Goodmanham to Market Weighton new railway footpath

An Example of the Obstacles to be Overcome in the Opening of a New Railway Path.

Our Information Officer Graham Lambert passed onto me this message he had received from a member of the public:

 The former Market Weighton – Driffield line was opened as a public footpath at Goodmanham on 21.04.2021. However, on 23rd April when we tried to walk it we found two 8ft high solid timber fences blocking the route, at approx. SE884425 and SE886429. Right across the cutting! Thought you might like to know!

I was very pleased to hear about the creation of a new railway path in East Yorkshire, a section of the Scarborough, Bridlington & West Riding Junction line of 1890, which closed in 1965. I hadn’t been aware of it, and this goes to show that local knowledge as ever is very useful. It’s fairly short, but it makes a useful circular by also using the nearby Hudson Rail Trail on the old Market Weighton – Beverley line. I went out to the small country town of Market Weighton to investigate the report about it being blocked; the notices were indeed in place giving the statutory announcement with maps, but as the reporter said, it was not possible to get through without coming up against high fences in the way.

This is the official wording on the public notices, and on the Council’s website:

The Order comes into force on 21 April 2021 but if any person aggrieved by the Order wants to question its validity, or that of any provision contained in it, on the ground that it is not within the powers of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, or on the ground that any requirement of the Act or of any regulation made under the Act has not been complied with in relation to the Order, he or she may, under paragraph 12(1) of Schedule 15 to the Act within forty two (42) days from 21 April 2021, make an application to the High Court.

I had by chance picked the right day to go, as there was a helpful East Riding of Yorkshire Council official nearby, supervising two workmen who were rebuilding a plank bridge over a small stream on a path which crosses the old railway in question. I had a word with him and he told me that the landowner had until early June to make representations objecting to the track becoming a public right of way.

The railway path up to the fences has obviously been very well walked by the locals, so it looks as if unofficial access must have been tolerated for quite a long time – it seems likely that the fences had been put there so that no-one could claim to have had unrestricted access, which could prevent the creation of the right of way. The council have been through all the necessary processes though, so I look forward to the path being opened and cleared before long, and we will have a railway ramble there later in the year to celebrate it. You can check the progress of the legal niceties via:

https://www.eastriding.gov.uk/leisure/countryside-and-walks/public-rights-of-way/public-path-orders-and-definitive-map-modification-orders/?entry=sp78130

This is what the East Yorkshire Ramblers had to say in May 2021, in response to our reporter contacting them: 

Thank you for your enquiry concerning the Market Weighton – Goodmanham railway line. 

The obstruction you refer to has been in situ since August 2019. Following an application to have the old railway line deemed a public right of way, East Riding of Yorkshire Council made an Order for it to be a right of way. This was then subject of objections and appeals to The Secretary of State. It was only very recently [25th March 2021] that The Secretary of State’s Department confirmed the order made by East Riding. 

The next stage will be putting in place appropriate signs, ensuring a way through the obstruction is achieved, plus cutting back overgrowth if necessary. These tasks will be dealt with and prioritised by East Yorkshire’s Countryside Access Team.

 I have copied this message to the Countryside Access Team and hopefully the path will be opened as soon as possible. Hopefully the East Riding of Yorkshire Council will prioritise removing or amending the fences.

Jane Ellis.