North Yorkshire and South Durham Area
© Crook & Weardale Ramblers 2015
Crook and Weardale Ramblers

Witton-le-Wear

On the 4th November 2015 Jeff and I inspected paths at Witton following receipt of an e-mail from a member of the public. We found the path at the side of the church on the main road was, after only a short distance, completely blocked by vegetation and overhanging trees. Also the footpath sign is on the wrong side of the main road. We have reported these problems to Durham County Council. We also looked at the path beside Whitegate House where difficulties had been encountered. We found the gate difficult to open from the road but not impossible. We were then met by an employee, who advised that greyhounds belonging to the owners, were usually running free in a small paddock, through which the path crosses, but they were friendly. After following the path through a field, we found a ditch had been dug in front of a stile. We have advised Durham County Council that two planks are required across the ditch for easier access to the stile.

Footpath No. 37

Received an e-mail from Grahame Rose on 17 November 2015 regarding footpath No. 37.  He had found the path totally blocked and inaccessible at the bottom of the back lane at Salisbury Place, Bishop Auckland, when carrying out a recce. He had to divert the walk through the nearby cemetery. Grahame’s email, together with photograph, has been passed to the Footpath Team at Durham County Council for their attention. Jeff has stated that this footpath is not covered by our area. Received an e-mail on the 11th December 2015 from Steven Galloway, Licences Team Leader via John McAdam, following Storm “Desmond”, advising of the following closures: 1 Frosterley: Emergency Footbridge closure, diversion in place. 2 Stanhope: Temporary closure of Kevins Footbridge. 3 St John’s Chapel: Temporary closure of Footpath No 25 due to erosion, alternative route signed. Received an email from a member of the public dated 4 January 2016 reporting the collapse of the riverside footpath between Frosterley and Wolsingham. One part near Holebeck Farm had partially collapsed previously and been diverted along a farm track. This had caused problems for the owners and permission has not been granted this time to use the farm track. There is now no path at all along the riverbank and has been fenced off in two places. The exact location of this footpath is near Kingfisher residential caravan site, accessed from the road out of Wolsingham travelling towards Frosterley. This problem is being investigated by Jeff and myself and then will be reported to Durham County Council. Jeff and I inspected the path near Kingfisher caravan site and found it had been closed by Durham County Council due to the dangerous state of the riverside path. There were no alternative footpath signs. Elena Cross Jeff Foster Crook & Weardale Footpath Officers 11 January 2016

Kitty’s Wood

We have had notice that the modification order for the seven footpaths in and around Kitty’s Wood has been confirmed and they are now on the Durham County official Public Rights of Way map. Crook and Weardale Ramblers would like to thank all the people who have supported us in this application. John McAdam, Joint footpaths officer for Crook and Weardale Ramblers.

Doctor’s Gate to Hamsterley Forest

Our major problem at the moment is the condition of the Doctor’s Gate to Hamsterley Forest, path GR070329 to GR071315. We have reports of deep ruts 18” deep and the path totally churned up by 4WD vehicles.  The destuction is 30 yards wide in places. The locals have involved everyone from the M.P. to English Nature, Friends of the North Pennines, and the Forestry Commision to try and get something done. After several email exchanges with ROW Durham we have been informed that the route is an unclassified road number 32.3 rather than a public right of way and the matter has been passed to the Highways Department. We will be kept up to date with any developments.

Proposed Footpath Diversion

On April 7th 2015 we received a proposal to divert path 3 and unregistered paths around Dan’s Castle, Tow Law and straighten the realignment of a section of path 3 to divert it on to a route already used by the public. This crosses Hedleyhope Fell nature reserve. After a site visit we have no objections to these proposals.

Railway Street, Howden-le-Wear

We received an email from two people in Crook (not members) who had been walking on the unmetalled southern extension of Railway Street in Howden-le-Wear where it doglegs past a small farm and proceeds towards the bend in the Weardale railway.  They were molested by dogs near this farm on what they had taken to be a pubic byway or similar.  When the man was asked to call off his dogs they were told this was a private road and only for access to the row of houses further down. Our joint footpaths officer went out to check this and talked to the locals and according to a house owner at Victoria it is not a public right of way. Others were not sure. A gate is going to be put in place and it will be locked at night both ends. We contacted ROW Durham and were informed that they had another 10 complaints sent directly to them. At our annual liaison meeting in February with the ROW team we raised this matter and were told to back off as it is apparantly a legal minefield. A local resident is at present collecting evidence from users of the path with a view to applying for a Footpath Modification Order to get it on the footpath network once and for all.

Footpath problems, diversions and planning applications