Ken Brockway, Footpath Inspector
This article is from Signpost 63, Winter 2019
While taking a look at the Derbyshire online Register of Definitive Map Modification Orders I spotted one submitted by Wirksworth Town Council. It is always good to see community involvement in footpath matters. For details see https://apps.derbyshire.gov.uk/applications/right-of-way/details.asp?appID=04266 Sixty one users had completed evidence forms to support the claim for a footpath between St Helen's Lane and reamfield Lane. In addition a copy of a map extract "Wirksworth Potential Tree Planting" had been submitted. So I thought I would go and take a look while out exploring other unrecorded routes.
From Breamfield Lane it was a drive serving a number of properties but then a gate across the drive gave access to the last house. On the gate a notice with felt pen read 'No Footpath'. I pressed on and could see that an overgrown walled track continued along the desired course so I took this through nettles and brambles. Fortunately no one was about so I wasn't questioned and reached a hand gate giving access to St Helen's Road. On the road side a commercially produced sign 'No Footpath'.
Now my wife says I am obsessed by footpaths, passionate perhaps and I am a member of PNFS so that must say something but I have to say on this occasion I agree with the landowner, this is not a footpath. I had not gone out unprepared: on this occasion it was not clippers, slashers or cutters for barbed wire that I needed. For this path I'd taken 'history' having found that in 1806 the Wirksworth Parliamentary Enclosure had set out this route. "Breamfield Road One other public carriage horse and drift road from St Helens Road over the said common to Shottle road (now called Breamfield Road) near Breamfield Houses." Yes, the landowner was correct it isn't a footpath, it's a public carriageway, not sure how they will feel when HGVs start using their drive.
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