The all-too-beaten track! ‘Off-roaders’ churn up ancient route

OFF-ROAD vehicles have left a Springhead lane so churned up that even farmers cannot use it.

The ancient highway of Wood Brook Lane, which connects the area with Lydgate, has become a haven for drivers looking to go off the beaten track.

Trouble is, that track is now so beaten, those living off the land around it cannot use it.

Wood Brook Lane churned up

When the Saddleworth Independent visited the area, one farmer told us how he cannot operate his tractor along it as it has been battered so much.

And at one end, towards the Spinners Arms pub, homeowners are faced with mud being kicked off vehicles and onto theirs.

A number of videos have appeared on YouTube showing vehicles traversing Wood Brook Lane, which starts off as a hard-surfaced road at its junction with Platting Lane.

It quickly ends but as it is an ancient highway, cars are allowed to drive along it, even through the brook that runs across it.

But Winter weather, coupled with an explosion of people off-roading, has left the mud virtually knee deep and almost impossible to get through.

Now Saddleworth Parish councillors are looking to stop the steady stream of vehicles making lanes if what was once a scenic green hill and is now a quagmire.

Councillor Luke Lancaster echoed the concerns and complaints of residents in terms of damage to the lane’s surface and safety of walkers who use the Lane itself and the footpaths that cross it in letters to Oldham Council.

He said: “Like so many I enjoy walking my dog Oscar around Wood Brook so it is a shame that Oldham Council is not willing to listen and take action against dangerous drivers, who jeopardise our safety.

“Oldham Council is not willing to listen and take action against dangerous drivers”

“Hopefully it won’t take for somebody to be seriously injured before they do anything about it!”

Because it is an ancient highway and despite the councillors’ best efforts, an Officer at Oldham Council has confirmed: “It is not possible to separate out a certain type of vehicle when they have a legal right to be there.

“The many conflicts of various stakeholders sometimes cannot be resolved easily or indeed at all by a Highway Authority.”

However, they have had some success; Oldham Council are now maintaining the surface of Wood Brook Lane.

Fellow parish councillor Max Woodvine added: “These hamlets are a hidden gem and walkers from surrounding villages, whether it’s Springhead at the bottom or Lydgate at the top, should be able to enjoy them safely without fear of silly SUVs etc speeding around.

“Walkers are always welcome at Wood Brook!”

4 Replies to “The all-too-beaten track! ‘Off-roaders’ churn up ancient route”

  1. In 1962 I was able to drive my first car, an old Ford Pop, the full length of Woodbrook Lane. It is one of several old Saddleworth roads, usable in the 1960s, but now lost to lack of OMBC maintenance and inappropriate use by off-roaders. The lost roads include Shaws Lane (Uppermill), Hunters Hill Lane (Diggle), Low Gate Lane (Castleshaw), Old Thorn Lane (Greenfield)and the top end of Stanedge Foot Rd to Stanedge Cutting.

  2. I agree . Also up Larkhill lane Delph. Off roads are going up and into the quarry we’re ground nesting birds and Hares are nesting at this tome of the year
    It’s feels like the countryside has been taken over by reckless vandals and law abiding people have no means of stopping it

  3. I totally disagree with Luke Lancaster and MAx Woodvine. These lanes have always been open to vehicles and just because it disturbs their dog walking is no reason to stop it. Sensible use is the key and most off orad drivers are keen to preserve roads like this as it gives them somewhere to drive. The use of TROs at certain times of the year could be considered by the council to help maintain the roads but they are there for the enjoyment of all including pedestrians and motor users.

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