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A Green Lane Lost

November 23, 2011

A Lost Green Lane, near to Colaton Raleigh, Devon

It was never a very long green lane, and it didn’t actually go anywhere. Just a old green lane leading towards the disused railway line to Budleigh Salterton, with views over the lovely River Otter.

I admit, it had never been claimed as a right of way, though it should have been. But generations of people used it, strolled down its few dozen yards to enjoy the high Devon hedgerows and the lovely views.

People enjoyed walking its pleasant length. They did no harm by walking that way.

Until recently there was a gate.

But last Sunday, when I walked that way, a high fence topped by barbed wire – that ugly symbol of the British countryside – had replaced the gate.

Such is the way we are losing many of the routes our ancestors strolled.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    November 27, 2011 7:12 pm

    This seems to be getting more common. The walk to Pooh Bridge in Ashdown Forest was re routed last year. The new route was apparantly to allow easy access for pushchairs,wheelchairs and increased tourist traffic. Nothing wrong with that yet the old route was closed and blocked off with a gate and private no access signs. The old route had been used for years and from what I can gather was used by carts transporting wood.
    Why the old route could not have been kept open so walkers could have a choice I don’t know. Apart from being historical the old route was more scenic.
    Is there no way of protecting our old lanes and ancient routes?

    • November 30, 2011 8:41 am

      I think many of our old paths are being lost. Where new paths are created, old ones should be kept open. Sad to see the loss of the ways trod by our ancestors.

  2. November 28, 2011 12:17 pm

    One starting point is, who owns the land?
    What’s the back-story?

  3. November 30, 2011 8:40 am

    Not clear who owns the land, though my local informant says many locals used the path and are peeved. Never been any trouble there

    • December 3, 2011 2:55 am

      To be honest, I’m not sure it matters that someone owns the land and wants to close it if it’s a lane which has been used as a right of way for years by the locals.

      The same sort of thing has happened around our village though. We’ve had yuppies move in and, the little ‘snickets’ as we call them (paths cutting through between gardens from one street to another) are gradually getting closed off with barbed wire one by one. Barbed wire isn’t something you want within a village anyway as children could easily get caught up on it.

      But anyway, the latest victim of this was a little snicket I used regularly to get from my estate to a footpath to the main road to walk to work. I caught the farmer fencing and wiring this off and asked what was going on. He said the people with the adjacent gardens had complained his cows had broken out into their gardens from the field. Unless the cows were show-jumpers, this would have been impossible as they would have had to scale a dry-stone wall first – not something cows are good at (unlike sheep).

    • December 13, 2011 8:32 pm

      The reason for asking about ownership is because that’s where I’d start off from in tackling the problem. Where I live is on the edge of a town in North Devon and anybody who’s anybody knows everybody and their grandparents within a radius of 30 miles!

      So, if I didn’t already know who owned the land I’d contact the most knowledgeable local person to get the low-down. Maybe negotiation would be possible.

      Btw, it is sad how too often ‘yuppies’ and 2nd-homers seem to bring a lot of very negative changes – and unaffordable house prices – rather than the healthy breath of fresh air and useful open perspectives that one might have hoped for though, isn’t it.

  4. December 4, 2011 8:37 am

    Many thanks for your comments on this and other subjects. Much appreciated!

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