Blind Lane has a poor history and had an even bleaker future, that is until Devon Trail Rider Federation (TRF) stepped up to the plate. With ruts as deep as four feet, collapsing hedges, TTRO’s, and an estimated £30,000 repair bill and limited funds that wouldn’t stretch that far, without the Devon TRF’s intervention and the kind generosity of three men, this lane would of almost certainly been lost forever.
Ian Collins has been a member of Devon TRF for over ten years and during his time with the organisation he has created a ‘Greenlane restoration’ team, comprised of good willed volunteers. Ian’s group have built up a good working relationship with the local authorities which makes negotiations and planning much easier.
Blind Lane has been blighted with problems since way back in 2009, erosion by water pouring of the tarmac road above the byway has carved a gorge as deep as four feet in places which in turn has undermined the hedges and caused them to collapse. All the materials then get washed onto the road below the greenlane, it was estimated around 45 tonnes had been washed out and onto the road. The erosion was so serious that a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) was placed on the lane in 2012 by the public rights of way (PRoW) wardens.
The Council inspections deemed the site beyond economical repair, with estimates of around £30,000 for repairs and a limited funding it seemed almost certain that this lane was to be closed for good. The Devon TRF met with the local authorities and after speaking with the warden and agreement was reached, the TRF offered to supply the materials and labour to restore Blind Lane.
DTRF member Chris Cole donated 12 tonnes of road form stone which was used to build weirs within the gully running the length of Blind Lane. Chris Selway, a local farmer, has land that runs along side Blind Lane, he provided use of his tractor which was used to move the massive stone into the byway to build weirs at roughly 20 ft intervals, a further 200 tonnes of material was used to repair the lane.
John a third volunteer, owned a 3 tonne digger which was used to dig and level stone.
Brian, another DTRF member who only lived 1/2 mile away from the lane owned a 4×4 five tonne dumper.
Thanks to the joint co-operation between DCC, DTRF and of course the volunteers the TTRO was lifted at the end of 2016. The lane is still an ongoing project to keep it properly maintained, it is also worth noting that this lane will not stand up to 4×4 use, but thanks to the efforts of all those involved another great lane has been saved.
Source: Moving Mountains -TRF