I met Maggie Thomas, my Open Spaces Society counterpart in Caerphilly, to view the blockages to access on Bowls Lane, which is one of the oldest highways to access the common above Penyrheol estate north of Caerphilly.
Several commoners’ farms are on tracks off Bowls Lane. The lane also provides an important way onto the common for the public on foot, horseback or cycle who have the right to use the common (which is an urban common). However, the lane is deliberately blocked at the cattle grid, making it impossible to ride onto the common. We met riders who had to go long distances by road to exercise their right to ride.
It is not easy for a person to squeeze between a concrete block and the post of the gate at the side (above right), and the lane has been dug out above the grid (above middle).
From the other side, it’s a sorry sight, and, when removed, even bigger blocks and the wire and rubbish were dumped. Caerphilly council are aware, and it is hoped that they carry out their duty to the public by restoring this previously popular access.
We continued up onto the mountain, close to where the byway has been dug up and other unauthorised, unlicenced or illegal acts were recorded on 4th September https://ossjay.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/what-is-going-on-around-eglwysilan-common/ – Maggie and I wanted to see the “ponds” which have been made along the stream which runs at right angles off the byway, Heol Las.
Clearly some heavy equipment has been taken there, spoiling a grassy path which was good for horses, and the soil profile opened up (below left). I love the colours and wildness up there, and we also found a foxglove still in flower (below right).
Over the stile at the end of the path is a view to Abertridw and high up to the right, the Eglwysilan pub.
I took a few photos as we walked back, just to capture the common and its October colours – and the top one shows a bit more digging of the stream.
It is very wrong that the public are being denied their rights to use the common, and it is affecting many of the commoners too.