Rochdale CHA Rambling Club

Footpaths Work


Help maintain our network of public footpaths.

If your walk has been spoilt by a wonky or broken stile, a blocked path, a mass of barbed wire or other obstruction, don't just grumble, let the Footpath Secretary know about it. He'll investigate and do his best to make sure somebody sorts it.

Rochdale CHA Rambling Club's Footpath Secretary is John Oliver.

Tell him about any problems or issues you find and give as much details of the location as possible eg Rights of Way (ROW) or grid reference of the location. If a photograph of the problem could be forwarded, that would be much appreciated. Email contact is preferred: or you can ring John on: 07854 602738.

Since taking over the position at the end of 2012 John has introduced himself and established working relationships with, amongst others, Martin Riley of the Peak and Northern Footpath Society and Roy Thornley and Derek Clutterbuck, Footpath Secretary and Assistant Footpath Secretary of the Rambler's Association, Rochdale Group.

Julie Simpson is Rochdale MBC's Rights of Way Officer and has an apprentice, Harriet Morley.



The following were reported by Rochdale CHA Footpaths Secretary John Oliver to the Committee on 1 October 2018:

Permanent Diversion of Part of Definitive Footpath RocC Fp12 at Prickshaw

The Council’s Structural Engineer assessed the trestle bridge and concluded that it was in a dilapidated condition as the beams carrying the deck were rotten.  In order to ensure public safety the bridge has been removed, that part of the public right of way has been stopped up, and the line of the footpath diverted.

Public Path Diversion and Definitive Map and Statement Modification Order

Because of a new housing development by Taylor Wimpey UK Limited, the public right of way (Mil Fp330) which used to start 31 metres north of the most north east corner of Ginnel Farm, Broad Lane, will now start 16 metres north of the most northerly part of Ginnel Farm, Broad Lane, and continue to run along the north side of the M62, albeit with some other minor modifications to its original route.

Public Footpath Creation Order

The public rights of way which run from School Lane down towards Paper House Bridge (Hey Fp11) and over land at Paper House Bridge (RocE Fp43) have been upgraded to a public bridleway, together with the diversion of Hey Fp11 and RocE Fp43 near the Three Owls Bird Sanctuary.  ‘Obstacles’ will be installed to prevent motorcycles accessing the bridleway.


OCTOBER 2018 update

The following footpath reports have been submitted to Rochdale MBC's Environmental Management for attention:

  1. The unauthorised temporary closure of the short easement path (RocB Fp3) by the side of Marathon Belting, and next to the Oxford Pub on Whitworth Road, made necessary by the need to clear Japanese Knotweed or Himalayan Balsam from the grounds of a house nearby and the footpath itself. 
  2. A slight obstruction to the path (RocB Fp8) by a displaced hedge and the footpath’s signpost to the west side of 20a Albury Drive, caused by a motoring accident.
  3. Local concern about the poor state of a track which leads down from Elmsfield Avenue, Norden, to the village.  This track does not have a footpath designation. It’s not known if a claim will be made for this track to become a public right of way.
  4. The lack of a Footpath Sign for the footpath (RocA Ruup9) which leads down to Greenbooth reservoir from the south side of 4 Field View Lane, which is located at the new Greenbooth Village housing development.
  5. A footboard missing from the footbridge along RocA Ruup9, which is to the rear of 4 Field View Lane, Greenbooth Village.  A new footboard has been installed.
  6. A report about enormous holes to the surface of the car park down from the White House Car Park.  This report was passed to the Highways Department who have filled in the holes and repaired the surface of the car park.
  7. The stile at the public footpath sign at Lydgate, Littleborough, has had two extra bars added to the top making it very difficult to climb over. 


APRIL 2018  The gated entrance to RocB Fp9, on the east side of Shawfield Stones Farm was reported by John Oliver as being permanently locked three years ago. This matter now seems to have been resolved by Julie Simpson, Rochdale's Right of Way Officer. Here is her recent response to John: 

I am aware of this gate at Shawfield Stones Farm and last year I served notice as the gate was locked on my site visits, I have visited on 3 occasions and found the gate unlocked and available for use as I stated in the notice that I would remove the gate if I found it locked.  The lock has been left on the gate to give the impression that it is locked during my visits however if they have started locking it again I will seek to have the gate removed to ensure the footpath is not obstructed in the future.

UPDATE: On 1st Aug 2018 the Ramblers reported RocB Fp9 at Shawfield Road Farm was again blocked by a locked gate. 

UPDATE: The locked gate which has been obstructing RocB Fp9 at Shawfield Stones Farm in Norden for a number of years, was removed on Friday 21 September 2018, by order of the Rochdale MBC ROW Officer




Harriet Morley, Rights of Way Apprentice, has completed her survey of the condition of the Rochdale Way, noted the lack of signs and drawn up a schedule of other work to be completed. Together with Julie Simpson, Harriet has also walked/inspected the section of the Pennine Bridleway which lies within the Rochdale area and drawn up another schedule of work.


Action to claim a footpath along the Rochdale Way as a Public Right of Way.

A section of the Rochdale Way which follows Middleton Road over the M62 at Junction 19 then right to Siddal Fold and Langley Lane into Birch, isn’t recorded on Rochdale MBC’s Definitive Map and Statement as a Public Right of Way.

A request was made to Club members for help and information on the footpath. In particular, any maps showing the footpath before the M62 was built between 1971 and 1976 and copies of handwritten or printed walks that use or make reference to the footpath.

UPDATE: A pre 1971 A-Z atlas showing the path is supporting the action.

UPDATE: The Rochdale MBC ROW Officer's report about the Claim for a Public Right of Way as between Middleton Road, Heywood, and Siddal Farm, Birch, is to be considered by the Middleton Township Committee on 11 October 2018.

UPDATE: Julie Simpson, MBC's Rights of Way Officer, has confirmed that at its Meeting on Thursday 11 October 2018, the Middleton Township Committee approved her report on John Oliver's "Application for an order modifying the Definitive map and statement to include a footpath running from Middleton Road (Adjacent to 300) to Siddal Farm, Middleton". Julie Simpson can now proceed with the order. This means that "In addition to having consulted the Middleton Township Committee there is a statutory procedure involving notification to the landowner and statutory consultees and a requirement to publicise in the press and on-site the Council's decision to modify the Definitive Map and Statement.  If there are objections to the Order by any person then it will be referred to the Secretary of State who may hold a Public Inquiry or require Written Representations".


Problems concerning footpaths in the area bounded by Clegg Hall, Branch Road and Wildhouse Lane were raised by a CHA Club member.

UPDATE: An Enforcement Officer for Milnrow and Newhey accompanied John Oliver in March 2013 which has led to Rochdale MBC agreeing to provide new footpath signs, waymarkers, a new stile, a bridge-style structure over a brook and to require a landowner remove barbed wire from a stile and another landowner to cut back an overhanging hedge. UPDATE: This section was looked at again by John Oliver on 27 August 2012 and no work seems to have been done. Rochdale MBC Highways Department was contacted again on 3 September 2013.


Problems concerning footpaths in the Rossendale area - Lower Clowes, Irwell Valley, Irwell Vale

Barbed wire around a kissing gate, a footpath collapse and a broken stile were reported to Lancashire County Council's Rights of Way Team on 19 August 2013


Problems concerning the Beal Valley Way were raised by a CHA Club member.

A blocked gate near Belfield Mill and the redundant siting of a waymarker on the Rochdale Canal.

UPDATE: As the section of the Way concerned could not be found on maps a request for information was made to Groundwork (who it was thought laid out the Way around 12 years ) A copy of an out-of-print Beal Valley leaflet was eventually obtained from Terence Cavanagh, Oldham Public Rights of Way Officer via Oldham Council’s Regeneration Department. Officers from the latter were involved in creating the Beal Valley Way as part of the Mersey Basin Campaign in the 1990s. We were informed part of the Way between Derker and Bullcote Lane/Cop Road is ‘still to be finalised as part of the land fill operations and various planning requirements


Problems concerning footpaths between Belfield Lane and Headland Hall.

The misalignment of footpath signs, gate and stile obstructions and maintenance concerns were reported to Rochdale MBC Highways Department on 3 September 2013.


Problems concerning footpaths between Cronshaw Farm and Clegg Hall.

The requirement for several waymarkers, for obstructions to be cleared and a brook crossing provided were reported to Rochdale MBC Highways Department on 4 September 2013.


Problems concerning a footpath between Clegg Hall and Belfield Mill

Instances of overgrown vegetation and stiles needing attention were reported to Rochdale MBC Highways Department on 6 September 2013.



Quarterly meetings are held at Rochdale Town Hall. The Forum provides an opportunity for Council Officers and elected members to meet with representatives from the Ramblers Association, the Rochdale CHA Rambling Club, the Peak and Northern Footpath Society, Littleborough Civic Trust, the Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association and others organisations to share news and views on matters relating to the Rights of Way network, closures, stopping up orders, diversions, planning applications which may have a footpath interest, gating orders, obstructions, enforcement and legal issues.

Current discussions:

•A 15 year project to develop a Roch Valley Trail from Bury to Littleborough.

•Plans for new linear trails eg from Heap Bridge to Heywood, Queen’s Park to Springfield Park, the development of Mandale Park.

•Attention had been brought to the need for preventative maintenance of footpaths in Cheesden Valley, Naden and Greenbooth and to landowners’ management of land drainage.


These are advisory Bodies established under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 with the main function being to provide independent advice on the improvement of public access to land in the area for the purposes of open air recreation. The Oldham and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Councils are to be contacted to check if they would like to appoint a new LAF, under joint arrangements with Rochdale, in line with a Rochdale MBC Cabinet decision of 14 September 2009.


Rochdale has the largest Rights of Way network in Greater Manchester with a total of 1,782 paths covering a total distance of 552 km (343 miles). Online maps of footpaths, bridleways etc in the Rochdale MBC area can be found at: Rochdale MBC, along with other local authorities, has a legal obligation to produce a Definitive Map and Statement of all the Public Rights of Way in the Borough and to produce a Rights of Way Improvement Plan, under section 60 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and to review this plan at least every ten years. The RoWIP is a ten year plan published in October 2007 which aims to assess the needs and demands of current users of the Public Rights of Way network; to produce a Definitive Map and report on the condition of the network; and, based on that assessment, set out a 10 year vision for the improvement of the network by April 2016. Three years funding for this plan has been approved from April 2013. Although the RoWIP document is no longer available in hard copy it can be downloaded here:

RoWIP will review, for example, ‘any irregularities between the Definitive Map and accompanying Statement; developments that have taken place resulting in the apparently unlawful loss of a Right of Way; private works that have obstructed or effectively altered the course of the way; and Legal Orders and dedications that have not been recorded on the Map and Statement.’

The plan also identifies “Better access for older people and people with disabilities” as one of its key improvements and concern has been raised by John Oliver that the poor condition of many of the stiles he’s visited in the borough lead him to question if Rochdale MBC is following DEFRA’s guidance to local authorities ‘...on meeting their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 - formerly the Disability Discrimination Act – as regards structures, such as stiles and gates, on public rights of way. The aim is not to require replacement of all existing structures, although programmes to make gradual improvements are to be encouraged, but rather to ensure ‘any new structures introduced impose the least possible hindrance to access’ in the following order of preference – Gap, Gate, Kissing Gate, Stile. See also the raising of this point in connection with the Rochdale Township Green Infrastructure Plan.

Although Rochdale CHA Rambling Club is primarily interested in the maintenance and development of the network of footpaths for walking, there is an awareness of the potential a highly accessible network of footpaths holds in achieving Rochdale’s five Strategic Objectives by 2028 i.e. by helping to deliver “...a more prosperous economy: create successful and healthy communities: improve the design, image and quality of place: promote a greener environment, improve accessibility and deliver sustainable transport.


The plan is to be considered at a meeting of the Rochdale Township Committee and if approved will then go to public consultation for a period of 4-6 weeks.

In connection with this plan, John Oliver has drawn attention to the potential of the European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) for 20 mph to be the default speed in built up and residential areas. This will encourage walking and cycling which will in turn increase the health and well being of people of all ages and abilities.

Rochdale CHA Rambling Club has made recommendations for the plan and several of these have been included in the agreed Schedule of Changes to the Rochdale Township Green Infrastructure Action Plan (RTC GIF REPORT Appendix C - Agenda Item 9)

In particular that:

Rochdale MBC adopt and implement the main recommendations of DEFRA guidance to Local Authorities ‘Authorised Structures’ (gaps, gates & stiles) on Rights of Way

‘Good practice guidance for local authorities on compliance with the Equality Act 2010’. This asks Local Authorities to consider whether a lawful barrier along a Right of Way might be a gap, gate, kissing gate or stile with consideration being given not only to the operational needs of landowners but also to people with mobility problems. It was pointed out that the more restrictive the barrier, the greater the cost. For example, it's cheaper to introduce a gap in a wall or fence than it is to provide a gate, a kissing gate or a stile.

It was also pointed out that a highly accessible network of footpaths holds great potential in achieving Rochdale’s five Strategic Objectives by 2028 i.e. by helping to deliver “...a more prosperous economy: create successful and healthy communities: improve the design, image and quality of place: promote a greener environment, Improve accessibility and deliver sustainable transport”. (Rochdale Publication Core Strategy – January 2013 pages 19 to 21. SO1, SO2, SO3, SO4 & SO5

UPDATE: A 71 page draft document has been made available for consultation until 2 August 2013 at Rochdale Libraries and online here:

UPDATE: At a meeting of the Rochdale Township Committee on 4 September 2013, the final draft of the Rochdale Township Green Infrastructure Action Plan was up for discussion and approval. John Oliver and club member Ann Beasley attended and John spoke on the points raised above.

The good news is the Rochdale Township Committee noted or agreed withal of the points, in summary: about funding, safeguarding woodland, the impacts of withdrawal of bus services, the challenge of maintaining the existing greenways (rights of way) network, easier and better access to information about the Rights of Way network to encourage its wider use, and the adoption of the DEFRA "Good practice guidance for local authorities on compliance with the Equality Act 2010"

Contact Information

Rochdale CHA Rambling Club

Tel: 01706 848180