Foot soldiers win battle to reopen old walking path

Clitheroe Ramblers have won their fight
Clitheroe Ramblers have won their fight

Walkers have won their fight to reopen a path they claimed people had trod for decades.

Clitheroe Ramblers, backed by a number of local people, gave evidence at a two-day public inquiry into the path, which they claimed skirts The Eagle at Barrow pub-restaurant and a nearby private house garden.

Now planning inspector Mark Yates has ruled in their favour, proposing an amendment to Whalley Number 5 footpath so that it will continue into Clitheroe Road instead of stopping short at a field boundary as shown on the definitive map. It will also have to be widened next to the private house.

His proposal will have to be advertised to allow for objections and may even have go to another inquiry for a final decision, but the walkers are delighted at establishing the principle of a footpath.

Veteran campaigner Mr Norman Thorpe, footpaths officer for Clitheroe Group of The Ramblers, said: “We are naturally delighted that we have been successful in keeping open this footpath, which is the best one of those which go from Mitton Road to Clitheroe Road.

“It is an example of the Ramblers being not just a walking club, but one which also is active in safeguarding and improving our public rights of way.”

The Ramblers and their local witnesses claimed a footpath had existed for many years, running through the yard of the former Spread Eagle Farm - now converted into cottages - and past the pub into Clitheroe Road.

Spread Eagle owner Mr Kevin Berkins told the inquiry he had consulted the councils concerned when applying for permission to extend his pub, and he contended that no footpath actually existed.

The inquiry heard there was a discrepancy between the Definitive Statement, which is the official description of the route of the path in words, and the Definitive Map, which is the official map of the footpath network.

Mr Thorpe said it was not clear when the path may open, because of the objection period and the need to clear a way.

He added: “Walkers keen to use this path again will have to wait a little while longer for it to be put back into a suitable state.”

Mr Berkins was not available for comment.