Get off my footpath: farmer hits out at Lake District National Park ruling to turn footpath into bridleway

The Westmorland Gazette: The footpath in Lindale The footpath in Lindale

A FARMER has hit out at plans to turn a footpath into a bridleway saying decisions about the landscape should not be made ‘in an office in Kendal’.

David Lawrence, who owns the land in Lindale, said a right of way change approved last week could cause him both legal and financial problems.

“It seems very unfair that I’m being put into this situation when I bought the land with a footpath, not a bridleway,” he said.

“There are several reasons why it is a bad idea but I don’t feel like they are being listened to at all.”

He told the Gazette that the path ends near a road at a ‘bad bend’, which he says will put horses and their riders into the path of oncoming vehicles.

Mr Lawrence also believes he will also be liable if one of his animals now gets out through the open gate and causes an accident on the road.

The 57-year-old and his family have farmed dairy cows on adjoining Holme Farm, Meathop Road, for 54 years.

When his three sons joined the family business it made sense to expand by buying the field, which included the public footpath, said Mr Lawrence.

The Lake District National Park Authority made the decision to turn the footpath into a public bridleway.

“Despite my passionate objection to the national park authority I can see we are going to be overruled,” he continued.

“Horse riders contribute very little to the ecology of the area but I feel they have got the backing of the national park.

“The picturesque surroundings of the area are created on the family farms on the hills and in the valleys, not in an office in Kendal.”

The application included claims made by the Cumbria Bridleways Society that either the ‘footpath’ status was wrongly recorded in the 1950s or the track had come into use as a bridleway since.

The authority’s Rights of Way Committee came to the same conclusions.

“The Rights of Way Committee met last week and members spent some time discuss- ing all aspects of the application, and all the evidence in some detail,” said an LDNPA spokesman.

The order will be made within weeks, ahead of a six week period for objections and representations to be made.

If the authority receives any objections that cannot be resolved then the matter will be submitted to the Secretary of State for determination.

Comments (10)

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7:45pm Wed 22 Jan 14

snuggle-bunny says...

My friends and I can't wait to cycle along it- harassment free
My friends and I can't wait to cycle along it- harassment free snuggle-bunny
  • Score: 17

8:54am Thu 23 Jan 14

I know nothing says...

I saw the clip on Countryfile about this and thought "why".

The bloke representing the horse riders came across as being very ignorant and selfish too.
I saw the clip on Countryfile about this and thought "why". The bloke representing the horse riders came across as being very ignorant and selfish too. I know nothing
  • Score: 12

8:54am Thu 23 Jan 14

peter.miller83@virgin.net says...

It seems to me that the legislation to be used in this case is under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is for a Modification Order. In which case to say that the Council wish to turn the footpath into a bridleway is wrong. This legislation is to determine a claim that a right of way is wrongly shown on the Definitive Map - in other words, in this case that the route is already, through historical evidence or a period of continuous use, by assumed dedication, a bridleway. If the order is made and objections are received, a public inquiry will be held and the inspector will only consider evidence of fact - to be blunt, it doesn't matter how desirable the route may be to horse riders or cyclists or how detrimental it may be to landowner - the only criterion is - is it already the status claimed? It is not a creation order.
It seems to me that the legislation to be used in this case is under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is for a Modification Order. In which case to say that the Council wish to turn the footpath into a bridleway is wrong. This legislation is to determine a claim that a right of way is wrongly shown on the Definitive Map - in other words, in this case that the route is already, through historical evidence or a period of continuous use, by assumed dedication, a bridleway. If the order is made and objections are received, a public inquiry will be held and the inspector will only consider evidence of fact - to be blunt, it doesn't matter how desirable the route may be to horse riders or cyclists or how detrimental it may be to landowner - the only criterion is - is it already the status claimed? It is not a creation order. peter.miller83@virgin.net
  • Score: 10

10:17am Thu 23 Jan 14

jazzactivist says...

Excuse me? I used to live in Lindale, and have walked my dog along that track and through the two small gates onto the National Trust path many times. The farm gate at the near end next to the road is always open. In fact, it is grown-over open, so has clearly been that way for years. The field on the right is unfenced, as can be seen, and the field on the left has a farm gate that is closed when animals are in the field. It is left open when the farmer is working though. At the far end of the track in the photo there is first one walkers' gate and then another one, and a path goes over a small bridge. I assume the plan is to remove those gates so that cyclists and horse riders can get through. The main problem is after that, where there is no signage of where to walk next - it is possible to turn right and walk along the embankment on top of the gas pipe, but that route eventually leads to a dead end near Meathop Road, or carry on straight ahead and veer to the left that route ends in a dead end with a farm gate and barn. There is supposed to be a route through to Meathop Road, but it isn't sign posted and the farmer does his best to create barriers and confusion, meaning that people find alternative routes randomly through his fields and over fences. I would have thought that a clearly marked and open bridleway would be the best option for him. It doesn't hurt when you have lots of land to be helpful to others who also have the right of way through it, and it also helps with managing the rest of your land.
Excuse me? I used to live in Lindale, and have walked my dog along that track and through the two small gates onto the National Trust path many times. The farm gate at the near end next to the road is always open. In fact, it is grown-over open, so has clearly been that way for years. The field on the right is unfenced, as can be seen, and the field on the left has a farm gate that is closed when animals are in the field. It is left open when the farmer is working though. At the far end of the track in the photo there is first one walkers' gate and then another one, and a path goes over a small bridge. I assume the plan is to remove those gates so that cyclists and horse riders can get through. The main problem is after that, where there is no signage of where to walk next - it is possible to turn right and walk along the embankment on top of the gas pipe, but that route eventually leads to a dead end near Meathop Road, or carry on straight ahead and veer to the left that route ends in a dead end with a farm gate and barn. There is supposed to be a route through to Meathop Road, but it isn't sign posted and the farmer does his best to create barriers and confusion, meaning that people find alternative routes randomly through his fields and over fences. I would have thought that a clearly marked and open bridleway would be the best option for him. It doesn't hurt when you have lots of land to be helpful to others who also have the right of way through it, and it also helps with managing the rest of your land. jazzactivist
  • Score: -36

2:48pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Kendal Jock says...

Horses make a mess and their riders cannot control them very well at times.
Especially if they are young girls, which is often the case.
Horses make a mess and their riders cannot control them very well at times. Especially if they are young girls, which is often the case. Kendal Jock
  • Score: 0

9:22am Sat 25 Jan 14

hogheaven says...

Kendal Jock wrote:
Horses make a mess and their riders cannot control them very well at times.
Especially if they are young girls, which is often the case.
Better off riding on a bridleway then?safer than riding on a tarmac road It seems to be a question of what kind of bridleway it is .I used to ride my trail bike in the Yorkshire Dales (sensibly) on marked bridleways with vehicular access.But it was amazing how much hostility was shown usually from farmers and ramblers, even though I was within my rights. Seems like I have to agree with Jazzactivist ,there is room for everyone to enjoy our countryside not just the fortunate few.
[quote][p][bold]Kendal Jock[/bold] wrote: Horses make a mess and their riders cannot control them very well at times. Especially if they are young girls, which is often the case.[/p][/quote]Better off riding on a bridleway then?safer than riding on a tarmac road It seems to be a question of what kind of bridleway it is .I used to ride my trail bike in the Yorkshire Dales (sensibly) on marked bridleways with vehicular access.But it was amazing how much hostility was shown usually from farmers and ramblers, even though I was within my rights. Seems like I have to agree with Jazzactivist ,there is room for everyone to enjoy our countryside not just the fortunate few. hogheaven
  • Score: -6

4:59pm Sat 25 Jan 14

jazzactivist says...

Not sure why my comment has so many thumbs down votes. I seem to be the only person here who has actually used that track many times and can see the possibilities for turning it into a bridleway. If the farmer is willing to make the route clear and easy that would make life easier for him too as the boundaries would be clear. I notice in the paper version of the WG that the photo shows the farm gate closed. That's the first time I've ever seen it like that in many years!
Not sure why my comment has so many thumbs down votes. I seem to be the only person here who has actually used that track many times and can see the possibilities for turning it into a bridleway. If the farmer is willing to make the route clear and easy that would make life easier for him too as the boundaries would be clear. I notice in the paper version of the WG that the photo shows the farm gate closed. That's the first time I've ever seen it like that in many years! jazzactivist
  • Score: -8

5:42pm Sat 25 Jan 14

I know nothing says...

jazzactivist wrote:
Not sure why my comment has so many thumbs down votes. I seem to be the only person here who has actually used that track many times and can see the possibilities for turning it into a bridleway. If the farmer is willing to make the route clear and easy that would make life easier for him too as the boundaries would be clear. I notice in the paper version of the WG that the photo shows the farm gate closed. That's the first time I've ever seen it like that in many years!
If you had bought the land when it only had a footpath going through it would you be happy if somebody decided to give it bridleway status?
[quote][p][bold]jazzactivist[/bold] wrote: Not sure why my comment has so many thumbs down votes. I seem to be the only person here who has actually used that track many times and can see the possibilities for turning it into a bridleway. If the farmer is willing to make the route clear and easy that would make life easier for him too as the boundaries would be clear. I notice in the paper version of the WG that the photo shows the farm gate closed. That's the first time I've ever seen it like that in many years![/p][/quote]If you had bought the land when it only had a footpath going through it would you be happy if somebody decided to give it bridleway status? I know nothing
  • Score: 7

2:04am Tue 28 Jan 14

snuggle-bunny says...

It's like buying a house next to a road and complaining about the traffic. Why not move elsewhere
It's like buying a house next to a road and complaining about the traffic. Why not move elsewhere snuggle-bunny
  • Score: -2

6:53am Tue 28 Jan 14

hogheaven says...

snuggle-bunny wrote:
It's like buying a house next to a road and complaining about the traffic. Why not move elsewhere
Its Not a comparison at all Snuggle-bunny, it looks to be a question of whether the existing track is a footpath or bridleway through historic use.You can see from the pics that their are definite wheel tracks through vehicle use
.Wonder why so many people give you the thumbs down Jazz?
In Scotland there are no trespass laws so in effect you can walk anywhere ,as long as do you do not cause any damage,
The land will be there forever the farmer is only its guardian in his lifetime, why cause such a big fuss?
[quote][p][bold]snuggle-bunny[/bold] wrote: It's like buying a house next to a road and complaining about the traffic. Why not move elsewhere[/p][/quote]Its Not a comparison at all Snuggle-bunny, it looks to be a question of whether the existing track is a footpath or bridleway through historic use.You can see from the pics that their are definite wheel tracks through vehicle use .Wonder why so many people give you the thumbs down Jazz? In Scotland there are no trespass laws so in effect you can walk anywhere ,as long as do you do not cause any damage, The land will be there forever the farmer is only its guardian in his lifetime, why cause such a big fuss? hogheaven
  • Score: -6

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