B is for byways

B is for Byways

Footpaths
For pedestrians only. Dogs are permitted under close control and as long as they keep to the footpath. Prams, buggies and wheelchairs are also permitted, but for most footpaths in the area this is impractical.

Bridleways
For walkers, horseriders and bicyclists. Bicyclists are expected to give way to walkers and horseriders.

Byways Open To All Traffic (BOAT)
These are open to motorists, bicyclists, horseriders, motorcyclists and pedestrians. They are often signed as 'byways'. Cars etc should be registered, taxed etc as per the road. Hurst Lane is a BOAT and 4x4 enthusiasts petition from time to time for it to be made accessible for off-road vehicles.

Restricted Byways
Restricted Byways are created under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Their access is similar to that of bridleways.

Historically (and not complete):

Highways Act 1555
Two Surveyors of the Highways were elected every Easter. They were to be 'honest persons' and to be responsible for the upkeep of highways within the parish boundaries. They were entitled to designate four days before midsummer on which the entire parish would maintain the highways.

The Act was originally in force for seven years.


Highways Act 1562
The Highways Act 1562 (5 Eliz.1 c.13), effectively extended the above act for another 20 years but extended the availability from four days/year to six. Supervisors of Highways were also allowed take debris from quarries and dig for gravel without permission of the landowners.

Fines were introduced for non-compliance by the Supervisors of Highways.. Certainly in the Clitheroe Court Rolls residents of Deadwenclough and elsewhere were amerced every year for failing to maintain the highway. However it is not clear if they failed to attend on the designated days or failed in their duties as Surveyors of Highways or were responsible for the highways on or adjacent to their land.

The development of steam locomotives (and later automobiles) and their use on the highways led to the Locomotive Acts of 1861 and 1865 (the latter known as the 'Red Flag Act' due to its imposition of 4 mph rural speed limit and the need for the vehicle to be proceeded by a man with a red flag) amongst others. These were introduced secondary to fears that these vehicles would damage and block roads, scare horses and cause noise and other disturbance. All correct. They also covered vehicle registration and weight restrictions over bridges and the like.

The Highway Act 1835 (5 & 6 Will 4 c 50)

This transferred responsibility for highway maintenance from the Supervisors of Highways to the parish surveyors. It also replaced the requirement for annual labour with a levy on land occupiers to cover the costs of maintenance.

Regulations re driving on the left and not on the pavement were also introduced in this Act.


A second aspect of byways is that of
rights of way. Rossendale is stuffed full of rights of way, largely secondary to the system of summer and winter pastures and the use of common land which may have been at some distance from the primary holding. Much of this common land was at Henheads, roughly the top of Cribden Hill. Other areas of the countryside were less well covered with rights of way and landlords often restricted access. These resulted in acts of mass trespass including that at Kinder Scout in 1932. More locally, an earlier act of mass trespass took place at Darwen Tower in 1896 after the new landowner attempted to block rights of way. Rights of way blockage is still an ongoing problem.

National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 arguably emerged from the Kinder Scout trespass. In addition to formalising legislation on rights of way it laid down the outline for National Parks and areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

One consequence of this Act is the incorrect recording of many bridleways, byways open to all traffic and roads used as public paths merely as 'footpaths'. Cyclists and horse riders have been instrumental in attempting to have many of these reclassified.


Highway Act 1980
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/contents
Covers the creation, maintenance, improvement and stopping up of highways, including footpaths and bridleways.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/pdfs/ukpga_20000037_en.pdf

This Act implements the so-called "right to roam" on certain upland and uncultivated areas of England and Wales. Swinshaw moor above Springhill is open access land created under CROW. This act also permitted (legitimate!) access to the summit of Cribden.


Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009
Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011

The Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 sought to bring clarity to the rights of way by giving individuals and groups a deadline of 30 Mov 2012 to register rights of way or risk their being close. The latter act extended this deadline until 30Nov 2021. This pair of acts has provided further impetus for old ways to be correctly identified and registered.