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Dorset Forums => Weymouth => Chickerell => Topic started by: DLAF on March 17, 2014, 11:22:30 AM

Title: Crook hill
Post by: DLAF on March 17, 2014, 11:22:30 AM
The footpath from chickerell road (opposite Elziver close) that leads over the fields and onto Crook Hill seems to have been fenced off along the top by the old pit. The path is still accessable but instead of the wide path before it is now an extremely narrow path with an electric & barbed wire fence running its length. Anyone know why it has been fenced off? I can't ever remember the path being that narrow in days gone by? Shame as it's a lovely walk and it feels a bit "hemmed" in now.
Title: Re: Crook hill - Chickerell Path 37
Post by: Darzet boy on March 18, 2014, 09:13:13 AM
The actual Public Rights Of Way (PROW) footpath follows the original field boundary between that field and Crook Hill. So in other words the walked path should drop down into that big hole where the clay was dug out, and back up the other side. It's one of many PROW in Chickerell that Dorset County Council have failed to address during planning applications. There is one path that runs straight though houses on Rex Lane and Rashley Road because DCC failed to ask developers to pay for modification, diversion or extinguishment orders of paths during development :-o

This screen shot is of the "Definitive" path taken from DCC dorsetexplorer


And this aerial view helps to show where the legal path is. Path 37 is the blue line on the left of Chickerell Road

Title: Re: Crook hill
Post by: DLAF on March 18, 2014, 09:46:23 AM
That's really helpfull. Thank you!
What would happen then if the field owner decided that there was no longer a right of way on his land (as it goes through the pit) could they just stop people walking through? In that case would the council be liable to reinstate and maintain a path that ran directly through the pit. I know it wouldn't happen but you never know what some people might do? Makes an interesting question though.
Title: Re: Crook hill
Post by: Darzet boy on March 18, 2014, 10:37:28 AM
It's hard enough getting DCC to ask landowners to replace broken gates under their legal duties, let alone resolve anything substantial  :|

PROW paths run on definitive lines recorded in statements and on the map. Examples of statements record such things as "Alongside hedge" or "across field from x to y". When cliff top paths and tow paths have the ground vanish due to landslip or wash erosion, then the path on the ground simply does not exist. It is up to the Highway Authority to negotiate a new route for the path with the land owner, and modify the path by order. It's a legal process.

Technically, following the field around that big hole on path 37 means that people are trespassing on private land - and the land owner has the right to block you from their land. You are allowed to divert to go around an obstruction - such as to walk around a tree that has recently fallen.
But this is a man made issue of extraction of clay, which I presume the brick works had council permission for - so the council should have addressed the path alignment. A lot of it boils down to various council departments failing to ask PROW team if a PROW was affected and taking the response into consideration. There's about 50 years of that history of neglect in Dorset, but they have finally started to get themselves organised, as shown at Fry's Chesil Gate development where DCC modified the path to the current alignment before Fry could start development.

You can report the fence problem to DCC and ask them to address the path alignment issue by using the DCC reporting page here (

Interestingly, path 24 from Lower Putton Lane to Swish Cottage does not run along Green Lane for a section of that first section from Lower Putton to Elliott's bungalow. I haven't looked at Fry's new development plans but there might be some houses built in the near future with a footpath through their lounge.

Part of the issue is that the Area PROW Office seems to not understand Definitive path and land owners and Highway Authority's duties under The Highways Act 1980.
Title: Re: Crook hill
Post by: DLAF on March 18, 2014, 11:02:55 AM
You certainly have a wealth of knowledge on the matter  :-D

I will report it on the DCC website. It wouldn't bother me to much but the path has been made so narrow in places, just seems a bit unnecessary.
Will see what happens.

Must be exotic animals if an electric and barbed wire fence is needed  :mrgreen:
Title: Re: Crook hill
Post by: rjimmer on June 27, 2014, 11:49:54 AM
I think you'll find that a footpath is 4 feet wide if unfenced. 1 foot must be added if a barbed wire fence is erected alongside it, so it must be 6 feet wide if there is a barbed wire fence on both sides. Not sure about electric fences. I think that field used to belong to the owners of the brickyard, perhaps it still does.