A RIVERSIDE footpath is open in Uppermill again – eight years after this popular route was last in use.
Years of wrangling are over after work took place to unblock a 100 metres section of the footpath linking Bridge Street to Spring Street.
News of a breakthrough in the long running saga has been welcomed by Saddleworth councillor Graham Sheldon and Oldham Ramblers who have regularly campaigned for the path to be re-opened.
Local farmer Adam Hunt with help from Greg Hartley completed the clearance after a local businessman offered to pay for the work.
“Apparently a few people had looked at the job and said they couldn’t do it,” said Adam. “So, we took it as a challenge and did it.
“We had one or two seat belt moments as the digger was on a few precarious angles as there was still some movement in the ground. But there isn’t any now.”
Adam estimates they shifted around 1,500 ton of soil back up from the footpath and built two walls with 800 ton of bricks from Buckton Vale quarry to prevent future landslip.
Volunteers from the Ramblers’ footpath clearance group has also undertaken remedial work, cutting back vegetation, adding water channels and unblocking drainage pipes.
They also hope to re-site a one-time boundary marker stone from Bridge Street onto the path officially known as Footpath 242.
The stone, which could be around 150 years old, was originally erected to mark out administrative areas for the Uppermill Local Board which had government permission to control sewers, water supply and street cleaning.
Ken Smith, Ramblers Footpath Clearance Team Leader (Oldham) said: “All the team were very happy to see walkers already using it.“It was a fantastic job sorting out the drainage. Unfortunately, the boundary marker stone is still in the ground needs a bit more digging out and a heavy lifter.”
Further work will include the erection of fencing on a stretch of path close to the Spring Street end. Clls Graham Sheldon, Jamie Curley and Max Woodvine are contributing nearly £700 for local metal worker Rob Rogers to do the job.
“The area is looking a lot better,” said Cllr Sheldon. “We still need to do some work on the surface to make it less muddy than it is. But we’re going to be working on that over the summer.
“Ken Smith and the Ramblers club did a great job clearing weeds from the path. And thanks to Matthew Moss from Oldham Council, for removing a tree growing right across the path plus another dead Hawthorn.”
Ken’s predecessor, John Walton, had championed re-opening the path for many years submitting a 3,000-word letter to OMBC’s Rights of Way officer in 2018 with ideas on how to potentially break the deadlock. Three years later FP 242 is available to walkers once more.Cllr Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Several years ago privately-owned land slipped, blocking the pathway.
“The landowner was notified about the issue and the public right of way was closed by the council on safety grounds.
“Clearance work has now been carried out by the landowner and we are pleased to see the path open so it can once again be used.”