Slow gate

It is a lovely walk from Hill Bridge, Peter Tavy, on Dartmoor up through fields known as Coffins, to the road near Baggator.  But in May 2014 it became much more difficult, especially for walkers with dogs.

the offending stile

the offending stile

The land had changed hands and the new owner put a wire fence across the field, presumably to prevent cattle from going down to the river.  He put a stile in the fence where it crosses Peter Tavy footpath 39 (grid reference SX 532803) without obtaining consent from the highway authority.  A structure across a public highway is an obstruction, unless the authority has granted consent under section 147 of the Highways Act 1980, on agricultural grounds.  The Dartmoor National Park Authority acts for Devon County Council in such matters and has a policy on such consents which favours the least restrictive option.

Walking across Coffins in 2005

Walking across Coffins in 2005

The awkward stile was extremely irritating, especially for dog walkers as it could not be easily negotiated by dogs and they could not get under or over the fence.

web signI complained to the Dartmoor National Park Authority.  In July 2014 Andrew Watson, head of access, replied that he would ask the landowner to apply under section 147 for a gate.  Nothing happened on the ground, and I inquired about progress many times.

At last, when I visited earlier this month, I saw that the stile had been replaced with a gate, 19 months after my first request.

A campaign success—but one which was a long time coming.

The new gate

The new gate



About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in Access, Dartmoor, Obstructed path, Public paths, walking and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Slow gate

  1. Geoff says:

    Only 19 months! If only we could have such a speedy resolution in Lincolnshire! I recently complained about a wooden barrier placed at waist-height in front of a stile (to stop horses gnawing at the stile). The reply from Lincs Highways was, it was ‘priority 4’.
    On a ‘this year, next year, sometime, never’ scale, priority 4 is ‘never’.


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