Green Lane enthusiasts have been in the press again just recently and not for ripping up byways or tearing across moorland, these responsible 4X4 drivers have launched a crowdfunding campaign to restore a damaged greenlane to it’s former glory.
There are certain parts of Doctors Gate Road, between Wolsingham and Hamsterley Forest in County Durham that have become impassable to walkers, cyclists and horse riders due to be being so churned up. Sadly the unclassified county road is in a state largely due because of inconsiderate drivers in off road vehicles. Although a large majority of greenlane enthusiasts will respect the code of conduct, there is always a minority that will please themselves and not worry about the consequences.
The lane has been subject to misuse for some time and has been under the watchful eye of the Green Lane Association (GLASS) for a while. Not only has the lane suffered due to misuse, there has been damage to gates and sign posts, litter thrown around and some vehicles stopped on the lane were untaxed.
GLASS worked with the landowner and placed signs on the lane to discourage misuse of the byway and encourage drivers to be considerate and stick to the legal route. The organisation also advised drivers of motor vehicles to avoid Doctors Gate Road over the winter to prevent unnecessary damage which is often caused by aggressive driving or tires during prolonged wet weather.
GLASS representative for the County Durham area, Andy Hutchfield said: “What these people are doing isn’t ‘green-laning’ it’s a criminal offence, our members have been working hard all year to help stop this vandalism. ‘Green-laning’ is about exploring the countryside using our forgotten unmetalled road network without causing damage to the surrounding area.”
Andy has taken the initiative to start a crowd funding to raise funds to restore the Greenlane and you can see the page here. Whilst the motives of this GLASS rep are commendable, it does raise the question of why are GLASS not doing more and why Andy has been left to raise funds under his own steam.
“Over the last 12 Months I’ve been working with Bollihope Estate installing signage and carrying out general repairs on this magnificent unclassified county road, due to the lack of government funding and maintenance from Durham County Council it now needs some resurfacing and drainage work.
Working in partnership with the Forestry Commission, Durham County Council, Natural England and Northumberland TRF were looking at partly funding it’s repair, the work is scheduled to be completed in the spring/summer of 2017 if everything goes to plan.
We need the support of all 4×4 and quad owners so that we can help safeguard its long term future and stop it from becoming another “Hexham Lane”.
GLASS are working closely with the Forestry Commission and Northumbria Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) to raise funds to repair the unclassified road. They seek to raise £1,500 so that Durham County Council’s Highways department can begin repairs to the route, so far £1,205 has been raised towards the target.