Eagle-eyed rangers clear the path for local residents

An overgrown footpath that lay hidden for about 15 years has sparked a call for residents to help Kirklees Council report others that may be neglected.

The footpath was recently discovered by Lucy Smith, a Kirklees Council Environment Ranger, while she was on one of her litter picking rounds around Kilner Bank, Bradley Mills, Huddersfield. 

The footpath runs between Bradley Mills Road and Kilner Bank but has not been fully accessible for many years until Lucy spotted something that caught her eye one day:

Environment Rangers, Lucy Smith and Rebecca Hoyle (foreground) at the newly uncovered footpath in Bradley Mills.

“I was on my normal rounds one day and spotted what looked like the entrance to something hidden among the brambles, shrubs and undergrowth.

“I asked some of the locals about it, and they told me that there was a path underneath it all, but it had not seen the light of day for years. As Rangers, we can self-refer a job that we notice on our rounds, rather than waiting for a member of the public to bring it to our attention, or it comes up on a schedule.

“I reported it and got approval to clear it with my fellow Ranger, Rebecca.”

It took Lucy and Rebecca two full days to cut back the brambles, shrubs and undergrowth before removing about half a ton of mud to reveal the concrete steps on the 250-foot-long path.

“I’m personally delighted with the outcome. We had no idea just what lay under it all and to have it back in use is just great. It’s like bringing a bit of Huddersfield’s history back to life as it’s clearly a very old footpath,” said Lucy.

Kirklees Council’s team of Environment Rangers have over 1,000 miles of recorded Public Rights of Way (PRoW) to maintain which include footpaths, bridleways, and byways.

Colin Parr, Strategic Director for Environment and Climate Change at Kirklees Council was full of praise for the initiative and hard work the two had shown in uncovering the footpath:

“Lucy has already had people that live near the path tell her just how much difference it is making to them, as it is now far easier for them to access amenities at the bottom of Bradley Mills Road. The open footpath also provides easier access into the green spaces along Kilner Bank, which is helping people appreciate our environment and keep fit.

“Our Rangers take a personal interest in the work they do, and to see this lost bit of the town uncovered and in use is testimony to Lucy, Rebecca and the other Rangers who work so hard to keep Kirklees clean and green,” said Colin Parr.

The map shows all of the Public Rights of Way (PRoW) in a given area, with different coloured lines for bridleways, footpaths and other path types.

Kirklees Council recently made it possible for residents to look up footpaths, bridleways, and byways on an interactive map on its website. The map allows residents to put in a postcode or address and find any paths in the area.

Colin Parr added: “We have nearly 1,900 Public Rights of Way (PRoWs) in the District, which our small team monitors, and it’s a great help when residents tell us about them being blocked or overgrown.

“With our interactive map residents can go online and check if a route is recorded as a PRoW. The map is also useful when it comes to planning applications or if you are looking at buying property in the area. It is a great free resource, and we encourage everyone to make use of it.”

To make use of the pathfinder, visit Search for public rights of way | Kirklees Council

Anyone wishing to report overgrown paths or pavements can do so via the Kirklees Council website at Report overhanging vegetation and/or weeds.

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