Powys Farmer Prosecuted using Video evidence
Two 4x4s approached a farmyard, driving along an unclassified road shown on the List of Streets as continuing through the farmyard. The second vehicle carried a Dash Cam.
As the first vehicle entered the farmyard, a man, believed to be the occupant, ran across to it and threatened to smash the windscreen of the vehicle with a large piece of timber several feet long.
He was fortunately restrained by his female partner who was nearby at the time unloading a car.
The incident was recorded on the dashcam of the second vehicle and eventually reported to the Police.
With the video evidence and two statements, the Police proceeded to prosecute and the man was given a suspended sentence and fined.
Building relationships with Leicestershire Police
Leicestershire has recently come onto our radar here at The Green Lane Association. At first the behaviour of anti-social and illegal RoW users was causing relationships between all users groups, the local authority, and the police to become strained.
It was at this point that we got more involved in the county and are happy to report that an action group consisting of the local authority, police, safety partnership, BHS, and The Green Lane Association has made huge progress with forging a far more proactive relationship between all parties and tackling irresponsible users visiting the area together.
Education is key, as is finding solutions that are sustainable and do not reduce public access to the countryside. Thankfully we at The Green Lane Association have many years’ experience of involvement in such initiatives and are able to evidence what has worked and what has not in many complex cases across the UK.
Based on that information we have been asked to create a local campaign, attend/hold education days for the public and police in the area, and will be helping to lead various agreed solutions going forward. These initiatives include:
- Signage and public information
- The use of trail cams
- Regular police patrols
- Maintenance projects
- Public awareness days
- A social media campaign
Leicestershire Police have assured us that they will act upon photo and video evidence submitted to them, and the council have agreed to ongoing maintenance and support of new signage and trail cam initiatives.
Essex police utilise digital images for Section 59s
Covert cameras are in use in Essex. These were erected at the request of the local police who will use the photography (date/time stamped) as evidence when building a case for prosecution, or issuing section 59's. This could be with regards to driving on private land, using routes which have legal closure orders on them or driving routes without vehicle rights.
We also find the cameras to be very useful to monitor routes where locals have complained about issues, what we often find is they are completely unjustified.
A very worthwhile tool for the job we do, whilst providing assistance to the police and local communities.
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!
Happy Valley repairs, September 2018
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.
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.
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
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."
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Clearing a drainage gully and replacing the damaged culvert with larger diameter twinwall pipe.
- Fill in the eroded surface where significant water is being retained through surface erosion, clear drainage channels as required.
- Rebuild retaining drystone wall at GR 409 890.
- At GR 413 883 build drystone culvert entrance/exit for existing culvert
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.
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
Wolvens Lane, Surrey
The Forestry Commission have finally spent The Green Lane Association donated funds and their’s to execute the repair works on Wolven’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
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.