Restoration … or is it?

Biddenhamites jealously guard their heritage. So we were very excited when we heard, within hours of posting ‘Destruction and desecration’, that work had already been undertaken to restore the Coffin Path.

We rushed down to see. Hmmm. We couldn’t really spot the difference.

We do hope that there is more to be done yet to restore the paths, because can what has been done so far conceivably be acceptable as complying with the obligations of the Rights of Way Act 1990?

You may spot a hazy, vague impression of the paths in some distance shots but as you progress through the field, still trying to avoid spraining an ankle or two, of paths there appears to be nothing.

Apparently, barley has been sown in the field, and the good news is if the barley grows over where the paths should be we are entitled to cut it back. We’d better warn the DIY stores there could be a run on scythes later in the year?

Let’s hope the Borough Council will tell us there is still more restoration work to be done to bring the Coffin Path and footpath 10 back into obvious being and at appropriate widths. We don’t want another ‘dovecote moment’.

This whole saga does bring out the importance of communication. Had villagers known in advance that work was due to be done affecting a right of way, particularly in such a sensitive area and on a path so significant to the village’s heritage, there could perhaps have been proper discussion and agreed action before the event. We have heard there was some discussion between the Borough Council and the Estate last December. If that is the case was any effort made to communicate with Biddenham?

So in the meantime keep on trampling and look out those recipes that make good use of barley.

8 thoughts on “Restoration … or is it?”

  1. Can someone tell us if the Causeway Path has been restored to anything like its original condition?

    1. Hi, Dennis. It depends what you mean by original and when! Its condition was apparently very different in the 1960s and 1970s to how we remember it before the Estate ploughed it up last year. Since then the Estate have done the minimum required but Peter Chase, the Parish Council Chairman, remains in discussions with the Estate and Mr Wingfield to attempt to achieve a more permanent form of restoration. The Biddenham Society is also considering a village ‘Blue Plaque’ to mark its existence and history. I’m not sure where that idea stands at the moment, but Tony Wood may be able to update you. Thank you for your continued interest.

      1. Can someone tell us if the Causeway Path has been restored to anything like its original condition?

        Thanks for the update Peter. Nice to know that it has not been forgotten. I am sure I recall at least sections of the pathway had a firm gravel surface in the 1950s and 60s.

      2. Quite right, Dennis. Jonathan Bean recalls it at that time as a well-kept straight pale gravel path, as recorded in the most recent history book about the village by Kathy Fricker, Mary McKeown and Diana Toyn.

  2. Its good to know that the village is so vigilant in these matters. If development does follow a careful eye will be required to be kept on the village pond.

    1. Thank you, Dennis. The Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond has expressed its concerns for the pond in this connection, including a post on its own website.

  3. All too familiar what with the loss of the Dove Cote and the Duck End cottages. I hope the Causeway is not next on the list of developer vandalism.

    1. Thank you for your comment and concern, Dennis. The destruction of the Coffin Path was discussed at the Parish Assembly last night and there is a strong will amongst villagers to see the path properly restored and restored to its ancient width (not just the bare legal minimum requirement for restoration) and thereafter preserved, so fingers crossed for success with that. There is concern too that this destruction of the path and change to arable use of the field rather than pasture is a move in a process eventually to seek planning consent to build on the field.

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