News desk
News to 2013

Opinions, where expressed, are those of the Webmaster or of other identified individuals,
and not of the Scarborough group of the Ramblers' Association

Folkton bridleway victory



A lane leading from the A1070 Filey Road near Folkton has finally been confirmed as a public right of way.

Although the lane had been used by walkers and horse-riders for years, the landowner blocked it and claimed that it was private.

After much wrangling and a public inquiry, a planning inspector made an interim decision a year ago to establish a bridleway 3.5 metres (11ft 6ins)  wide, but he invited new objections.

Finally, he has confirmed the order.  (Links to the full order and map are at the bottom of this report.)

On February 19, a "Private land.   No public right of way" sign had disappeared from the access gate next to the road, but the gate was still electrically-operated, and walkers have to climb it.

As the track has been classified as a bridleway, it must be accessible to mounted riders, who must be able to open any gate.  A stile would not be permitted.

The extraordinarily tangled history of this issue can be found here and here.

True to form, the Planning Inspectorate caused puzzlement when people who tried to read the inspector's decision were initially linked instead to a six-page account of a bridleway dispute near Harrogate.

It should be born in mind that this was a modification to the definitive map, rather than a creation order.   This means that the track was always a right of way. Members and others who used the track during the period that  the landowner purported to close it were therefore entitled to do so.

So is this the end of the story?  The landowner could, in fact, still make a challenge in the High Court, on the basis that the procedure had not followed the law, but that does not alter the point made above. The status of the track at present is that it is, and always has been, a right of way.

Two recognised authorities whom I consulted emailed me:

1 Unlike say diversion orders an order under the Wildlife & Countryside Act creates nothing new. But it does confirm that a right of way exists (and, normally, has existed for at least 20 years or had been dedicated at some moment). So until and unless it is set aside (or just possibly when/if an appeal is launched) the right of way can be used by the public. - CB

2 The 2012 Order states that it will take effect "on the date it is confirmed", which is the date of the inspector's final decision - 12 Feb 2015. This is however subject to the right of an aggrieved party to make an application to the high court, and this has to be "within 42 days from the date of publication of the notice under paragraph 11" [of Sch 15 WCA 1981]. Notice in para 11 includes the newspaper advert, site notices and individual notices to affected persons. The best bet is to find the newspaper advert and count 42 days from the date of publication. Then, the order really will be final. - PB

Download order decision and map.

 - 19 February 15

Midweek strolls

Another series of shorter walks is being offered this year, with nine shorter walks - six on Thursdays and three on Wednesdays.

David and Pam Grimwood, and Les and Margaret Atkinson are organising the walks - details of each walk appear on the Events page. - 14 Feb15

The way ahead

A basic navigation course will be held at St Hilda's Church, Ravenscar, on Saturday April 25 from 10am-4pm.

Instruction from Les Atkinson will be followed by an outdoor practical supervised by other committee members.

Bring your own packed lunch, but tea and coffee will be provided,

All are welcome, but book in advance by emailing Les at

For more information, see the event info page. - 14 Feb 15

Bikers threat to footpath

A plan to allow off-road motorcylists freedom to resume wrecking a historic path is being promoted by North Yorkshire County Council.

Only two years ago, there were newspaper headlines after the North York Moors National Park issued a press release headlined Vandals Desecrate Green Lane, condemning off-roaders for ripping up Seggimire Lane, near Sleights. ("Seggimire" is a corruption of "sycamore".)

The surface had been turned into a quagmire and sections of the ancient stone trod had been wrecked.

Sarah Blakemore, the North York Moors National Park Authority’s Access Officer, said at the time: “The surface of the lane and the historic stone trods are now in a very fragile condition and more likely to suffer serious damage by the motorcyclists who regularly use it.”

And Doug Huzzard, Highway Asset Manager for North Yorkshire County Council, said: “Unfortunately we have no option but to close the lane as a result of this inconsiderate and illegal activity by a few thoughtless drivers, whose ‘enjoyment’ of this historic route amounts to little short of vandalism....

“Lanes such as this...are particularly vulnerable to damage from off-road vehicles as a result of the prolonged rainfall of the past few months.  It is highly irresponsible of drivers to use the lanes in these conditions.”

All traffic was banned temporarily from the lane for 18 months, while work was carried out to restore it.

Vegetation was cut back and the path surfaced in 2013. This work was completed by NYMNP, funded by public money from Yorkshire Forward. The parish council also contributed £700.

Then in June last year, the county council's Local Access Forum was told that the council was seeking a permanent ban on vehicles using the route, which includes 300 yards of public footpath net to Iburndale Beck/Little Beck.

In the event, however, the council officers want to allow the bikers back.

Ramblers know that while 4*4 vehicles can cause spectacular damage, off-road bikers are equally troublesome, as their narrower tyres dig deep ruts, which are worsened as other riders see these as a challenge and steer into them.  Many drive at excessive speed.

If there are no objections, the bikers are likely to get clearance to  resume ripping up the lane and endangering and inconveniencing walkers within six months.  Even if opposition is voiced, leading council members can give final approval, as there is no provision for appeals, further hearings or independent review of traffic management orders.

Although signs at each end of Seggimire Lane suggest that the track is currently open only to walkers, cyclists and horse-riders, the county council regards it as part of the "road network".  This would mean that any type of motorised vehicle can currently use the track, and the proposed regulation would, in fact, be a restriction.

The council's map of the footpath at the southern end of the lane (identical to the line shown on the Ordnance Survey 1:25000 map) does not correspond with the route on the ground, which crosses, then recrosses, Little Beck/Iburndale Beck. As the map is not accurate, it could be argued that the council has not complied with the Traffic Orders (Procedure) Regulation. (See note in italics below.)

However, at 1:10000 scale, the online map shows the "road network" identifier to be following the actual line on the ground, whereas the footpath continues to be depicted on the near side of the beck.

To form an appreciation of the reasoning behind the proposal, I emailed the council's Whitby office, asking where I could find supporting documents explaining the background to the proposal, the authority's assessment of the impact of the proposal on the fabric of the lane, maintenance consequences and the provision of additional maintenance to preserve the amenity for pedestrians.

To date, I have received only an automatic acknowledgement.

I re-walked the lane on February 20, and an online album of its condition, using my own photographs and ones taken by Bob Clutson about a week earlier can be viewed here.

The county council's formal notice, map and questionnaire, which objectors can complete and return, can be downloaded here. 

*Dealing with this issue and many others is always hindered by the reluctance of the county council to supply information, or even to acknowledge requests for information, and by the council's policy of ignoring the law to suit its convenience.  In particular, it flouts its obligation to make available a copy of the Definitive Map and the List of Streets for public inspection in each district.  - HLTW 28 January 2015.  Updated 20 February 2015. Updated 27 February 2015

Committee: Coming and going

Adam Brown (membership liaison officer) has resigned to pursue other interests, and Gary Malcolm has been co-opted onto the committee.

Ramblers' future: have your say

A working party has suggested ways to improve the way Ramblers’ groups and areas serve members, and are governed.

Members are being asked to complete a survey about the suggestions by December 31.

The ideas cover 17 A4 sheets, so I have attempted to summarise them below.

To read the full document, click here.

To make your views known by completing the survey, click here.

Under the proposals, groups would decide where their areas of interest lay. 

One group might want to concentrate on rights-of-way maintenance, or organising walks and social events, or monitoring the condition of rights-of-way.

Another group might combine several of these activities.

Members would be free to join more than one group, to satisfy all of their interests, or to remain unattached within the area.

To oversee the new arrangement, area organisation would also be changed.

Instead of the present area council with 14 different officers  (excluding the auditor, president and vice-presidents)  plus group delegates, there would be a leader (who would report to the national chief executive) and treasurer, and two coordinators, one to check that members can find appropriate groups, and one to support group officers and volunteers.

This team would appoint other volunteers as necessary, to co-ordinate groups’ walking programmes, rights-of-way work, and other matters.

The leader would check that the existing groups’ spread of activities enabled all of the Ramblers’ aims to be fulfilled in the area.  If, for instance, the condition of footpaths was not being monitored efficiently, the leader could work out a remedy with existing groups, or consider setting up a new group.

Every year, the groups would report to the leader, demonstrating how well they had fulfilled their purposes.

The area leader, in turn, would report to the national chief executive, detailing the area's success (or failure) in fulfilling national objectives.

Further teams  of regional volunteers would also check how well the areas were functioning and offer support, and would also report to the national chief executive.

The working party that has put forward the ideas will report to the Ramblers’ Board of Trustees, which will make proposals to the General Council next year.

 If, after reading the document, you feel my brief summary should be amended, please email me. - 19 December 2015


Building skills

Free courses for walk leaders and other volunteers are to offered next year in a series of touring workshops. 

The closest venues for us are Doncaster (May 15) and Darlington (September 19).

Full-day topics are Ramblers' Routes (the free route service developed by Central Office), developing area and group plans for volunteering, influencing change in the local area, group treasurer, and promoting the group or area; morning sessions are leading walks (group management skills), and basic rights of way law (changes to the path network); afternoon sessions are leading walks (navigation skills) and rights of way (specialist areas).

There are only ten places on each session, and bookings have already opened.

The full range of venues and courses can be viewed and booked through this link.

Our chairman, Phil Trafford, said:
"Last year, The Ramblers ran training days throughout the country on various aspects of the voluntary jobs that members undertake to keep the association running and enhance access for all to the countryside. The event in York was attended by several of our committee, who enjoyed the day and learnt more about their specific roles on the committee."

inquiries can be made to or by calling 020 7339 8595 between 0930 and 1730.
- December 2 2014.

Potash boss welcomed to AGM

The firm planning a £1 billion potash mine near Whitby has already spent £100m on the project, and expects to receive no income for at least four years, our annual meeting heard last night.

Mr Matt Parsons, the External Affairs Manager of York Potash, (pictured with Bob Clutson) said they aimed to become one of the world's top five potash firms, and that the mine could have a 100-year life-span.

Twenty members, and a representative of East Yorkshire and Derwent Area Council, attended the meeting at the Friends' Meeting House, Scarborough.

Mr Parsons showed slides demonstrating the limited impact on the appearance of the surroundings of the minehead - close to Red Gate, a mile south of Sneaton in the North York Moors National Park - and the tops of two winding shafts that will be located between the mine and Teesside. These shafts will be above a deep tunnel that transfers the ore on a conveyor belt.

Applications would be made for some rights of way to be temporarily diverted during and after construction, he said.

York Potash is currently awaiting decisions on its applications for planning permission.

*Since the meeting, Mr Parsons has written to our chairman, Phil Trafford, providing links to documents that give detailed insight into the proposals.

Our chairman, Phil Trafford, and footpaths secretary, Les Atkinson, read reports.  Phil's report, and mine as webmaster are attached, as is the financial report by our treasurer, Dave Grimwood, who said we had received £240 in donations, including £140 in commission from Ramblers' Worldwide Holidays. 

The rambles organiser, Tricia Mumford, said that in the past year, there had been 50 Sunday walks, led by 11 different leaders, with an average distance of 10.25 miles, and an average 19 walkers.  The nine Thursday walks had eight leaders, with an average of 5.7 miles and eight walkers.

The footpaths secretary, Les Atkinson, reported that the annual budget for the North York Moors National Park had been cut from £8m to £5.3m, with a consequent reduction in manpower.  He said the group's footpaths maintenance work in the national park could release the authority's personnel for other tasks, and he was seeking more engagements.  Full report.

Officers 2014-15: chairman Phil Trafford, secretary Pam Grimwood, treasurer Dave Grimwood, footpath secretary Les Atkinson, minutes secretary Robert Clutson, rambles organiser Tricia Mumford, members liaison Adam Brown, webmaster Harry Whitehouse, committee Ray Johnson and Margaret Atkinson. *After the meeting, Harry Whitehouse offered to fill the vacant role of area council rep.

Next year's AGM will be held on Thursday November 26 at the same venue. -
28 November 2014. Amended 18 December 2014.

Peak District camp

The Derbyshire Peak District will be the venue for the East Yorkshire and Derwent RA area camp from Friday June 12 to Monday June 15, 2015.

We will be based at Greenacres Campsite, Nether Booth, Edale, S33 7ZH.

As this year, tent campers, caravans, motorhomes, B&Bers and day visitors will all be welcome.  Edale Youth Hostel is also nearby.

Greenacres is set in a very scenic spot, adjacent to Kinder Scout.

We are planning 10-mile led walks on Saturday and Sunday, and early-bird and final-day shorter walks for Friday and Monday.  Details of possible shorter walks will be available, for those who prefer, on Saturday and Sunday.

Current nightly fees at the site are £5 per adult plus £2 per car for campers or motorhomes (minimum £10 a night total), and caravanners pay £14 a night per van, plus £4 for electricity and £2 for an awning. Space for caravans is limited, so booking with the site (01433 670375 Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm) is advised.

There is no need for tent campers to book with the site, as we will deal with these arrangements.

The organisers are Harry Whitehouse and Phil Trafford - to register your interest, please contact Harry on 01723 375770 or email him. - 8 November 2014.


Potash boss at AGM

The External Affairs Manager of the firm planning a £1 billion potash mine will be the guest speaker at our annual meeting on Thursday November 27.

York Potash is seeking planning permission for the mine, which it says will create 1,000 direct jobs, and pour millions of pounds into the local economy.

The firm aims to exploit the thickest and highest grade known potash ore reserve in the world, producing material for agricultural fertiliser.

Output from the mine, to be sunk near Whitby, is now planned to be transported by underground conveyor to Teesside, where it will be loaded onto ships.

Our guest at the annual meeting, Mr Matt Parsons (above), will talk about the implications for rights of way in the area, and will then take questions.

Mr Parsons was recruited by York Potash two years ago from Scarborough Borough Council, where he was Employment and Skills Manager.

The meeting, at the Friends' Meeting House, Quaker Close, Scarborough, starts at 7.30pm. - 10 October 2014

Area chairman resigns

The chairman of Ramblers' East Yorkshire and Derwent Area, Dany Wlodarczyk, has resigned after a complaint about the content of the latest Area News.

The area walks programme compiler, Roy Hunt, circulated an email expressing surprise that "so much of Area News had been hijacked by an anti-fracking group."

Dany became chairman while editor of the newsletter.  She appealed for a volunteer to take over Area News, but no one came forward, so she continued with both jobs.

On the front page of the current Area News, Dany said Ramblers would need to keep a close eye on any local applications for oil and gas exploration.

She mentioned concerns about possible risks from fracking, quoted Ramblers' national policy, acknowledged that there would be a range of views on the issue, and invited comments.

On an inside page, there is a half-page article by a member of  Hull and Holderness Group, Louise Castro, who has been taking part in an anti-fracking protest camp - despite the fact that the firm investigating the site say there are no plans for fracking there.
Louise contrasts her opinion of the appearance of Pipers Lane, Marton, before and after exploration for oil and gas began there.

She concludes: "The environmental impact on the nature and wildlife of the above-ground activity alone is too high a price to pay for man's greed and dash for gas."

On page 4, there is a further article by two anti-fracking members.

Dany announced that she was resigning because, she believed, she had made an error of judgment, and had lost the confidence of some area committee members, and a group committee.

Area News is archived on this site's Resources page. -
3 October 2014

Keeping in touch

The committee's newest member, Adam Brown, has been appointed membership liaison officer, to help build and maintain links within the group.

Adam will develop the role himself, but his suggested brief is to help ensure that newcomers on walks are looked after; that telephone numbers and email addresses are collected from them for follow-ups; that people who suddenly “disappear” are contacted to see if there are problems that can be resolved; to ensure that membership details are brought to the attention of those who have attended two or three walks; and that people who inquire about attending, but never do, are followed-up; etc. 

Adam attends most walks, but when he is absent, walk leaders are being asked to make a point of collecting names, phone numbers and email addresses, from newcomers. - 15 June 14

MP joins Hackness walk

A wide range of terrain and topics were covered when Scarborough's MP, Mr Robert Goodwill, joined us for Sunday's walk from Hackness.

Led by Bob Clutson, the party's ten-mile route from Hackness took us via Silpho and Surgate Brow, where brilliant clear sky presented a 22-mile view to Flamborough Head.

Many of the walkers discussed current countryside issues with Mr Goodwill, who was accompanied by his wife, Maureen.  Although she was brought up in the Hackness area, much of Sunday's route was new to Mrs Goodwill. The couple told us how much they had enjoyed the outing.

A senior policy officer from the ramblers' national HQ, Mr Eugene Suggett, also attended, and spoke to Mr Goodwill about footpath issues concerning the proposed high-speed rail line, HS2.

Our chairman, Phil Trafford, said:  "It's very valuable to have an MP who has such a keen interest in countryside affairs.

"We gained a extra insight into the work and responsibilities of our local MP, and we are very grateful to Mr and Mrs Goodwill for taking such an interest in our activities."

Mr Goodwill said later that he was pleased to hear that such a good relationship existed locally between landowners and ramblers.

"I was, however, concerned to hear that some rights of way are being churned up to the point of being impassable because of the activities of 4x4 drivers.  I look forward to working with ramblers both as a local MP and in my capacity as a Transport Minister," he said.

Eugene Hackett's blog on national RA website.- 14.4.14, updated 25.4.14 and 29.4.14

Shropshire outing planned

Richard Bedford's latest rambling getaway is planned for Shropshire in October.

The four-night outing (Sunday 26th-Wednesday 29th inclusive) would be based in Ironbridge, regarded as the heart of the Industrial Revoluton.

Day 1. Explore the town, visiting Telford's bridge and visit Blists Hill, the reconstructed living Victorian town.
Day 2. A 10-11mile ramble in the hills around the Stretton Valley;
Day 3. Visit Ludlow, with its castle and mediaeval buildings.
For more information and an accommodation list, phone Richard on 01723 586434 or email him.

Summer leaders needed

Rambles organiser Tricia Mumford is seeking leaders for the annual programme of summer evening short walks.

The programme will run on Tuesday evenings from 27th May to 5th August (11 evenings in all) starting at 7pm and aiming to finish about 9pm (9.30 at the latest) so should be around 4-5 miles. They should also be within easy reach of Scarborough.

Volunteers should email Tricia giving preferred dates, starting point (preferably with grid reference) approximate distance and whether dogs are allowed.

Tricia needs entries as soon as possible, and by 30 April at the latest  - 10 April 2014

F*** by F*** louts abuse ramblers

Scarborough Ramblers were subjected to foul language from people accompanying a pair of 4*4 vehicles stuck in mud on a "green" lane over Three Howes, near Harwood Dale on Sunday.

One of the vehicles was a 1995 Jeep Cherokee.

The track has been churned up by 4*4s to the point at which it is dangerous for responsible users of the countryside.

Bob Clutson and others have reported the damaged tracks to the North York Moors NPA and the Ramblers' Association.

Ladies were among the walkers who heard the abuse from the 4*4 crews, whose language, said one witness, was "more than blue". It is not suggested that individuals on the photographs were responsible for the abuse.

On Monday, the NYMNPA assigned a ranger to investigate the damage, and also referred it to North Yorkshire County Council, which has responsibility for the lanes.  (These appear on Ordnance Survey maps as "other routes with public access" (ORPAs).  In most cases, the actual public rights have not been defined, and the only definite right of way is on foot.  However, they generally also appear on the county's List of Streets, which means that the county council is responsible for maintaining them. - Pictures by Bob Clutson.

- 6.4.14, updated 8.4.14
















Island Farm no longer marooned

A section of Washbeck Road - an old track that runs from the A171 to Brown Rigg Road in Staintondale - is now open to walkers, despite strenuous opposition from the landowner.

Scarborough RA members were walking the track recently, when they discovered that smart new gates had been fitted at either end of the disputed section.  This runs from, SE 984980 to 983983, close to Island Farm.

As an ORPA, the exact status of Wash Beck Road is undefined.  All that can be said with certainty is that there is a legal right to walk on it - 10.3.14


Pictures by Bob Clutson

Folkton bridleway merry-go-round

The bid to establish a right of way along the route of an old road has taken a new twist.

In November, a public inquiry was held into the plan, which was opposed by the owner of the adjacent land.

The inspector who ran the inquiry has issued an interim confirmation of the order, but has proposed narrowing the planned bridleway from 6.1m (19ft 10in)  to 3.5m (11ft 4in).

He asks for comments or objections about the change of width.  As his interim order considers factors that were not raised at the inquiry, he also invites arguments and objections about these issues.

It has been suggested by one commentator that if any fresh issues are raised, this could lead to the appeal process being re-opened, even possibly leading to a further public inquiry.

The track forms part of the old Fordon road from Folkton.  Although the modern line continues as a public footpath past Fordon Wold Farm, historically there was a route that went further west, past the former Flixton Quarry to join the road that runs west of Danebury Manor.

Expert rights of way commentator Chris Beney said that as the inspector had given no reason for proposing a width of 3.5m, this was open to challenge.

"Is he thinking of the judge who said a path should be wide enough for 'two persons to pass without quarrelling' and then extending it to horses?" he asked.

"Alan Kind in 'Notes…on the widths of public rights of way rev 16 Jan 2012' says a horse can easily be 4ft rider's toe to rider's toe, and that is consistent with the statutory 5ft bridle gate gap. So anything less than 10ft could easily lead to 'quarrelling'. 10ft is just over 3 metres and on the face of it not inconsistent with the proposed 3.5 metres but allows only a tiny amount of sway and allows for stumble not at all.

"Neither does it consider walkers on the bridleway, especially with young children. If the children are young they all need to stay together and a five foot gap between a big nervous horse and a fence can be pretty scary. And if fenced there is very likely undergrowth or nettles beside the fence," said Mr Benoy.

He pointed out that The Rights of Way review Committee planning guidance note 6, says:

Where ways are not enclosed, footpaths should be of a minimum width of 2 metres and bridleways and byways 3.5 metres.  If the way is to be enclosed by fencing, hedging or buildings then footpaths should be of a minimum width of 4 metres and bridleways and byways 6 metres.

"The logic of that is not stated but one may suppose that in the unfenced case one can be assumed to be able to step well outside the legal width for safety reasons.

"Perhaps that is where the inspector got his 3.5 metres from.

"But who is to say whether a way will not be enclosed at some time by fences or hedges? It would be unusual indeed if that could be said with certainty.

"Alan Kind quotes a case in his paper and I myself have seen cross-field paths enclosed. So the (fenced) figure of six metres would apply on the basis that this is a reasonable figure where there are not any reasons to believe otherwise.

"On top of this the fact of 20ft being in the award must reasonably be supposed to have been considered reasonable at the time even if it did not have validity in law," said Mr Beney.

*Mr Beney's commentary is reproduced from the Ramblers-FP message board.

Notification letter   Formal notice  The interim order  Order map - 21 February 14, revised 24 February 14.

Camping in Swaledale

The area camping weekend, from Friday June 6 to Monday June 9, will be held at Usha Gap campsite (NGR SD 902 979). 

This site ( is in a beautiful location beside the River Swale, half a mile by footpath or road from Thwaite and Muker. 

It has toilets, showers and a clothes dryer. 

Scarborough members Harry Whitehouse and Phil Trafford are the joint organisers. They will be organising full day walks on Saturday and Sunday, and shorter ones on Friday afternoon and Monday morning for early birds/late stayers. 

The Farmer's Arms pub in Muker is walker-friendly, there is a shop and tea-room in Muker, and the megalopolis of Hawes is a short drive away. 

The campsite also accepts caravans and motorhomes (but there are no electric hook-ups). 

Camping costs  £6 per adult, plus £2 per car, per night.  Caravans cost £15, and motorhomes £13. 

Bookings at the site are not necessary, but I do need to know if you will be attending, as I have agreed to liaise with the site. 

If anyone would prefer to use bed-and-breakfast, and join the group for walks and socialising, the Kearon Country Hotel in Thwaite (, 01748 886277), or in Muker  the shop (01748 886409), Swale Farm (01748 886479) or Chapel House (01748 886822) may oblige.  

You are, of course, welcome to attend for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days. 

If you are interested, or if you know of anyone who might be, please email or phone (07535 892131) Harry, to be added to the circulation list. - 20.1.14