UKC

Wolfscote Hill (Peak District): access?

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 yorkshire_lad2 05 Oct 2022

I was out walking on Sun 2 Oct 2022 in the Peak District, bagging Ethels, one of which was Wolfscote Hill see e.g. https://ethels.uk/ethel/wolfscote-hill

streetmap: http://streetmap.co.uk/map?X=413785&Y=358025&A=Y&Z=115

My walking partner and I came across a couple of signs on the hill, which caused us much thought.

photo of sign: https://imgur.com/gdxY0b7

We approached along the road that is south of the trig point, and on the south boundary of the Open Access land.  We saw a couple of printed notices on the fence about getting onto the hill and the agreement for access being withdrawn, which seemed confusing (they seemed to mix “permissive” and “access”) and didn't seem official i.e. no official livery of National Trust (the landowner), or the National Park, or Natural England, or the County Council, one of which I assume would be the competent authority; according to the Ethels app, the land is owned by the National Trust.  We checked several sources (mapping app, streetmap.co.uk, but evidently didn't have access to the Definitive map on a Sunday afternoon) for latest information as best we could (high on a hill side with little reception on a Sunday afternoon is not the best time/place to do so!) and the Open Access area was showing as intact.  Less confident walkers may be dissuaded by the signs which seem official and ambiguous.  Many people may not understand the difference between permissive routes and CROW “open access”.  We believed the trig point was still accessible and the CROW “open access” land was still in place and had not been rescinded, and went to the trig point.

We saw two signs on the roadside, one at sk 13773 58010 (where the photo is taken from), another at SK 13220 58403
streetmap: http://streetmap.co.uk/map?X=413785&Y=358025&A=Y&Z=115

What do the hive mind of UKH think about the signs?  Are they bona fide by the owner or a statutory body?  Are they clear?  Can CROW "open access" land be rescinded?  Do the signs cover the Open Access land, and any other permissive routes that might have existed (couldn't find any permissive routes, past or present, on the map).

I'm not too fussed, more curious, and wonder if there are readers here who might be able to have more insight (there's no telling who pops up on UKH!), or might know where to get a better answer.  I did mention this to the helpful people at http://pnfs.org.uk/ and although they had already received a similar report, but their view was they only inspect public rights of way, not access agreements.

 mrphilipoldham 05 Oct 2022
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

I've just had a look on the Natural England Open Access map and it doesn't seem to include Wolfscote Hill, but does include Wolfscote and Biggin Dales. The map used is that from OS and you can see the access land markings (though monochrome) and it does indeed show as access land on the OS Map. I wasn't aware of Access Land being able to be rescinded, I was of the belief that once it was, it was permanent - under the current legislation of course. There definitely seems to be some discrepancy and needs to be sorted, either way!

In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Thanks for that suggestion, which led me to look at www.openaccess.naturalengland.org.uk/ which added more information (and discrepancy).  I'll sit tight and see if anyone else happens along this way....

 mostlyrambling 05 Oct 2022
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

Last time I was there was July 2020.

There used to be permissive access (marked by a tatty sign) through a gate that was further back along the lane - maybe around about the 'W' in Wolfscote Grange on your map, IIRC.

We used to regularly walk up to the top of the hill from that gate via the field neighbouring the access land, then along the summit, past the trig and down to the gates at the arrow on your map.

When I was there in 2020, the tatty sign I mentioned was gone and when I came down to the gates by your arrow they were locked, meaning I had to climb over to get back onto the lane.

I assumed it was Covid related. I live just outside Buxton and I noticed a few unofficial signs saying public footpaths were closed and even fingerposts removed over that summer.

Whatever the reason, it's sad to see that people are still potentially being put off accessing the hilltop. Even if you can't walk to the summit the way I used to, I'm sure people are still within their rights to climb gates or fences to enter the designated access land - it's just whether they know that or feel comfortable doing it.

 l21bjd 05 Oct 2022
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

I've been up Wolfscote Hill a couple of times - last occasion on 30/04/2017.

I took a photo on that walk likely at the same spot as yours of the signage that was present then - this is where the arrow is on your streetmap link. I recall it struck me as slightly odd at the time, hence the photo so I could read the small print later. I don't know if I can upload it here and retain sufficient resolution to read the small print (not in the next couple of minutes anyway...).

Anyway, the sign has an OS map (1:10000?) and the area marked and two adjacent fields to the northwest are indicated to be "Permissive Open Access" : "access is provided under the [DEFRA] farm conservation schemes as managed by Natural England". Other stuff, then "Access ends on 31st July 2017".

Jon.

In reply to l21bjd:

Thanks for that, which helps shed some light.  I'm now about to send an e-mail off to the open access e-mail address at Natural England (shown at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england#org-contacts) and see what that brings.

 Mike Peacock 05 Oct 2022
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

As someone unfamiliar with the area, my (possibly flawed) assumption would be that those signs pre-date CROW and refer to old permissive paths that perhaps let walkers access the hill before access land existed. I mean, CROW isn't "permissive" is it? It's the law.

The OS maps online at Geograph (https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3309427) show access land, so I would ignore the signs and head for the trig.

 Hardonicus 05 Oct 2022
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

Don't worry about it - next time just trespass if you need to.

Post edited at 14:54
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

Was also up there a few weeks ago - just climbed over the gates to gain the access land. But good effort for taking it up with NE. I too wasnt aware that there were different types of access land. Be interested to hear what reply you get.  

As a side issue - the Ethels seem to me to a bit of an arbitrary list - the 2 equally fine hills to the SW (Narrowdale Hill and Gratton Hill) are not Ethels. Also quiet a few of them are on private land.

In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

I came across this several weeks ago and contacted the PDNP Access Officer but I haven't heard anything back. I'll try again.

In reply to Mike Peacock:

I can confirm, as a one time NE permissive  access contact, that that is the case!

And thanks for the example .  NE have just commissioned a survey to assess what  happened to expired permissive access agreements once the agreement ended ie were they kept on unpaid or closed. All agreements for access on foot (either path or area) on OA land should have been closed once CROW rights were enacted but  many signs stayed up. 

In reply to phizz4:

That's good to know.  I sent an e-mail to the openaccess address at Natural England, so we might get some clarity between us!

In reply to Bulls Crack:

> I can confirm, as a one time NE permissive  access contact, that that is the case!

> And thanks for the example .  NE have just commissioned a survey to assess what  happened to expired permissive access agreements once the agreement ended ie were they kept on unpaid or closed. All agreements for access on foot (either path or area) on OA land should have been closed once CROW rights were enacted but  many signs stayed up. 

This is really interesting and helpful.  Thank you. Hopefully this will give some clarity at places like Wolfscote Hill (and confirms my hunch that UKH contains an enormous wealth of experience and knowledge on this and other matters!).

In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

I've just found(*) Derbys CC mapping portal (Spectrum Spatial Analyst) (which isn't obviously the definitive map, but I don't know whether the definitve map is only rights of way and not access areas, so relevant here or not) which appears to show the access land is still present

https://maps.derbyshire.gov.uk/connect/analyst/mobile/#/main?mapcfg=Ordnance_Survey_Maps&x=414932&y=358079&zoom=7

*: courtesy of another posting on UKH!

In reply to Bulls Crack:

Looking at that particular sign it should not be there any longer since it could cuase confusion/ give the impression there is no access on that land (I'll let the area team know) 

 l21bjd 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Bulls Crack:

In my earlier posting I'd said I was last there in 2017, but I've seen that I went back in September 2018. The detailed signs I saw showing the permissive access agreement and that it would end on 31/07/2017 were still there. The sign photographed by the OP is relatively new. The sign in 2017/18 included information about the existing OA land along Dovedale and Biggin dale. It's marked separately on the OS map on the sign.

 AukWalk 07 Oct 2022
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

Interesting, I had not heard of permissive access land before... The CRoW access land checker doesn't show wolfscote hill as access land, so that would fit with the previous agreement being permissive and now having lapsed.

http://www.openaccess.naturalengland.org.uk/wps/portal/oasys/maps/MapSearch/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gfdwMzDyNnA0v_kCBXA08DT38XHy9PQ38DE6B8pFm8AQ7gaEBAdzjIPrN4M3cfC0MnfwNLg0A_CwNPC3MTI0cPbwMDY1OIPB7z_Tzyc1P1C3IjDLJMHBUBQs8ezw!!/dl3/d3/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/

Would be interesting to know the full story about it if the access officer replies... 

Post edited at 12:47
1
 Adam Long 10 Oct 2022
In reply to AukWalk:

I've made some enquiries with the BMC access team.

The NE map is correct, i.e. it is not CRoW land. There was an agreement for permissive access which has now been withdrawn.

So presumably the OS yellow shading sometimes refers to open access other than land dedicated under CRoW. Neither NE or OS websites seem to be clear on this. But for future reference I will be inclined to treat the NE online maps as definitive.

The PDNPA Access & ROW officer and the Local Access Forum are aware of the issue and efforts are being made to persuade the landowner to reverse his decision.

In reply to Adam Long:

The NE map should be correct and I'm guessing the OS is still showing the permissive area even though they generally don't show shorter term permissive agreements. I will contact them

 Darrengold 18 Nov 2022
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

Has this issue been resolved? I've read two different things this week saying opposites. I was hoping to tick this off my Ethel's list next week but don't want to fall foul of any trespassing rules

 Babika 18 Nov 2022
In reply to Darrengold:

I'm really baffled by the statement in the OPs first link which says "these 34 acres of land were bequeathed to the National Trust by Lady McDougal in 1939 with common rights"

How can the current landowner (the NT??)  simply ignore the original rights of a bequest to the nation? 

 mrphilipoldham 18 Nov 2022
In reply to Darrengold:

Just go for it. If anyone stops you all they can do is ask you to leave. 

 Adam Long 18 Nov 2022
In reply to Darrengold:

>Has this issue been resolved?

I don't think a resolution is likely in the short term. However the delayed review of access land is finally taking place so there is a good opportunity.

>How can the current landowner (the NT??)  simply ignore the original rights of a bequest to the nation?

Seems unlikely if the NT is still the landowner - but it may have been sold. Most, but not all, NT land is declared inalienable.

In reply to Adam Long:

According to the NT Land Map it is still accessible NT land https://national-trust.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=59d0d36e5b3a44ae8cc49fe38d47ffd7

Oddly, and perhaps wrongly, it was also  a permissive access agreement under Higher Level Stewardship but has now expired. 

I've contacted the National Trust and I need to check what went on Natural England's end. 

Post edited at 16:17

 Darrengold 20 Nov 2022
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

Thanks for your replies, I'm hoping to tick a few ethels off this week, this being one! I'll tread carefully

In reply to Bulls Crack:

> Oddly, and perhaps wrongly, it was also  a permissive access agreement under Higher Level Stewardship but has now expired. 

> I've contacted the National Trust and I need to check what went on Natural England's end. 

Thanks for the info that NT area using the arcgis mapping (along with people like the *Ramblers Scotland Mapping).  Useful to know!

Also, hope you won't mind if I offer a link which goes straight to Wolfscote Hill (in this instance): getting a deeplink into the arcgis is not always easy! The link you offered doesn't drill to the location, it justgoes to the top level.  But I'm sure you know that. But it may help others

https://national-trust.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=59d0d36e5b3a44ae8cc49fe38d47ffd7&marker=-1.794408645301657%2C53.120524889826996%2C%2C%2C%2C&markertemplate=%7B%22title%22%3A%22Wolfscote%20Hill%2C%20Hartington%22%2C%22longitude%22%3A-1.794408645301657%2C%22latitude%22%3A53.120524889826996%2C%22isIncludeShareUrl%22%3Atrue%7D&level=15

Thanks for your input on this thread: it's been invaluable and really interesting.  Where else would we get such insight!

(*: e.g. Ramblers Scotland

https://ramblers-msp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=cce6c804b7694ffea83408d7b637b4ab&marker=-4.051170705999937%2C57.08024507500004%2C%2C%2C%2C&markertemplate=%7B%22title%22%3A%22%22%2C%22longitude%22%3A-4.051170705999937%2C%22latitude%22%3A57.08024507500004%2C%22isIncludeShareUrl%22%3Atrue%7D&level=13

Post edited at 10:32
In reply to Babika:

> I'm really baffled by the statement in the OPs first link which says "these 34 acres of land were bequeathed to the National Trust by Lady McDougal in 1939 with common rights"

> How can the current landowner (the NT??)  simply ignore the original rights of a bequest to the nation? 

A better source for the wording might be the NT mapping site itself, given thanks to Bulls Crack reference to the NT acgis mapping site and I've added a direct url on that below to Wolfscote.  The wording on the NT site is:

"Wolfscote Hill, Hartington - 13.78ha (34.05 acres) The summit of Wolfscote Hill offers views of Wolfscote, Beresford and Biggin Dales. Given in 1939 by Lady McDougall, with common rights in the Manor of Hartington, in fulfilment of her husbands wishes.". 

IANAL, but it would depend on what the terms of the donation or bequest were.  There are many types of donation and bequest, some have strings attached and some cannot/do not. I'm also conflicted because I'm a walker (and Etheling) and I'm also a trustee of a small-ish charity that has quite a bit of farmland/woodland in the charity (somewhere else a long way away) so I see both sides of the fence

In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

 

I've just had an idle moment and dug deeper into the NT arcgis map, and if you toggle the Layers (esp the "Land Always Open"), that layer suggests that part of Wolfscote Hill (according to the NT arcgis map), is "land always open".

In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

I have had a reply from the NT.   Apparently the access was  permissive (via stewardship agreement) despite the land being in NT ownership but this has now ended. The NT are currently discussing options with the owner about restoring access. 


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