Path closed above Nutclough Woods
Posted by Polly Blackley
I set out this afternoon for my favourite local walk, up through Nutclough Woods, following Ibbot Royd Beck all the way up to just behind Martin Mill and the house I think is called simply Ibbot Royd.
I was utterly outraged to find the stile that goes into the field, taking you up to the road, had been closed off with copious amounts of barbed wire!!
Last week some excavations had begun in the field and the path had been rerouted to further down the road than previously (used to come out by big gate). I felt concerned then about what might be afoot. The ugly building that looms up as you climb, a thing that looks like an old garage, has had work going on, extending windows for a few weeks now.
I suspect someone is turning it into a desirable home... But the question is Can They Just Close This Well-Used Footpath??? I do not know how to find out if it is classed as a Public Footpath, and it certainly isn't 'waymarked' but it is the only path I know of that connects up the top of the Beck with Old Town, and the route back down the fields that many of us enjoy walking regularly. My first thought, enraged, was to go home and return with wire-cutters, but I don't want to start a messy fight, if it turns out that this actually is a public right of way, and the landowner obliged to reopen it.
If not, I don't know what strategy to employ, but I know there will be others who are prepared to take appropriate action to get our path reopened. Please email me if you know/ want to do anything about this!!
From Adam B
May I suggest that the first thing you do is to find out whether or not the footpath is a public right of way.
If it is then you can take appropriate action (eg. inform landowner as he/she may have been unaware, or threaten legal action and take said legal action if needs be, or use appropriate community pressure).
If it is not a public right of way then I think your options would be limited at best. You would probably be relying on the goodwill of the landowner who would legally be perfectly entitled to refuse any access.
To find out I would suggest contacting the council, if you know your local councillor give them a shout. Even if they cannot help you they may well be the best people to point you in the right direction.
Polly, Perhaps you could get in touch with Calderdale MBC who will probably refer you to the Rangers who maintain the paths locally. The Rangers Headquarters is situated over the Library in Mytholmroyd. It could be a "permissive path" only and not a "right of way" but Calderdale should confirm this to you. Looking at the Ordnance Survey map the path you describe is not very clear.
Contact these people - Rights of Way Team
Yes the garage had planning approved to be converted into a dwelling quite some time ago. However the footpath you refer to doesnt seem to be marked on the OS map, so im not sure how you stand.
On a much more positive note, I can confirm that there is a marked footpath which I use occasionally that runs from the top of nutclough woods over to the row of stone terraced houses that run off Walker Lane (about another 100 metres up the road). Alternatively, there is a footpath that takes you up to old town mill.
Posted by Polly Blackley
Thanks to all for helpful suggestions. I am currently monitoring the situation as I have a theory the path may have only been temporarily closed whilst drains are laid, or whatever the major earthworks are that are going on there. This would be to protect dogs, small children etc from the dangers of deep muddy trenches. The reason I think this is that before the woods side of the path was closed with barbed wire at the stile, great care had been taken to divert the path to lower down the field, and wooden steps provided. The stones removed from the wall to open this new route have now been replaced but without mortar, and the steps are still there. I live in hope!!