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!
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.”
The bikes seized by the police, some of which were identified in a YouTube video.
Hayley Dingle Phase 2
In 2009 Worcestershire Green Lane Association volunteers carried out improvements to drainage.
Materials and tools were supplied by Worcestershire County Council:
• Tracked 8 tonne 360° Excavator
• Wheeled dump truck
• Pavement roller
• Drainage tube
The surface of the lane was dug away to bury the drainage tube which exits into a pre-existing culvert. The resulting trench was backfilled with stone and then compacted with the vibrating roller to consolidate the repair.
The plant operator was a Green Lane Association member with the necessary qualifications to work on the public highway.
Great Dunmow Litter Pick July 2018
Massive thank you to those from The Green Lane Association who came and helped with the litter pick on the Byway at Great Dunmow today!
A huge amount of rubbish was removed, mainly from around the bridge and in the river.
A local resident also came to help, and a councillor from the Town Council dropped in to say hello and unlock a gate so we could deposit the bags in a suitable location for collection.
Dunmow lane maintenance and clearance
Carried out on 9 September 2018. Just like to thank all those that attended the byway maintenance at Dunmow today, Ed AJ Matthews, Andrew Metters, Douglas Fields, along with Rod, Peter and Kieth Dunmow Locals and members of the Friends of Flitch Way group. Special thanks goes out to Doug who provided the catering half way through the day, went down a treat.
Braintree/Bocking 93, Essex
Braintree/Bocking 93 came up for closure at our last byway meeting as Essex County Council (ECC) did not have the funding to repair it before the winter. However, after an offer to help with repairs from the Green Lane Association, the closure was knocked on the head. Ed (assistant rep) and myself met up with two of their highway engineers, and after walking the byway and discussing what was required, it was mutually agreed that they would allow the Green Lane Association to carry out the work. ECC would supply the materials needed to repair the surface, and the Green Lane Association had already agreed to pay for the plant required.
The date was set for the 21st September, and the call went out for volunteers. Contractors were booked. A temporary TRO was put in place for the time the work was planned. Basically we were ready for the day. Or so we thought. Two days before the day, the contractors self-loading dumper broke down and they were unable to supply a replacement, so Ed (being Ed), managed to find a contractor who could help us out at very short notice and we were ready again!
We were advised that the surface material to be supplied would be rolled stone, and it would be delivered and signed for by a highways guy on the Friday. We turned up on Saturday to find it was nothing of the sort! First off it wasn’t rolled stone. What we got was full of all sorts of rubbish, but hey-ho, we carried on anyway!
We had 10 volunteers, one digger and one self-loading dumper. Due to the material, and a track coming off the digger, we managed to get three quarters of the 1,575 metres of the byway repaired to a standard highways required.
We would like to say a massive thank you to the volunteers, RMR contractors, and to David of Treecology, who saved the day at the last minute, with his self-loading dumper.
It was a learning curve for both Ed and myself, as this was the first time we had taken a project on as involved as this, but stands us in good stead for the next one. The Highways Engineer, although not happy with the materials we were supplied with (and will be taking it up with the guy that signed for it), was more than happy in what we achieved. We plan to go back to finish the last quarter very soon.
Putting the effort in has proved to Highways we can do it and hopefully will lead to them asking us to assist in keeping byways open in the future.
It has well been worthwhile and would say to any other of our reps go for it – you won’t know what you can do till you try!
Rob Tongue, Essex Rep
This was the third approved project in Ceredigion, following in line with previous Highways agreements. Again, Green Lane Association Area Reps carried out surveys in advance to ensure legality and route status working in conjunction with the Highways department.
The byway is made up of loose shale towards the northern end and had taken a weathering over a period of time, becoming acutely angled causing concern, and a loss of grip for many users. Ceredigion CC provided a JCB and driver for the 1 day to work alongside a small team of Treadlightly volunteers to level out and grade some short lengths of unsurfaced road, and create various drainage gullies.
Countryside Watch, December 2018
Derbyshire Police Rural Crime Team have asked Green Lane Association members to join their 'Countryside Watch' initiative which was first discussed during a meeting with Sgt James Shirley, PDNPA and the Green Lane Association in October. This recognises that users of the countryside like recreational vehicle users can be a useful source of 'eyes and ears' to help prevent rural crime, and to report suspicious 'goings on’.
You will see from the police web page that recreational vehicle users are recognised as legitimate users of the countryside, and that the stated priorities for the Rural Crime Team don't include any mention of 'off-roading'.
Sgt Shirley said: “These groups visit the countryside in all weathers, day and night, and will greatly increase that natural surveillance that’s required to help us protect our rural communities and the wildlife we are privileged to have here.”
Anyone seeing any illegal activity during their green laning trips is asked to dial 101 and report it.
You can follow the Rural Crime Team on Facebook or Twitter.
The cost of going off-piste
Words and pictures - Lauren Eaton, Green Lane Association Media and Comms Executive Officer
Most of us within the Land Rover world know what green laning is: driving unsurfaced public roads. What most of us do not do is deviate from the legal track. But what happens when the minority do?
Off-piste driving recently caused a 10 month multi-agency concern in Shropshire. A scenic lane adjacent to privately owned property was being targeted by those who wished to make the rather pleasant experience of driving Wootton Lane more of a challenge. Drivers had been cutting through farmer’s land or through a water course that supplies drinking water to local residents, into woodland owned by the National Trust, leaving devastation in their wake.
Back in March 2019 an on-site meeting included representatives from Shropshire County Council, The National Trust, a local councillor, neighbouring land owners, the local ranger and Green Lane Association representatives and executive officers – Stuart Pickering, Richard Price and Lauren Eaton. The damage was obvious to see - several illegal entrances had been created to access privately owned land and the consequences required urgent solutions.
As is often the case when off –piste driving occurs the initial reaction from land owners and the National Trust was to close the lane. This is unfortunately why we have lost so many of our vehicular rights of way; the bad apples in our own community create costly problems and we are no longer welcome.
It was clear from our initial inspection that the lane itself was in a good state of repair - no essential maintenance issues were found or raised on the legal route itself, but as the lane winds between farmland and meets a watercourse the damage soon became apparent - deep rutted tracks were visible leading off into neighbouring woodland and could be followed over half a mile through National Trust land and onto farm property. The idyllic location bore many scars of off piste activity - litter was strewn around the watercourse and tyres had been discarded along its banks. The local farmer, James, reported to us that he had been contacted on several occasions to assist in the recovery of vehicles that had become stuck while driving illegally off the byway. The question was how to prevent this from continually happening? Not only that but without changing the scenic nature of the lane, or causing further environmental impact to the watercourse?
The solution put forward and (at this point unofficially) agreed upon by all parties present was to block access to the off piste area from the lane using a number of concrete ‘Lego’ blocks. All parties went away for further discussions this time including representatives from Severn Trent, who manage the watercourse that makes up part of the BOAT, and the Environment Agency.
Fast forward to December and Wootton Lane had continued to see its fair share of continued off-piste activity. Several more 4x4s stuck in the deep mud in the woodland, one left burnt out in the watercourse, more litter left strewn around, and even an incident in which a motorcyclist was run over leaving the lane closed to everyone while police investigations took place. But finally all parties had agreed upon a solution that satisfied everyone, budgets had been discussed and signed off, including funding from the Green Lane Association, the police had re-opened the lane, and work could finally begin.
It look over a week for Shropshire Rights of Way Officer Tim Simmons and local farmers to remove the burnt out Land Rover, cut back into the banks of the watercourse, lay concrete blocks, back-fill and make tidy the previously scarred land. Passing places were cut into the high-sided lane and the material removed was used as back-fill or to grade any minor surface erosion – the green lane version of pot hole filling.
Wootton Lane is now off-piste proof, but at what cost? In total eight different agencies, authorities and organisations had to be involved in this project, plus local farmers, materials had to be bought, labour and plant hire paid for, and for what? A few minutes of muddy fun that if drivers were caught could land them a section 59 driving offence, fines, and potentially their vehicles being seized and crushed? Not to mention another potential lane closure!
Without user groups like the Green Lane Association, no one would speak for our community as 4x4 drivers during incidents like these and budgets would not be available to remedy the problem, leaving closures the more likely, or even the only option. In the case of Wootton Lane there was a budget shortfall that the Green Lane Association paid, the rest was given in the form of voluntary time and effort by their reps and execs - without it another lane could have been lost to us all forever.
Doctors Gate Road, County Durham
We’ve been working with the gamekeeper from Bollihope Estate on the northern section tackling ‘off-piste’ vehicle use, as part of this we’ve way-marked the legal route, installed wildlife cameras and collected rubbish that has been left behind. We also asked motorised users for voluntary restraint during winter and after heavy rain, this is something that the Forestry Commission also wants to adopt on the Forest Section. March 2017 Raised £3,320 using JustGiving towards the cost of repairing the entire route of the right of way. October 2017 LARA Voluntary Restraint (VR) put in place over the winter months.
Windmill Hill, Avebury, lane clearance, Wiltshire
Wiltshire rights of Way asked us to cut back the overgrowth on two separate sections of Byway. Just under half a mile of green road was cleared by two separate teams. Attention was paid to clearing high, so equestrian users can use without ducking. The clearance will help the lane to dry out also.
Cam High Road repairs
The Green Lane Association paid £2,000 towards the repair of this road. A team of five rangers and five Dales Volunteers spent three days laying a fresh surface and clearing the drainage along 1.25km of the Cam High Road – or ‘Roman Road’ – above Hawes. They raked and tamped a total of 166 tonnes of limestone aggregate, brought by lorry from a nearby quarry.
“The contributions from the Green Lane Association and TRF are greatly appreciated,” said Matt Neale, Area Manager (North) for the ranger service. “The Cam High Road is a valuable link in the local public rights of way network, and one that can be enjoyed by walkers, horse-riders, mountain bikers, as well as recreational vehicle users in 4x4s or on motorcycles.
“Having both the Green Lane Association and TRF help us maintain these routes and encourage responsible use of the National Park is a positive step forward. We are increasingly relying on donations from users of the National Park to help us to maintain the trail network.”
The Cam High Road is part of the Roman Road that ran from Lancaster to Bainbridge. It is a ‘green lane’, a public right of way designated as a Byway Open to All Traffic.