Things you're not allowed to do in Britain anymore

Originally Published: October 2016

Another popular and sustainable right of way senselessly extinguished, as Peak Pasture is administrated out of existence

ONE OF BRITAIN’S MOST SCENIC and easily driven green lanes has been downgraded to a bridleway – after a long-standing application to have it correctly recorded as a byway failed on a series of technicalities. Located near the Derbyshire village of Calver, the lane known as Peak Pasture has long been open to 4x4 drivers thanks to its status as an unsurfaced highway. This would have been enough to guarantee its status had it not been for the effects of the 2005 NERC Act, as a result of which the application was made to recognise it as a byway. Peak Pasture was not contentious in the same way as some lanes on which motor vehicle rights have come under attack in the Peak District National Park over the last few years. With a good, all-weather surface and little or no potential for conflict with local residents, it was the sort of lane whose correct classification as a byway should have been an open and shut case. The failure of the argument in favour of what should be evident was caused largely because the original application for byway status had not been entirely accurate about the right of way’s legal route. The trail on the ground has twists and turns which are not highlighted on the 1:50,000 OS map; it’s not known whether this was in part responsible for the applicant’s error, however the Green Lane Association reports that this was only one of several technical
reasons that prevented the inspector from being able to award the lane what any rational person could see is its appropriate status. The loss of Peak Pasture comes at a time when another well established right of way in the area, Black Harry Lane, is faced with the fate of becoming a dead end. Once again, this is an entirely sustainable trail with a robust surface and no obvious local conflicts, however uncertainty over the route of the public highway in an area with a history of quarrying means the Planning Inspectorate is proposing to classify a short but critical section of it as a restricted byway.

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