None of your so-called ‘Spandex’. Just tweed breeches and flat ‘ats. And a cloud of dust suggesting that, down Barnet way, the Great North Road had not yet been blacktopped in 1905.
Whiteleyshield Road Saved for the Nation! OK, it is only an upland rough road, not quite a mile and a half in length, but it has taken:
- Ten years.
- Two definitive map modification order applications.
- Two definitive map modification orders.
- Two Secretary of State’s Inspectors.
- One public hearing.
- Three decision letters.
- And a LOT of work by the voluntary sector to get this restricted byway properly recorded and safeguarded.
No partridge, nor pear tree, but I would not be surprised if they were in there somewhere too.
You can find the road by looking on online mapping for Coalcleugh, five miles east of Alston in Cumbria. A bridleway runs west from Coalclough, and a little way along is Sunnyside. From here a black-dash line runs northwards to the motor road a bit south of Carrshield. No track is shown south from Sunnyside, but the order route runs south to the motor road just west of the ‘hairpin’ bend.
The sketch is by Dave Young and is of Norman Canham … must be over 20 years ago now. How time flies. If you want to read the recent decision letter (in two parts) do a Google search for the FPS references and download the digital versions.
FPS/P2935/7/37M (final decision) FPS/P2935/7/37 (interim decision)
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.
‘Chare’ seems to be a road name unique to the northeast of England, occurring on old (some known medieval) narrow and often steep roads and alleys. This one at Heddon-On-The-Wall, west of Newcastle on the old Hexham Road, is now a bridleway forming part of the long-distance path along the Roman Wall.
Have you ever wondered whether a highway authority can lawfully blacktop a bridleway and make it into a cyclists’ super-highway?
The answer may lie in this paper: