The bridleway that goes up the face of Bradwell Edge can be a bit of a quagmire, especially at the bottom section where it becomes very muddy, slippery and often trampled by livestock. Before Christmas we were alerted to an incident that happened between a rider coming down and a local walker. Fortunately the walker is very well connected in the local area and was instrumental in PDMTB coming into being. We were contacted by him and asked if we would come along to a Parish Council meeting to see what could be done to ease the passing of bikes, horses and walkers on the edge.
Two of us from PDMTB went along to the meeting where we met with the Parish Council members and the landowner. Discussions about the incident, options and a plan of action took place and it was agreed that a site visit would be in order as there was some indication that there may be an interesting option to reduce conflict on the route that would also provide a better experience for all concerned.
We met on site at the end of 2015 with the PDNPA and DCC rights of way team, the councillor and the landowner. What transpired exceeded our expectations and looks like it will provide a great solution.
Around half way along the bridleway there is a barely discernable fork in the track, currently all traffic stays left and hugs the hillside where the track passes around the old gate rather than going through it. It is at this point the track narrows and becomes increasingly sodden due to a spring and water draining off the hills. There is livestock in the area and this exacerbates the problem when the track is very wet. Then further down the track becomes very muddy and slippery.
However, at the fork back at the gate there is the start of an old hollow way, a drovers/pack horse route up the lower part of the edge. There is a clear route through the undergrowth and it winds down to the gate at the bottom of the edge. It would make a perfect alternative route for bikes and horses and would also make the track a climb up the edge as well as a decent.
The rights of way officers had come with a map showing an alteration to route application that had been submitted some time ago which diverted the bridleway along the old hollow way and then downgraded the lower section of the existing track to a footpath. There is some work required to make this happen but it looks like an plan we would be happy to support, the landowner is in full support and will help where he can, DCC were positive as were PDNPA. It answers the Parish Council’s issue with conflict on the lower section of the route and it provides a great finish or start to Bradwell Edge.
We are now waiting for the one objection (raised by two people who, we are advised, object to every change proposed to rights of way!!) and then we may be looking to form a maintenance team to help the landowner make it happen. We will be looking to hold a couple of trail maintenance days on the upper section of the track with help and permission form the landowner. We have, in this landowner, an ally and someone happy to work with us, he has already helped the paragliders on the edge, but that’s a very nice tale for the bar or another post on here sometime.