Author Topic: Flambirds Challenge  (Read 761 times)

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Flambirds Challenge
« on: 07 April, 2021, 07:01:51 pm »
http://streetmap.co.uk/map?X=581865&Y=200760&A=Y&Z=120 refers

Anyone who cycles regularly in mid-Essex is likely to have used the Flambirds Farm track. We used it quite regularly when the WARTY series was in full swing, and it's been used by the CTC for their Sunday runs, the Southend Wheelers, the 40+, and plenty of other casual groups as a great way to hear up towards Maldon SE Essex. I recall first using it in the 1970s and 1980s, and many, many times between returning to cycling in 2006 and the lull which began for me in 2014. I think the last time I used it was in February last year.

I understand from the SE Group of the Essex CTC that the landowner has, some time last year, put up signs that cyclists are no longer welcome, and that people have been challenged by "jobsworths" when they have cycled through. The whole of the track is made of concrete segments, and the section from Hackman's Lane (the road leading south out of Cock Clarks) is used as vehicle access to the Stow Maries World War 1 aerodrome, which is often open to the public and has tea rooms etc. The section at the SW end is a public footpath so, technically, one should not cycle on that, but several decades of precedent having been set, I understand that it is possible to mount a legal challenge to what the farmer/landowner is trying to do - introduce a retrospective cycling ban when the track has been used by cyclists pretty much throughout living memory.

I wondered if anyone on here has been challenged or seen the signs? I understand that CTC have been contacted by people in the SE group and that the possibility of a formal legal challenge to the landowner is being investigated. I wondered if there's anyone on here who has used the track recently, has seen the farmer's signs, or has been challenged when riding through. Mid-Essex people? Is this part of your "domain"?
Bach without a doubt.

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #1 on: 07 April, 2021, 07:45:45 pm »
Pre-lockdown I used it a lot, but not so much of late, perhaps a couple of times last year.  I could check exactly how many times IICBA.  It is a useful cut through though!

I've never been challenged - but I'm usually on my own.
Regards,

Joergen

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #2 on: 07 April, 2021, 08:24:08 pm »
Yes I was challenged using the route...

Cycle with a friend from the East Hanningfield end in the Autumn and was challenged by a guy who seemed to own a property off Flambirds Chase. He wasn’t unpleasant but wanted to know why we had ignored the signs, told us that it had become like a motorway with cyclists in lockdown and how that his wife was scared as she was isolating.......the house appeared to be 100+ metres from the road so hardly a real risk.
I did the profuse apologies routine, didn’t know the signs had been put up, previously used this route etc

If needed I can probably work out the date this happened.

I have also used the route 4+ times in the last 2 years. At least 2x with a group of cyclists from Maldon

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #3 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:19:52 pm »
One of the blokes from the SE Group was very forthright in his attitude when he went through, and it seems there's a good bit of case law which enables rights of way to be established based on length of use. https://www.oss.org.uk/need-to-know-more/information-hub/rights-of-way-applications-to-record-public-paths-after-twenty-years-use/?fbclid=IwAR2QH8mKwwojQRVOA1gZP3Y6ddd3merMgOVef-HCOGVQArWmHNRrIGhHaVI refers.
Bach without a doubt.

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #4 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:29:09 pm »
I think I've ridden it around 22 times since 2015, though I think my last time was about a year ago.
Regards,

Joergen

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #5 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:53:03 pm »
Between 1985 and 2000 I used the track probably a thousand of times. Never approached by anyone in that whole time. Always in a car.

Since 2015 I have used the lane probably one hundred times, as a car driver, solo cyclist and tandem pilot (35/50/15-ish resp.).

One time I rode it, last year, a car was quite aggressive in the manner that it passed me.

Never been verbally challenged about using the track though.

Jeffrey Ott

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #6 on: 07 April, 2021, 10:07:32 pm »
I'm stretching the grey cells but access by prescription appears to potentially apply here.  If you do not prevent people regularly using access across your land for an extended period of time (25 years comes to mind) then I believe you are most of the way to fully establishing a right of way.  The important bit is to make an effort to prevent use by means of for instance locked gates or permanent fences.  I don't know how the rightnof way is fully established: sorry.

I use a "private road" on a regular basis and have been doingnso for the past 20 years.  I know people who have been using it for at least double that.  There is a sign stating that it is a private road but no attempt to close it off.

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #7 on: 07 April, 2021, 10:17:14 pm »

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #8 on: 07 April, 2021, 10:23:48 pm »
There are 2 gates but neither have been locked anytime I have been through

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #9 on: 08 April, 2021, 07:15:32 am »
Are they closed?

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #10 on: 08 April, 2021, 08:28:07 am »
Closed but not locked

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #11 on: 08 April, 2021, 09:39:07 am »
Hmmm.  That is more persuasive in their favour then if people are having to open the gates to go through.   Lots to contemplate here.  I can see arguments and justifications on both sides.

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #12 on: 08 April, 2021, 10:26:58 am »
Is it a permissive pathway on the OS?
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #13 on: 08 April, 2021, 11:12:37 am »
No. See link in Wow’s original post

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #14 on: 08 April, 2021, 11:34:06 am »


Route highlighted in Yellow, There are 2 gates, metal on at roughly where the '57' is (but with a foot or so clearance around the post for footpath entry) and a wooden gate secured with a rope hoop at about where the '82' is.

This is from the PROW records
The following colours have been used for the coloured lines:
    solid red line: footpath;
    solid fuchsia line: bridleway;
    solid green line: restricted byway;
    solid blue line: byway open to all traffic.

http://www.rowmaps.com/showmap.php?place=Chelmsford&map=OS&lat=51.737&lon=0.473621&lonew=E

Regards,

Joergen

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #15 on: 08 April, 2021, 01:48:56 pm »
Had a look at the Library of Scotland 1895 map. No clues on there as is shown mainly as dashed track/other road,  a length of road facing the farm and then footpath onwards much as now. Not sure what a £ notation across a track signifies and can't find anything that mentions these in notation notes for the period. Grid ref is given in the street map above.

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=53.31808&lon=-2.24052&layers=168&b=1
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #16 on: 08 April, 2021, 02:12:46 pm »
The track appears to be called Flambird's Chase on some maps and doesn't show as a right of way as far as I can tell   I'm thinking that if a section is already designated footpath (the sw section) then that implies to me that the rest is private.

I'm not saying that it cannot be challenged, just how I have interpreted it.

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #17 on: 08 April, 2021, 03:43:29 pm »
Had a look at the Library of Scotland 1895 map. No clues on there as is shown mainly as dashed track/other road,  a length of road facing the farm and then footpath onwards much as now. Not sure what a £ notation across a track signifies and can't find anything that mentions these in notation notes for the period. Grid ref is given in the street map above.

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=53.31808&lon=-2.24052&layers=168&b=1

The long S shows that the land on both sides of a boundary belongs to the same owner, I think.

There's a document somewhere on the NLS maps site that gives the key for these old OS maps.

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #18 on: 09 April, 2021, 02:38:55 pm »
That's interesting about the second gate. I only ever remember one gate, secured to a post with a loop of rope. That was the metal one about 300 metres south of Flambirds Farm.
Bach without a doubt.

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #19 on: 09 April, 2021, 03:22:15 pm »
I used that track many times as a decent route from Southend to Maldon.  It enables cyclists to have a decent ride without being on main busy roads.  Did it a couple of times on the motorbike too.   "Private road" to me does not mean "no access", I have relatives who live on a "private road" and I have to use it and park on it whenever I visit.  I know of several other "private roads" which are fully open to traffic (residents) and which we use for cycling, and can easily drive in a car too.

However I've not cycled it in ten years or more. :(

Re: Flambirds Challenge
« Reply #20 on: 09 April, 2021, 03:48:12 pm »
A private road is just like any other piece of private land such as your driveway or garden for instance.  People have a habit of taking what is convenient for them as being their defacto right of way.  This is often not the case but equally not often enforced.

Because it has been used informally for a very long time the case for it to remain as a public access looks to have some merit on paper but equally the case for the owner to decide to no longer permit access also has merit.   It could get very expensive and I am not familiar with recent case law in this area.