I checked out a path between Pontypridd and Abercynon because the council are sensibly consulting Open Spaces Society before making an Order for a diversion. The path, Footpath 30, runs easterly from Pen-y-Parc farm, a holding with horses along a single track road out of Coed-y-Cwm, Glyncoch.
At right angles to path 31, Footpath 30 starts behind Pen-y-Parc farmhouse, going through a gate and across the garden, its paddock and over fields and forestry to the railway. Or it should, according to the definitive map of rights of way.
The gate was open, although it had a fresh bolt inside suggesting it may not always let the public through.
The diversion would move the path from the middle of the lawn towards the stream (in the photo taken from the bottom of the garden, diverted to the left) which would not appear to affect public enjoyment; it would then turn down the track towards the fields.
At this stage, I realised that the present line of the path has disappeared. A manege has been built over it including some new earth deposits in order to make the manege level.
In other words, the diversion is not about the public walking across the lawn, but is about the path having been destroyed. I like to ride in an all-weather manege myself, but rights of way have to be respected before soil gets shifted and walls and fences put up.
Obviously the recent rainfall makes for mud, and the proposed diversion is pretty bad. The main problem though is that I couldn’t find the end of the diversion, where it should rejoin the present line of the path.
A woman was wading through the field: “You can’t go through here.” Yes, we can legally, I told her, it is a public right of way. “You should ask the owner before going on property. You are rude,” the woman repeated. She didn’t listen.
We looked about for the path: it is somewhere over this field and doesn’t seem to have any footfall. Can a path be diverted if you cannot find the place where the diversion ends?
We gave up and tried something else. Back in Coed-y-Cwm, there is a way leading off the end of Ynys Hir, parallel to the railway, which looked a possible way to find the other end of Footpath 30, through the woods.
Sure enough, above and opposite Parc Newydd and the Stormstown Junction, there is a clear path going up through the woods towards Pen-y-Parc (below left), and the path carries onwards towards Abercynon (below right). Both directions of path 30 are being used, unlike the bit through the farm.
Reflecting, I now wonder if that garden gate is often closed and bolted, and the public have been deterred from using the path through the farm and field. Now that is both rude and not legal.
The diversion does not look problematic as long as access is not deterred or obstructed as now, and the path needs waymarking and accessible gates to standard.