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September 2020

posted 29 Dec 2020, 07:08 by Rochdale & Bury Bridleways



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. 

RBBA committee has still been working hard on your behalf during the Coronavirus crisis.  

Although we continue with our work to upgrade footpaths to bridleways (Definitive Map  Modification Orders – DMMOs), we are finding more and more that we are having to work to  protect existing bridleways from new developments such as housing developments. 



Woodtop/Mile Canter, whatever you like to call it, is now a bona-fide Definitive Map  bridleway. Thank you to all of you who filled in evidence forms for this route. 

Splash Lane 

Splash Lane leads from Ashworth Road and this bridleway eventually takes you across the river in  Ashworth Valley and thence to Birtle.  

Rochdale Rights of Way have made some improvements to this bridleway which had to be closed  after the winter because parts of the surface had been washed away. The following photos show  some of the improvements. 

Concerns have been raised about the narrowness of the section approaching the gate leading down  into Ashworth Valley. This feature has been installed to try and deter off-roaders. If you experience  problems drop us an e-mail via our website or let Rochdale Rights of Way know.



 The narrow section  

Healey Dell 

RBBA are trying to get access for horse riders along the NCN cycle route through Healey Dell On 18/09/2019 16:41, Councillor Kieran Heakin wrote: 

As far as I am aware, we are looking at this at our meeting next Tuesday – Healey Dell Joint  Management. I am personally very supportive of the scheme and hope that we can have a  bridleway through from Whitworth to Healey and on through to Rochdale. I have spent today  walking along the route from Shawclough to Rossendale, so I am well briefed and ready for  our meeting.

1st July 2020 

Dear Councillor Heakin, 

I was wondering if you might have any progress to report on this matter. We are keen to  provide riders in the area with as many safe off road routes as possible to avoid the ever  increasing number of road accidents involving horses. This route seems to be an easy win as  the surface and width of the path is such that there is no need for any additional expenditure.  The route would enable riders to avoid the busy Whitworth Road whilst linking the Mary  Townley Loop with the Bridlepath along the disused railway line leading to Syke Common.  All that would be required would be the gates unlocking and perhaps horse steps provided at  each end to prevent the unauthorised use by motorbikes. Horse Riding is very comptable with the nature reserve as wildlife are totally at ease with a horse and its rider, its amazing how  much wildlife you can see when riding compared with walkers with dogs who are seen  potential by the wildlife as threats even if they are on leads. 

Rainshore parking problems 

We understand that some of the residents on the Rainshaw Estate have been having discussions  about the parking along Overtown Lane. As you will be well aware the road leads to the bridlepath  which eventually comes out at Red Lumb. RBBA request that any solutions which might be discussed  and put in place takes into consideration the needs of the Horse riding community. 

Plumpton Cottages DMMO 

RBBA is preparing an upgrade to bridleway application (DMMO) for the route going by Plumpton  Cottages in the Queens Park Road area. 44 witness statements (evidence forms) have been  collected from local riders. Thank you to all who have helped us with this. We are now at the stage  of finding out who the landowners are and preparing the evidence for submission to Rochdale  Council. 

Northdene Drive 

RBBA is trying to get Rochdale Council to let us see objections to the DMMO which was passed by  the Township over 12 months ago. Rochdale are very reluctant to allow this to happen. Pat has put  in a Freedom of Information request.

Crimble area. 

A fence has been erected along the side of bridleway 59 making it very narrow adjacent to a  steep drop. 

The fence also prevents access to a piece of open land that has been used by horse riders. 

RBBA has had an on- site meeting with Rochdale’s Rights of Way Officer, Julie Simpson, and  we are awaiting developments. 

Shawfield/Willowmead gates

Various people have reported problems with the gates on the Shawfield to Willowmead bridleway.  The Willowmead gate is bad. This has been reported to Julie Simpson and she is getting contractors  in.  

Furbarn Lane 

Gill rang Julie Simpson about this DMMO and has been told that Julie has spent many hours trying to  decipher the evidence and does not know when this DMMO will be brought before Township  Committee


Spring Mill, Whitworth 

RBBA attended an on-site meeting between local residents and the developers of the site, Gleesons.  We raised the matter of the alternative bridleway which should be put in place to replace the  present route which goes through the middle of the building site.  

RBBA asked for 3 things 

that this bridleway is in place before development starts 

the route is definitive, not permissive 

horse stiles are placed at all access points to deter off-roaders. 

To back up these requests an e-mail stating these points was sent to the Case Officer at Rossendale  Planning. 

BW 114 

Proposed new  


Current route 

Mary Towneley Loop – 

green line 

The red line marks the boundary of the development area. 


Simister Island improvement scheme

Mode Hill Lane 

Cowl Gate  


Egypt Lane

RBBA has asked if a multi-user link between Mode Hill Lane and Egypt Lane could be provided as  part of the scheme . Probably a big ask, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get! 

Haweswater Aqueduct 

The pipe bringing water to Greater Manchester from Haweswater in the Lake District is in need of  refurbishment. The pipeline comes through our area between Walmersley and Birtle and routes  used by horse riders will be used for all the contract vehicles to access the work areas. Estimates are  for 6 to 8 HGVs per hour. 

Mine grouting is a means of stabilising the land before tunnelling is done for the pipeline. 




The arrows show routes used extensively by horse riders. 


RBBA has taken part in the public consultation by video call and have highlighted the potential  problems for horse riders that may arise because of the increase in heavy vehicles in these areas. We  have suggested a traffic free day on Sundays. We were told that UU will put in a new access route  from Castle Hill Road to the work area just north of Woodgate Hill Reservoir so that most of Castle  Hill Road will be free of HGVs

Bradshaw Hill 

The bridleway from Castle Hill Road which approaches the bridge over the M66 on its way to  Chesham was under threat by a housing development. Access to 3 new houses was proposed across  the bridleway at the steepest part. The whole area would have been opened up to vehicular traffic,  in particular off-roaders. RBBA submitted a letter voicing concerns over the safety of horse riders  using the route and the detrimental impact on the bridleway. It seems our points were taken on  board and the application was refused. 

Extract from the decision letter. 


The pictures show how this bridleway looked several years ago after having been repaired and what  it looks like now. The state of the bridleway has deteriorated because of lack of funding 


Elton Reservoir 

In 2015 RBBA submitted a DMMO for a route around Elton Reservoir. In 2019 Bury Council made an  Order awarding bridleway status to this route. Unfortunately there were objections to this decision  so the matter needed to be sent to the Secretary of State (SoS) for decision. Eventually this  application was sent to the SoS in July of this year. We now have to wait for this to get to the head of  the queue for decision. That could be a few more years yet! Not a rush job this Rights of Way work.  Patience is a required characteristic. 

6 Ainsworth DMMOs 

These DMMOs are subject to a Direction Decision from the SoS. They were submitted in 2017 but  Bury Council had not got on with the job so we appealed to the SoS who thankfully told Bury Council  to get on with it. They gave them 6 months to do the job. That was in February 2020. We have been  advised to give the Council an extra 3 months because of the Covid situation. However, Bury Council  do not seem to be in a rush. Comment from the Council in September 2020- 

We work on progressing the others as and when we can given other priorities at  the moment. 

“The others” are the Ainsworth DMMOs.  

Patience wearing thin!


Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan 

RBBA have become aware of the possible financial consequences for equestrians who use horse  boxes of the proposed GM Clean Air Plan. It has been suggested that a levy of £10 for light horse  boxes under 3.5t and £60 for those over 3.5t per day will be charged if they are used within the  Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone. We propose to lobby to get Private HGVs removed from the  scheme.