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Figheldean 12 Proposed Change from Bridleway to Byway

by Figheldean Webmaster at 12:46 18/05/07 (Rights of Way)
Figheldean 12 is currently a Bridleway that heads west from the A345 junction by Alton Magna farm, through the racecourse at Larkhill and ends near to Robin Hood's Ball.

I've received a letter from WCC (Wiltshire County Council) asking if we (ie the Parish) object to it being changed into a Byway Open to All Traffic.

The issue has arisen because another path - Figheldean 21, which is a Byway Open to All Traffic that runs from Larkhill Camp to Netheravon via Anniversary Plantation, intersects with 12.

Since the meeting point isn't a precise crossroads, but is offset by several yards, anyone using 21 has to travel a short distance along 12 before they can continue on their way.

However whilst on 21 they are allowed to drive any vehicle, on the section of 12 they are only allowed to walk, cycle or ride a horse (or drive a horse-drawn carriage or cart).

Here's a map showing the relevant area, with the paths marked (click on it for a slightly larger version):

A consequence of converting Figheldean 12 from a bridleway into a byway would be to then permit people to drive motorised vehicles along its entire length from Alton Magna to Robin Hood's Ball.

This has actually been proposed before, back in 1968 as part of a special review of rights of way. At that time, both the MoD and the Parish Council objected to the change, and a letter to the Dept of the Environment in 1973 from the PC stated:

"It is the Parish Council's opinion that these paths should remain as bridleways by reason of the fact that they have not been used for vehicular traffic in living memory and are impassable to such traffic. The intrusion of vehicular traffic would be of serious detriment to other users of these paths in their enjoyment of the countryside, which in this instance is beautiful downland."

The recent letter from WCC says that the MoD now no longer object to this reclassification from bridleway to byway, and so they (the Council) are asking if we are also prepared to withdraw our objection "...to avoid the anomaly" where the two paths intersect.

Anyone with a view on this, please either get in touch with me directly (phone number in the parish magazine, or email to webmaster@figheldean.org) or post what you think in the forum, where I've started a new discussion thread on the topic.

Next Parish Council meeting is 7th June, where I'll be bringing this up for a decision, so please let folks know in case they want to contribute and don't happen to see this message.

Update: 2007-06-07

Having now been out and walked the length of Figheldean 12 up to and beyond where it crosses Figheldean 21, I've discovered that in fact Figheldean 21 doesn't exist on the ground at all in this area.

It looks like Larkhill Racecourse has blocked it off at some point in the past (quite a long time ago, judging by its total invisibility).

I've therefore relayed those findings to WCC, as it is bound to affect the situation.

Update: 2007-08-02

Now in abeyance - deferred by WCC in light of other plans to reorganise many of the RoW anomalies across the Plain in one go.

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