Smith

barewirewalker

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3395
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #10 on: 07:51:39, 12/08/20 »
This superb engineering feat surfaces in a number of places, I seem to remember being puzzled by its appearance above ground, when walking a linear route towards Lambister from Carmel via Abbey Cwmhir. It was the Downton Bridge that first bought the Bow Bridge to my attention and this made me realise that an important addition to the argument for recognising Lostways is the importance to understand the significance of infrastructure and it's location.

The re-discovery of lost infrastructure and demonstrating how it should/could play a part in the creative development of our access network is the objective direction of trespass.

The weakness in the motives described by Hayes are familiar Guardian speak, warning about the general dangers of criminalizing trespass. Trouble is they have not grown the logic, labouring the the subjective, I have long come to believe that trespass has an objective purpose and should be pursued by walkers to demonstrate how expansion of the access network is beneficial to both occupier and visitor to the countryside.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

barewirewalker

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3395
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #11 on: 11:12:38, 13/08/20 »
I reiterate my thanks to the OP, bringing this article to my attention, even if it ranks lower than many off-walking topics that seem to fill our on-line pages. The subject of the 'Corruption of the Definitive Map' has fascinated me, ever since the most talented Rights of Way Officer I have ever met pointed me in the direction of it's mucky history.
Unfortunately some 20 years later he is head of Department and unlikely to break cover from Political Expedience, I don't suppose this topic will endure but there is an interesting sideline to the Hayes article and if there are avid Guardian readers here they might complete a link of communication even if the internet does not do it automatically.

Hayes seems to focus a large part of his trespass on the National Trust, who are a very large landowner. As an ex farmer I am perhaps aware that there is NT land hidden because the holdings that were part of the Estates left to the trust in early days came with their attached tenanted farms. Here the Trust's own land agents are likely to be adherents of the CLA's line of thinking (probably Quasi-landowners, the product of the Royal college of Agriculture, Cirencester) and more adept a pulling on green wellies that handling a muck fork.

Many acres of agricultural land picked up by the Trust at under £50/acre. Perhaps some have been sold back into the 'wannabee landowner market', but were those footpaths that should have been on the Definitive Map re-instated by a populist organization that has campaigned for a number of issues outside of it's remit.

 Is this because the Walking Community have not been well enough led to identify the possible routes these forbidden acres have kept hidden?
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

pleb

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3508
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #12 on: 21:14:15, 13/08/20 »
That article is wrong. The Queen owns the UK. Hence fee simple and compulsory purchase.

GinAndPlatonic

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1000
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #13 on: 21:20:01, 13/08/20 »
That article is wrong. The Queen owns the UK. Hence fee simple and compulsory purchase.
If the queen owns the UK , then who owns the Moon ?
What entity gives the Queen ownership of the UK . I might agree that the Crown has a lot of control of the land we live on though .  :)
Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because it's excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience - Adam Smith

barewirewalker

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3395
Re: One for Barewirewalker!
« Reply #14 on: 23:53:51, 13/08/20 »
An qualified architect told me some years ago that there is no such thing as a landowner, he would not explain this statement as it was the part of a pub argument and I have presumed that the title of land is granted by a grant of freehold. Not being a lawyer the correct terms would perhaps be inaccurate, however the term landowner is one the current occupiers of  our countryside chose for themselves in 1911, when they formed their trade group, the CLA. In recent years they may have tried to correct this when they renamed their monthly publication 'The land and Business'.

Is Freehold essentially a title granted by the state, of which the Queen is head? Scotland has Reformed their terms of land occupation, this allows for sensible passage across private land and in doing so their walkers can describe and publish routes that are not hidebound by Right of Way. If the terrain make a way probable, new objectives are revealed, so the way can be described to others and a route is formed and may become popular on merit.
In England and Wales a publisher could be sued for promoting a route over private land. Yet the route might have so much potential that it could be a money spinner for the occupiers of property along it's way.

All Hayes is doing is describing the first steps in this process  ::)
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.