Kilvey Hill, on the east of Swansea, has been used by generations of people from the terraces and estates around. Unusually, as I found out when invited as nearest Open Spaces Society representative, the network of lanes and tracks have been used by horses and carts, and only more recently for riding – as well as walkers and cycles, of course.
Kilvey SOUL (Save Our Unclassified Lanes) met us and took us up the hill from the St Thomas side, beginning on open land (public-spirited owners still do exist).
It is amazing that there are no records of rights of way on Kilvey Hill on the Definitive Map, and people are dissatisfied with the council Order to create some narrow footpaths along broad lanes. What they want is to have all the lanes used for generations properly recorded as “restricted byways” for walking, riding and horse-cart driving, and there will an Enquiry after some of them objected and started to collect user evidence. As one said later, he just wants everyone to enjoy what he has enjoyed.
We soon met some of the horses, and some of the young men there to take them out. You can see a cart by the hedge in the left hand photo.
One lane below has a creation order as footpath, the other doesn’t. We walked both anyway. The gate has caused friction – it is across an easier way than the steep path to the left. The steep path was too much for one of our group.
One solution could be to create a safer route for limited walkers or riders to the back of Dan y Beacon instead of trying to ignore the unclaimed way.
I was enjoying some of the strange re-growth after a fire.
Kilvey has plenty of plants emerging, with heathers, bilberries peeping up, broom and gorse, and we were lucky with the weather.
Once up at the windmill, views away from the sea were over Neath, and further on, in the distance I thought maybe Gwrhyd Common where I went before (January 6 2012).
Kilvey Hill felt very safe and friendly, with a good stone seat sheltered from wind in any direction once at the main viewing point, from which the Roman road of Morris Lane goes down to Bonymaen.
On our way down, we passed new stables built for more horses. Most properties seemed to have a horse or two.
Another point of friction is where the only lane for cars to drive to properties leaves a residential road, Headland Road. An open gate and a sign “Private Road Authorised Residents Only” has gone up. Some of these obstacles can unfairly deter people on unclaimed highways.
We spent the evening, with tea and a generous tasty spread together with some of those who want the highways of Kilvey recorded for everyone.
A creation order is supposed to be based on public need, and it appears to me that the public have not had their diverse needs met at all. There is hard work to do for Kilvey SOUL to collect sufficient evidence to convince the council to include all the lanes and all the users on their Definitive Map. They certainly have support from helpful Jenni from BHS as well as OSS.
Here is a map of the council’s proposed footpaths (in blue) and the other unclaimed highways (in red) – from Kilvey SOUL’s facebook page. Kilvey SOUL are claiming that all these (blue and ed) are restricted byways.