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Community shut off from Clyde Walkway

I often enjoy a walk along the Clyde Walkway. It runs past my home town of Carluke, gives people easy access to neighbouring towns and villages and it’s a great way to see what Lanarkshire has to offer.

Posts featuring the Clyde Walkway

The Clyde Valley has always been an important area within our small community. For generations, our ancestors have worked in the many orchards that appeared on the banks of the Clyde; fishing has always been very popular as the Clyde stocks Salmon and Trout; the many estates employed local workers to maintain the ground and the gardens. Countless families have enjoyed Summer days swimming in the Clyde and enjoying many of the meadows that it has to offer. Most recently, the banks of the Clyde have been used for walking and cycling  due to the hard work South and North Lanarkshire councils have put in creating and maintaining the Clyde Walkway. It has been celebrated as a fantastic place for wildlife and nature with rare peregrine falcons living on the banks of the Clyde.

The main access route to the Clyde for all Carlukians has always been down Milton Road, passed the General Roy Monument and passed where the old Milton Lockhart castle used to stand.

Milton_Lockhart_-_(Scotland)

The road/paths original purpose was an access road to the Castle which was constructed in 1829 by Mr William Lockhart, M.P. for the county. He was the brother of John Gibson Lockhart, biographer and son-in-law of Sir Walter Scott. The author chose the site. The castle was then removed from Carluke in 1987 and moved brick to brick to Japan, selling off an important part of Carluke’s local  history and culture. This road is embedded into Carluke’s history.

Recently there has been building on the Milton Lockhart estate which I believe most people in the area where quite indifferent about. Personally, I was glad to see the area being used, it is a beautiful spot and I was happy to see the restoration work that was taking place to the access bridge over the Clyde. The construction was on a large scale and as far as I could tell they were bringing in the resources for the build via Milton Road, the access path to the Clyde Walkway. I know this as I walked the path to the Clyde Walkway during the construction. I was happy to see that the new owner had done some work to the road and overall I was not made to feel unwelcome as I passed through.

More recently, my girlfriend and I decided to go a hike down to the Clyde Valley via Milton Road. We walked through Jocks Gill, came out at the General Roy Monument and then followed Milton Road until we were greeted by a large, aggressive fence. I was amazed to see it blocking the road as this is the only access Carluke’s residents have to an important part of their area. I had a good look around the fence to see if there was a gate to allow pedestrians through to the Clyde Walkway. There was none.

Below is a map demonstrating the location of Milton Road, the Access Route(that we have been stopped from using), the aggressive fence and The Clyde Walkway.

To see this map in more detail please following the following link.
https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zaMFdPntZAJU.kDVpTvu2aaEE

 

I have been walking for many years now, over the Lamberton Hills, The West Highland Way, The Great Glen Way, bagged a few Munros and I have never seen a public road blocked off by a large, resident built fence. I have seen local residents trying into intimidate walkers to not walking the road (see my post about Rural Carluke), but I have never seen a resident constructing a large fence to stop peaceful walkers from accessing a road that has been open to the residents of Carluke for many generations.

This is not just an issue for local residents. Many users of the Clyde Walkway have previously got the train to Carluke via the Milngavie line and walked via the Clyde Walkway in the Glasgow direction. This gate stops visitors from doing so and I am concerned that Carluke will become disassociated with the Clyde Walkway now that the connection road has been closed off by the new resident built fence.

Moreover, there seems to be some legal issues….

Rights of way in Scotland
In Scotland, a right of way:

  • is any route that people have been able to walk on for at least 20 years
  • must link 2 public places, eg a village, church or road

Source: https://www.gov.uk/right-of-way-open-access-land

Would Carluke and the Clyde Walk Way count as 2 public places? As a layman, I would say yes, but I would love to have a second opinion on this.

What would I like to see done about this? I am happy for the new resident to have a gate up to stop cars driving down; that doesn’t bother me at all. But this gate should have a small pedestrian gate to allow people access to the Clyde Walkway. If the owner is worried that pedestrians will be getting too close to the house, they can put up signs directing walkers along the most efficient path to their destination. If the owner is worried about crime, fly tipping etc, then I refer them back to the document I linked to earlier.

Changing a public right of way
Local councils can:

  • make new routes – where they think there’s a need
  • get rid of a route – if it can be shown that there’s no longer a need for it, or to prevent crime (eg if it is allowing robbery or drug dealing to take place)
  • change the route temporarily or permanently – but only if the new route is just as convenient

Source: https://www.gov.uk/right-of-way-open-access-land

I would like to see our local authority getting involved, it is their responsibility to make sure any right of way is free from obstruction.

Duty of local authority to uphold access rights

  • It is the duty of the local authority to assert, protect and keep open and free from obstruction or encroachment any route, waterway or other means by which access rights may reasonably be exercised.

Source: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2003/2/section/13

My main issue with the gate is that I believe that it is against Scottish Law. I am no lawyer and I would love for someone more qualified than me to comment on this issue.

This article was not written in order to rally people together or to encourage people to take action. I wanted to highlight this issue and to bring it to the attention of those who may not be aware. I would also like to invite anyone who has read this article to contact me via the comments section at the bottom or via email. I am keen to make sure that this article is as accurate as possible and I will make clear any updates or amendments that have been made to this post. While researching I have came across an e-petition created by Russell Hall which can be found here – http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/61955

On social media there were a lot of heated opinions and language being thrown around over this issue. I would like to invite everyone to show some restraint with the words they use to express their frustration; all comments are welcome but they will all be moderated.

Other articles you may be interested in reading on this subject:-
Your access rights – Scottish Natural Heritage
Access Law and Scottish Outdoor Access Code
Freedom to roam – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Clyde Walkway – Walkhighlands
Lockhart Castle – The Scottish Castles Association
Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 – legislation.gov.uk
Milton Lockhart Estate E-petition

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