Some of the reasons why you might want the bridleway plans to go ahead are given by a visitor to the blog. Their comments (in full) are:
I’m quite concerned about the new bridleway at Chadkirk not going ahead. The tarmac route on Vale road is very dangerous!
1. Bikes going too quickly,
2. The blind corner with cars
3. Car drivers get very angry as they can’t pass on this section once a horse is using it
4. The tarmac surface is very slippy and unsuitable for horse shoes especially when damp
5. The new bridleway would create a fantastic loop in the area, especially with the new chadkirk bridge and pathways.
6. The area committee has already approved this route, and Stockport council as a land owner dedicated the route
7. This would also be of huge benefits to cyclists and walkers alike, at the moment the end of this proposed section has steep steps which makes bike access and buggy access in particular difficult
8. The chadkirk estate is a real gem on the outskirks of Stockport, why restrict the available usergroups to a narrow footpath?
In response: here’s a perspective from a walker who uses the footpath and country park.
My response as both a walker and an amateur naturalist recording wildlife at Chadkirk, is as follows:
1. From what I have seen of the plans, they involve a bridleway around 3 sides of the field. This field forms part of the official SMBC-created Chadkirk Nature Reserve and the bridleway would destroy part of the existing wildlife sanctuary for wild flowers, bees and other insects birds and mammals. (Although the field is now grazed by cattle, I believe that these are only put in the field after the wildflower, bees, nesting season is over.) At a time when we are being exhorted to increase wild flower meadows it seems that SMBC is doing just the opposite.
2. The footpath around the outside of the perimeter of the field is used by many people every day. It appears that the first part of this path from the Chad’s well end is being preserved but the section parallel to the road alongside the stream will have to share a wide bridleway with horses and cyclists, which makes little sense. I foresee that this bridleway will be very much used by riders from Lower Dale Equestrian Centre who, now that a private bridleway connects the Centre with the new bridge, will be able to in effect extend their own equestrian facilities (at ratepayers’ expense?).
3. Having said all that, I have nothing against horse riders and am very pleased to see the use they are making of the new Sustrans route. Walkers, horse-riders and cyclists are all making proper use of the countryside in healthy activities and we should support each other. We need to resolve any conflicts of interest in a friendly and constructive manner.
4. Whatever happens re the bridleway plans, the footpath alongside the stream should be entirely retained. I suggest also that the bridleway should just run parallel to the wide part of Vale Road so as to avoid the problems described by the horse rider.
5. What does annoy me is that SMBC seems to make decisions without consulting any of the interested parties other than horse riders – namely walkers, dog-walkers, cyclists, ratepayers etc. It still seems to be a total mystery as how the Council can afford to do all this when it is making so many cuts in its environmental and parks staff and services. Where is the money coming from? It also seems to forget that it has designated the area as a nature reserve.
6. I am sure that with a proper consultation process the problems can be sorted out to the benefit of everybody.
Below is the response from the visitor to the blog who gave us our first ‘view from the saddle’:
£20,000 as already put aside by sustrans is a drop in the ocean. Have you seen the money spent on path repairs at werneth low? Well over £50,000 this is straight from the taxpayer though not sustrans.
The wildlife effect will be minimal, a bridleway causes little disruption, look at established bridleways through the moors.
There was another incident with a horse rider and a car last week, prior to that an altercation with a cyclist and a car over the cyclist not using the vale road “footpath”. The residents are under the disillusion vale road is for cars only and all other traffic should use the gated footpath.
The new bridleway favours all usergroups and this is what 99% of Councillors will want.
This comment was made on 22 November.
Here are a few facts and ideas in response to these comments:
‘£20,000 as already put aside by sustrans is a drop in the ocean. ‘
The funding is not from Sustrans.
Sources at SKMBC state that £20 000 was allocated by central government – so it is tax payers money.
It is not clear that £20 000 will do the job.
Where will the rest come from?
‘Have you seen the money spent on path repairs at werneth low? Well over £50,000 this is straight from the taxpayer though not sustrans.’
Repairs will be the responsibility of the local authority. The total allocation for the whole of Stockport is £30 000.
Cost cutting continues to reduce what the local authority can do. Priorities must be established.
Is this one which will offer enough benefits for people to move it up the priority list? Compared to, for example, maintaining existing facilities or supporting the Ranger Service?
‘The wildlife effect will be minimal, a bridleway causes little disruption, look at established bridleways through the moors.’
There are few examples of this kind of habitat remaining. Chadkirk Country Park was established with conservation in mind. It is an asset of environmental significance and value.
‘There was another incident with a horse rider and a car last week, prior to that an altercation with a cyclist and a car over the cyclist not using the vale road “footpath”. The residents are under the disillusion vale road is for cars only and all other traffic should use the gated footpath.’
More horses crossing Vale Road at a blind bend may not reduce the accident risk.
‘The new bridleway favours all usergroups and this is what 99% of Councillors will want.’
Other user groups would need to be properly consulted before anyone can know that.
Councillors will be evaluating the evidence and then making a balanced decision.