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March 2019

posted 29 Dec 2020, 06:43 by Rochdale & Bury Bridleways



MARCH 2019

This newsletter records what the RBBA committee have been involved with concerning Rights of Way in Rochdale, Rossendale and Bury in the last 3 months.



The bridleway Order is very nearly confirmed and will soon make its way onto the Definitive Map to be preserved for horse riders forever.

Northdene Drive.

The DMMO application to upgrade footpath RocFp13a between Northdene Drive and Bury New Road was finally approved by Rochdale Township Committee on 23rd January 2019. There will now be a 42 day period of public consultation during which anyone can object to the proposal. You can also support it!  If, after the consultation period, no-one has objected the Order will be confirmed. If someone objects, and we know of at least one objector, the application will go to the Planning Inspectorate (Secretary of State) for a decision.

RBBA’s complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman about the inappropriate behaviour of some Councillors at the Rochdale Township meeting on 19th October has been rejected. The LGO consider correct procedure was followed by the Monitoring Office in investigating our complaint. The question is their procedure may be OK but who policies the decision made? Not the LGO apparently.

Furbarn Lane

Thank you to those who came to our November meeting and filled in evidence forms for Northdene Drive. We are still working to collect even more forms so if you know anyone who has ridden the route please encourage them to get in touch with us or come to a meeting and fill in a form.

Knacks Lane, Rooley Moor

Just before Christmas residents at Rooley Moor and Prickshaw had mor tarmac laid on Knacks Lane, part of the Mary Towneley Loop. The tarmac is very smooth and local riders are concerned that it will present a slipping hazard to their horses. The residents did not get permission for the work from Rochdale Council as they should do. RBBA contacted Rochdale’s Rights of Way Officer and initially we were told that the residents would have to put a horse-friendly top dressing on the tarmac or remove it. However, after Christmas we were told that the ROW Officer will be monitoring the situation over the next few months. If you are concerned about this tarmac or your horse has slipped on it please phone Rochdale Council and tell them.

At the Rochdale Rights of Way meeting in January 2019the situation on Knacks Lane was brought up by RBBA. We expected this to be minuted but it was not. A query to Julie Simpson about this has not been answered. The matter will be brought up at the next ROW meeting.


Crimble Lane

A Scoping Opinion has been submitted to Rochdale Council as a precursor to building 250 houses on fields near to Crimble Mill and making accommodation in Crimble Mill itself. The application includes a proposal to use the bridleway from the A58 to Crimble Mill (Hey Bp59) as an access route to the development. RBBA have written in to complain about this use of the bridleway on the grounds of increased risk to equestrian users of the bridleway faced with a possible 500+ more vehicles using the way.

In the Decision Notice issued on 18th February all of the comments submitted by  RBBA were included.

The problem at Crimble was also mentioned at the ROW meeting and not minuted.

Plumpton Woods

RBBA are considering producing a DMMO application to upgrade the footpath Het Fp57 from the B6222 through to Plumpton Woods to a bridleway. If you have ridden this route and can fill in an evidence form to support this application please contact us on

Gristlehurst (Hey Bp35)

Rochdale Council have resurfaced this bridleway. Some riders are concerned that the stones used are too large and will bruise horses’ feet.


Rochdale’s ROW Officer was contacted. This is the reply we received.

“ I was there yesterday as the Contractor had run over the route with a heavier roller, I think it just needs time now to settle in however I know horse riders are cantering along it and it probably will not last that long as there are already spots where the stone has been kicked up”

Pennine Bridleway at Healey Dell


The Pennine Bridleway at Healey Dell has been part of the National Cycle Route 92 for many years. It now seems it is part of the Valley of Stone Greenway, also The East Lancashire Cycleway.  This is being described as a shared spaced, available to walkers, cyclists and horse riders and wheel chair users. If this description is adhered to along the whole Greenway you should in theory be able to ride to Waterfoot. However, as the map shows there are some gaps and blockages.  A new rubberised surface is currently being laid (March) and the route is closed temporarily at Healey Dell. 


Elton Reservoir

On 17th January 2019 the bridleway Order for Elton Reservoir to the west of Bury was advertised in the Bury Times. It has taken 4 years and a lot of lobbying to get this far. There is now 42 days for public consultation when any objectors can write in and oppose the order. If there are no objectors the Order will be confirmed. If there are objectors the matter will go to Public Inquiry.

Ironically, the western end of this route from St. Andrew’s Road to Doffer Fold Farm will be swallowed up in the GMSF proposals for new housing in the Green Belt if they are approved!

Definitve Map Modification Orders (DMMO)

Three more DMMOs have been submitted to Bury Council based on historical evidence. 

  • Ainsworth Hall Road to compliment the six applications around Ainsworth submitted in 2017.

  • A footpath between Watling Street at affetside and Turton Road going past Tom Nook Farm.

  • Three footpaths between Cann Street at Tottington and Turton Road.

It will be many years before these applications will be processed but we must identify and apply for routes before 2026.


This footpath between Mather Road and the bridleway that goes over the M66 is regularly used by local riders and is an important link between Chesham, Birtle and Buckhurst.  A DMMO is being prepared on User Evidence. If you have ridden this route and are prepared to complete an evidence form please contact us by e-mail –


A retrospective planning application has been submitted to Bury Council to widen bridleway 24BUR from Halsall Close to Davises Farm. This is in preparation for turning the adjacent Gorse Quarry into a fishing/leisure centre. The work has actually been done without planning permission and this has upset ecologists as Gorses Quarry is a Site of Biological Interest (SBI). Great Crested Newts live there and rare acid heathland has been destroyed.

In January RBBA submitted a neutral comment raising concerns about the increase in vehicular traffic along a bridleway which this proposal will generate.

In February the address of the application was changed to “Access Road to Gorses Quarry”. On the basis that an access road would result in increased vehicular traffic along the bridleway RBBA changed stance from neutral to object by submitting a second letter.

In mid- February the application was again withdrawn!! There were over 100 objections to it.

Ainsworth Bridleway Applications

With the Elton Reservoir application well on its way we are now trying to persuade Bury Council to process the 6 DMMO applications around Ainsworth village which were submitted in 2017. The Council are very reluctant to do this saying Rights of Way have a very low priority and saying they do not have the budget for the job. We have enlisted the help of a Ward Councillor and we have warned the Council that we will proceed with a Direction Request if they do not start processing the applications. A Direction Request asks the Secretary of State to tell Bury Council to investigate the applications by a certain date and come to a decision.  


We have finally been able to have a conversation with Lancashire ROW about the “swimming pool” on the Dunham bridleway and the need for the drainage ditch to be dug out on “The Drains”.

Apparently the pool of water on Dunham will be sorted by the landowner when the weather improves and the ROW Officer is intending to inspect “The Drains”.

Good news. Week beginning 25th February contractors repaired bridleway 206, “The Drains”. 

             Before                                                                                                After




Looking towards Buckhurst


Spring Mill Whitworth

Bee Network

The Bee Network is a £160 million scheme promoted by The Mayor, Andy Burnham, to develop walking and cycling tracks throughout Greater Manchester. Chris Boardman is the schemes figurehead, the Walking and Cycling Commissioner.

RBBA wrote to Andy Burnham in the autumn asking for horse riders to be included. Having had no reply RBBA tried again in February with another e-mail request for horse riders to be included in the scheme. Amazingly we got a reply from Chris Boardman’s PA. This is what was said.

“Many thanks for writing in again. We were passed your original letter and it was logged with the large range of letters of support from across Greater Manchester for the cycling and walking Bee Network we’re building.  

As the Mayor’s Commissioner, Chris Boardman has a remit that covers walking and cycling; however, the vast majority of the investment will be on the highway network. The basic design standards for the network are that it must be useable by a competent 12 year old riding a bike, or someone pushing a double buggy, so the safety standards, width of routes etc must meet these criteria. This means that the network will also benefit horseriders, as well as those using wheelchairs or adapted bikes etc. The Bee Network is being designed by local councils in partnership with colleagues at TfGM, and gained over 4000 comments on its first draft, so when the next draft of the map is published later this spring, do submit comments, and you can also contact local councillors about particular routes in your area. Major schemes will be subject to public consultations, and you can keep abreast of these on our web page:  

Best wishes and thanks again for contacting us”

If you click on the links you can find out more about this scheme.

Still a lot of work to do identifying routes that could be useful to horse riders and lobbying the appropriate people to get us included, but we may have a foot in the door.

Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

RBBA has submitted comments on the GMSF

The main points made are:

  • In any developments bridleways and byways should be avoided as access routes otherwise they will no longer be “off-road” routes and public users will be put at risk through increased contact with vehicular traffic. An alternative access route should be sought. Failing that a new track for walkers, cyclists and horse riders should be constructed by the developer, fenced off from the vehicular route.  

  • Diverted PROW should be sensitively positioned to give a positive experience for the user. 

  • New developments are a good opportunity to enhance the network for all user groups, including horse riders, by providing off-road routes, some of which could provide links between existing PROW.

  • Horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians successfully share routes on bridleways. The development of a cycle network, funded by the public purse, provides an excellent opportunity to create multi-user routes to be used by all non-motorised users. Where practical, horse riders should be given access to all new paths and cycle ways and opportunities should also be taken to changing rights on existing routes where safer access is required.

  • Think walker, think cyclist , THINK HORSE RIDER.