Engine Lane mischief afoot?

I notice today from Warren Parry’s excellent Ogley Dirt Farmer blog that somebody has blocked the public right of way from Engine Lane, Brownhills onto the off-road section of National Cycle Route 5 towards the canal on the old mineral line. This is a worrying development.

Click on the screenshot to visit the original article.

Warren has also pointed out that someone seems to be keeping cattle on the land there. Whilst there is farmland adjacent, I’m wondering if these are the same cows I’ve noticed being grazed in a field off Green Lane Walsall Wood recently. They’re only a small herd – about 7 or 8. They’ve been in a pasture there that’s been fallow for some time, but I’ve only seen them there on a couple of occasions, and I’m not sure it’s been entirely legitimate. A notice posted on the gate (now removed) by Natural England warned that animal grazing there was notifiable since the SSSI notification.

Image by Warren Parry. Click to visit his blog post.

I will check the Engine Lane situation out when I can, hopefully some time tomorrow. Since the barriers were added at Apex Road and up at Brownhills West, motorbike scrambling there has all but ceased, so I’d be surprised if that were the cause of the chain, and I’d be equally shocked were it Stevie Ansell’s handiwork, as it would surely obstruct her riders.

On the subject of the riding school, I have no problem with it either, as it’s presence seems to be keeping ASB down, and it is nice to feel folk are around up there. Sadly, the flytipping seems to continue unabated.

The chain and barbed are are concerning, and I shall complain to the council and Sustrans on Monday. It’s wrong to block a public right of way, whatever the motivation.

Cheers to Warren for spotting this, and do check out his blog while you’re over there. He writes some great stuff.

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19 Responses to Engine Lane mischief afoot?

  1. Rob says:

    Blocking cycle access to canals?

    Nothing to worry about, more a cause for celebration for people who pay to use them.

  2. Hi Rob

    The Canal & Rivers Trust were appealing a couple of weeks ago for the DoT, cycling England and CTC to get behind their plans to double the length of cycle tracks beside canals. Of course, hard up as they now are, the C&RT are after the funding to restore their neglected banks and bridges.

    With the government subsidy of £800 million over the next fifteen years, plus the massive amount of taxpayer cash that subsidised British Waterways before the trust (affording Chief Exec £280K a year), I think we all pay for it. I don’t think the 3 or 4 licenses held between the scores of local canal fishermen really paid for that…

    Every time I exchange a greeting with a fellow canal lover – be they boater, fisherman or walker, I smile, knowing a little bit of you is further enraged by the harmony.

    Toodle-pip.

    Bob

    • Rob says:

      Yes, we do all pay for it through general taxation but angling revenue to BWB was over £600,000 in 2010, that’s £600,000 more than cyclists contributed, so those 3 or 4 licenses must have carried quite a premium.
      You mention “scores” of local canal fishermen, a few years ago it would have been hundreds, but most of them have departed for the new “commercial” style fisheries like Coppice Lane in Hammerwich or Pipe Hill farm, where for some strange reason the owners have neglected to construct a cycle track around their waters.

      Exchanging greeting with fellow canal lovers is not unique. I’ve done it thousands of times with boaters, walkers and anglers, whether I’ve been out fishing or on a hire boat.
      The fact that you can’t do it without grinning and thinking about me seems rather strange – I don’t whether to be flattered or extremely concerned.

      • Rob says:

        * don’t “know”

      • Hi Rob

        Actually, it’s not. Sustrans – the cycling charity – funded nearly 1.5 million quids worth of towpath improvements in the same year, as part of the National Cycling Network (NCN) – that’s the same scheme that resulted in all the waterway improvements in Brownhills a while back. I contribute to Sustrans and the CTC like many cyclists do.

        Can’t imagine why the fishermen are going to the commercial fisheries – what with their huge specimen fish, great facilities and stuff. Real mystery that.

        I’m happy to share the cut, with those also happy to share – be they boaters, walkers, canoeists, fishermen or whatever. If you can’t share, perhaps you’re best where there’s nobody to offend you. Although I’m sure you always find something.

        Keep smiling

        Bob

        • Rob says:

          So if it could be established which towpaths your charity has funded you could stick to those, and the fishermen can keep to the ones we’ve been contributing to since the inauguration of British Waterways and previous owners before that.
          Well done on your “waterway improvements” in Brownhills, I was unaware that they had become unnavigable.

          The commercials became popular with ex-canal anglers because they provided a peaceful respite from the towpath interruptions, including carbon-pole wrecking, a real mystery as you say.
          Virtually none of them had huge specimen fish when they first opened, the owners couldn’t afford to stock specimens on top of the cost of land purchase,excavation, secure fencing, landscaping, etc. They’ve grown on over the last twenty or thirty years, but you obviously know all that.

          As I fished the canals regularly for over thirty years before the cyclists took over I can only assume I must have been capable of sharing with a few of the previous users.

  3. Peter says:

    The tax payer pays for the upkeep of the canals, simple.
    I pay tax therefore I pay to use them.
    Nothing complicated about that, unless you want to make it complicated of course!

  4. jim says:

    I noticed a stray cow wandering the common near the rising sun about a month ago I dread to think of the possible carnage should it have run into traffic on the A5. I noticed the chain on engine lane the other day I assumed it was the responsibility of the horsey crowd as their lock on the gate was missing. I can’t say I’ve been amused by the piles of horse s**t littering the pavements on Coppice side either.

    • brian james says:

      Lock has never been off gate,keys are with me and a set at Big house farm,gate access is available to anyone with a legitimate purpose i.e disabled persons,as for the horse poo our riders are not allowed to ride down coppice side for this reason as Stevie is very strict on these issues,however we are not the only ones who have horses in the area but my wife and i usually clean it up no matter who’s horses its off,pity some one does not do same with dog poo

      • Hi Brian
        The gate isn’t the issue, but the chain across the public footpath is dangerous and illegal, as it’s blocking a public right of way.
        As pointed out to Stevie on Facebook, stringing stuff over cycle paths is the equivalent of stringing stuff over bridleways. Nobody wants to be dragged of their ride – be it bicycle or horse – in that way. I say the chain on sunday, and it was still blocking the pedestrian access.
        On the whole there’s plenty of goodwill to the riding school here on the blog, but that chain was a definite no-no.
        Cheers

        Bob

  5. brian james says:

    hey Bob,did remove chain as soon as i got their Sunday,realise i made error of judgement for which i apollogise,sooner or later there is going to be a serious accident caused by off road bikers,be it with walker,rider or cyclist.
    feel free to drop in for a cuppa whenever your passing

    • Cheers Brian

      I’ve worked hard on this blog to highlight the issues with illegal offloading – both at Engine Lane, Chasewater and up on Cannock Chase, and have received abuse for it. I will continue to do so, too – not only does it wreck the footpaths, but it scares the deer and and wrecks what is usually a lovely spot.

      Thanks for removing the chain. Glad you understand.

      Anything you want, just drop me a line.

      Cheers
      Bob

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  7. jim says:

    By lock missing I meant the gate was open no locked I assume the lock was on the chain instead

    The most direct and really the only viable route between the Litchfield road and Engine lane sites on horseback is along Coppice side. Having seen horse droppings on the footpaths between the two the most notable pile being on the Jolly collier bridge I think I can be forgiven for my assumption.

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  9. paul evans says:

    HI
    COULD SOMEONE TELL ME IF THERE IS A BRIDLEWAY ON THE LAND IN QUESTION ON ENGINE LANE ?
    IT CLEARLY STATES ON THE GATE, CYCLE ROOT 5. THE HIGHWAY CODE SECTION 54 PG 20 STATES NO HORSES ARE ALLOWED ON CYCLE TRACKS. THIS HOWEVER IS BEING USED CONSTANTLY BY HORSE RIDERS, WHERE THEY ALSO MOUNT THE FOOTPATH/PAVEMENTS WHILST HACKING OUT. A CONCERN THAT THIS IS A BREECH OF THE HIGHWAY CODE. IF THIS IS FARMLAND AND A PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY THEN WHY ARE DOGS ROAMING AND FOULING THE LAND FREELY?

    PAUL.

    • Yes, it’s a bridleway. All off-road cycleways are by default, the Highway Code is referring to onroad cycle paths.
      Further, there are extensive footpaths and bridleways throughout the area of the common. Sustrans instructions relating to cycleways like NCN 5 (which they govern) is that cyclists give way to pedestrians and horses.

      As a cyclist, I understand that a cycleway allows me passage but does not confer superiority over other trail users.

      Dog fouling is a problem due to some careless owners, it’s no different at Engine Lane than anywhere else.

      Cheers

      Bob

      • brian says:

        Hi Bob,on 23 dec there was a lorry in engine lane loading 7 quad bikes,thats the real problem,if not stopped there will be nowhere left for people to walk,horses/cyclists to ride or dogs to foul

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