Excuse Monkeys

In a judgment of 25 July 2012, HH Judge Roger Kaye QC dealt with a challenge to the non-registration of a town or village green on land at Belle Vue Park, Consett County Durham [2012] EWHC 1934 (Admin). In a decision letter of 4 September 2012, Inspector Michael Moffoot confirmed an order made under s.257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to extinguish an unspecified number of ‘unrecorded public rights of way’ also at Belle Vue Park.
Mr Moffoot’s decision triggered a complaint to PINS’ ‘Quality Assurance’ department, listing seven heads of concern, on 22 October 2012.
The complainant heard nothing more, and wrote again on 11 April 2013 (25 weeks later, aka half a year) asking if he was going to get a reply. On 17 April 2013 Ian Kane, Executive Officer (Quality Assurance) responded by email.
“I apologise unreservedly for the unconscionably long time it is taking for you to receive a reply to your original letter about it … this is to assure you that I am now treating it as a matter of urgency … I am very sorry for the delay and I look forward to replying very soon.”
“Very soon” and “urgency” must each have a different meaning in Bristol. In November 2015, some two and a half years later, the complainant has heard nothing more. No letter or, as Marvin might say, no electronic sausage either. Time to outsource this role to Capita or Amey? They could hardly do a worse job, could they?


No, not the appalling film starring the dead dude from ‘Dirty Dancing‘. Elsewhere in this website there is a brochure for the long-gone motel on the Great North Road at Boroughbridge. The facilities there might have made that qualify as a ‘roadhouse’, but according to a concise history on the Herts Memories website –


– The Clock Hotel was the first roadhouse proper, opening in 1929. It all looks appallingly middle class, and not somewhere that Grav would have frequented back in the day – the taproom in the Whippet and Thumbscrew is more his scene: no jukebox, no wimmin, no smiling.

The Clock



A big thank you to Dave Loney for sending me a Practical Motorist ‘Principal ROAD ROUTES of Great Britain‘ in immaculate condition. This tiny (4″ x just over 3″) booklet of major route itineraries was probably a give-away with Practical Motorist magazine, and has a ‘puff’ for the rag at threepence a copy. A check on Ebay and a squint at the magazine covers on offer suggests that this was the price in the 1930s. It wouldn’t do these days as a sat-nav substitute – there is no route from the pilates studio to Waitrose. The  booklet is scanned as a ‘gallery’ in the Maps & Miscellanea section.

Practical Motorist

Hot Trod!

There is a lot of pseudo-romantic claptrap written about the era of the Border Reivers. If you are interested in the reality then read The Steel Bonnets and The Candlemas Road, both by George MacDonald Fraser – arguably the greatest exponent of written English in the later 20th Century, and a miserable olde grumbler in old age. How unlike Olde Graveller, who is never miserable and seldom grumbles, and has just found buried in a folder this pair of old journal extracts about the cross-border roads and passages from Northumberland into Scotland:

Northumberland Cross-border Routes.

This drawing below is by the late Dave Young and depicts Ken Canham on a modern wooden bridge up at Lewisburn, Kielder Forest, on the bridleway that is not quite coincident with the old road over Bloody Bush, and down to Newcastleton. That is Grav’s Cannondale ST1000 parked-up and ready. This was about 20 years ago, when Kielder Forest was still the back of beyond, and mountain bikers were real men, not the latte-drinking, Volvo-driving pansies you find at these ‘mountain-biking centres’ now despoiling our forestry.

Kielder #2


30 years and counting

There are a lot of chaps out there who cannot remember the time when mountain bikes were new. Gosh! It must be nice to have knees and internal organs that young. Olde Graveller was an early adopter of MTBs, first riding one in late 1984*, and buying his first 30 years ago, this year – the start of another pathway along which is strewn far too many thousands of pounds …

Anyway, here are two pages from Byway and Bridleway, the first ‘announcing’ the MTB in 1985, and the second from 1991, when the snowball really started rolling down the hill.

* The thing that first caught my interest was an advertisement in the weekly motorcycle paper Trials and Motocross News for the Cleland Aventura MTB, designed and manufactured by former trials rider Geoff Apps in the Chilterns. The MTB was invented in California? Mmmm … maybe it evolved in parallel locations including Buckinghamshire, England. The history of all this needs writing up whilst the protagonists are still with us.

B&B 1985.2.7

B&B 1991.6.23

Hold tight please.

A tram on the Great North Road, across the Town Moor in Newcastle upon Tyne, at the junction with Clayton Road. The advertisement for the Picture Post indicates that this is 1938 or later. Unlikely to be the war years as there is no blackout mask on the headlight. Note the setts making the road surface (not cobbles, as I was recently admonished …)

Newcastle Tram Clayton Road, Town Moor

Kiss me Hardy

To sunny Dorchester for a public inquiry in early November. A fascinating place, although the eateries can be rather expensive ‑ nineteen golden sovereigns for a so-so curry and a small beer. Cripes – you could eat out for a week on that in the Toon. Anyway, Grav picked a hotel online, and stayed in the Wessex Royale. Can only say that it is good by any standard and very good indeed for the price. Nice people, clean, hot water, large bed, excellent breakfast. You could easily do much worse.

Photographs are of a rather nice patinated road nameplate and a milestone, along the High Street.

Dorchester #2

Dorchester #3

No going back

I came across the judgment for Doherty v. Secretary of State for the Environment [2005] tucked away in a safe place (aka lost). It is clear and forceful on the point that the process of making the original definitive map cannot be unpicked 50+ years later with the intention of proving a ‘mistake’ was made. The relevant parts have been put into Notes & Materials on the Law of Bridleways and Byways, with a link from this website.