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March 2020

posted 28 Mar 2020, 08:00 by Rochdale & Bury Bridleways



MARCH 2020

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.



Rossendale: Spodden Valley Play Area –RBBA received notification of a planning application to create a play area in the Spodden Valley at Healey Dell and were invited to comment. This application would affect The Mary Towneley Loop (Pennine Bridleway) between the NCN cycle path at Healey Dell and Whitworth Road. RBBA sent in a comment based on worries that there might be adverse conflict between the children using the play area and users of the bridleway, particularly with horse riders and cyclists. Safety of both PROW users and the children in the area was a concern. This application has since been withdrawn.


Rochdale: New Housing and Provision of Recreation Facilities, Consultation.

RBBA submitted a comment to this consultation.

Informal Open Space (Relevant Core strategy Policy: G6)

Informal open space is outdoor space which is suitable for active, informal recreation by people of all ages, safely accessible and available to the general public. There are many kinds of spaces and areas of different size, location and character that can come under the umbrella of informal open space, such as areas of grass, woodland or water bodies, walking / cycling routes and parks. As well as providing opportunities for informal games and passive recreation, these spaces have general amenity value and make an essential contribution to the quality and character of the urban fabric and improve quality of life, encourage biodiversity and help to tackle the effects of climate change.


We realise that the list of examples of informal open spaces given in this paragraph is just to illustrate a point, but please do not forget bridleways and other Rights of Way that are available to equestrians, such as restricted byways. We find that the informal recreation undertaken by equestrians (we call it hacking out)  is often forgotten but these PROW are essential facilities to keep horse riders off the roads and away from vehicular traffic.

As more and more developments encroach into the countryside more and more PROW will become under threat. Any development affecting bridleways and restricted byways should ensure that these PROW are accessible to horse riders and kept free from vehicular traffic. If not the developer should provide an alternative easily accessible traffic free route. Developers should also look for ways in which they can add to the traffic free routes for vulnerable road users (walkers, cyclists, horse riders, carriage drivers, mobility scooters) especially if they provide links between already existing routes that allow avoidance of roads. The off-road network available for horse riders in Rochdale is very fragmented which means riders have to use the roads to access bridleways and byways.

The Agriculture Bill

The Agriculture Bill is to replace the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) now that Brexit has happened. Farmers will receive subsidies through this scheme and not CAP in the future.


This Bill had its second reading on 16th January and is now going to the Committee stage.

Clause 1.1.(b) on page 7 states that farmers will receive public money for public goods. One of the “public goods” will be access for the public across their land.

Prior to the second reading the BHS and HAC asked people to lobby their MPs to speak up for this clause in the second reading. RBBA sent letters to both the Bury North MP, James Daly, and the Heywood and Middleton MP, Chris Clarkson asking them to support this clause. As it happens a quick read of the Hansard report of this second reading showed that no comments were made about public access.



Bury: Ainsworth DMMOs

In 2017 RBBA submitted to Bury Council 6 DMMOs for upgrades around the village of Ainsworth to the west of Bury. In 2019, because Bury Council had not even looked at these applications, RBBA sent a Direction Request to the Secretary of State asking them to direct Bury Council to get on with the job. On 5th February 2020 we received notification that a Direction Decision had been made by the SoS instructing Bury Council to process these applications within 6 months of the date of the decision ie 5th Feb.. It was stated that the reasons the Council gave, lack of resources, was not a valid reason for not processing these applications.

At the end of February, after reading in Bury Times On-line the budget proposals for Bury for the coming year which included £400,000 for a new football pitch in Radcliffe, RBBA wrote to Bury Chief Executive, Geoff Little, and the new Director of Operations, Donna Ball, asking that money be allocated to Rights of Way so that the Ainsworth applications could be processed. An encouraging reply was received from Donna Ball.

“I have met with the Rights of Way Officer and David Giblin Head of Engineering only this week to discuss the issues you have been raising.

I fully agree with you that Horse riding does of course form park of physical activity and is an equally important part of the Bury Moving Strategy to those who partake in the pastime. 

Following the update meeting I have requested that immediate support be found to speed up the process of reviewing the applications that have been submitted, I saw for myself the comprehensive piece of work that you had done and its attention to detail was admirable. 

I have asked that the additional hours that are required to processes at greater speed be found asap given the Statutory requirement  ( some training will of course be required) and I ask David Giblin (cc’d) to keep you updated on progress. 

I wish you well and hope that you are somewhat assured we are taking your concerns seriously.”

Keep your fingers crossed we see some action.

Rochdale Rights of Way

Northdene Drive – It is nearly a year since Rochdale Council awarded an Order for bridleway status along this route. RBBA has seen the paperwork associated with this Order and expect notices to be put up soon on the route informing the public of the Order. There are 14 days for anyone to make objections. 

Plumpton Cottages

Evidence forms are being collected for this route. If you have ridden the route and have not yet completed a form please contact

Splash Lane

The bridleway between Elbut Lane and Ashworth Road going through Nabbs Wife in the Ashworth Valley is closed. There has been subsidence on the Rochdale side of the river. Rochdale ROW put on the closure notice and are aware of the situation.


Due to the Coronavirus outbreak everything is on hold. All meetings and events are cancelled until further notice. If you have any bridleway concerns during this time please contact us through


At the time of writing we are still able to get out into the countryside and enjoy our horses. RBBA hope all our members stay healthy. Take care.