Concern as river route faces axe
Published at 07:40, Wednesday, 21 August 2013
WALKERS in Prudhoe are kicking back against proposals to extinguish an old footpath leading down to the riverbank near the town.
The path runs to an idyllic spot across the Tyne, from the old ferry landing in Ovington and is favourite location for walkers.
The passenger ferry once formed a link between the two towns with the path allowing passengers access up to Prudhoe.
Although the river crossing ferry is now a thing of the past, the pathways down the river in both Prudhoe and Ovington remain in use.
However, Northumberland County Council is now proposing to close the pathway from the boundary with Prudhoe, halfway across the river.
If closed there will be no access by foot to the riverbank in the area around Eltringham Farm.
The definitive map of the area, prepared in 1950 when the ferry was in force, shows that the footpath on Ovington’s side is a public right of way.
However, the footpath which links the riverbank to Prudhoe is not shown on the map as having a corresponding public right of way.
Members of the community group Prudhoe Path Force, who argue that the footpath is needed by residents, are now researching the issue.
Mavis Harris, of Prudhoe Path Force, said: “The proposal is to close the path on the line of where the passenger ferry came across, which goes halfway across the river to the boundary with Prudhoe.
“The link with the Prudhoe side has never been noted on the definitive map as a right of way but obviously it has been used by people who used the ferry.
“We need to find out why that was not made a right of way and then I hope that we can go about claiming it.
“The reason the county council has given for the proposed closure is that as the ferry is no longer used there’s no need for the path.
“But there are a lot of places elsewhere in Northumberland where there are paths that go down to the river so people can go down and look at the scenery and the bird life.
“So we don’t feel that it’s a very valid argument.
“A lot of people over the years has used the river bank for recreation.
“It’s a beautiful spot, people take children down there and possibly paddle in the river and have picnics.
“I think it would be a shame if that was taken away.”
The issue was raised at a meeting of Prudhoe Town Council where Mrs Harris voiced her concerns to the councillors.
There was broad agreement to wait until the next council meeting to respond to the proposed closure.
In the meantime, Prudhoe Pathforce will gather evidence regarding the history of the riverbank footpath.
Mrs Harris said: “We will need to visit the archives to look into the matter.
“We need to establish the correct line of the path. We would also like to hear from anyone who has used the path going down to where the passenger ferry was.”
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk
This week in... 1950Friday, December 15, 1950....
THREE watercolour paintings donated by Queen Mary were auctioned off to raise money for a new Darby and Joan club in Hexham.
A site had already been bought, but a further £6,000 was needed to run the club for the elderly.
The auction, opened by Viscountess Allendale, saw the paintings raise over £8 for the fund.