Friday 14 September 2018

Rights of Way and fruit

I been wanting to get back to doing some cycling, I've tried before and struggled with the hills. I live in a village where every route back home is up hill. I went to the very interesting and very exciting Fully Charged Live show, all about renewable energy and low emission vehicles, such as electric cars. One of the areas there was about electric bicycles and electric skateboards and mountain boards. My brother loved the electric boards - he's a kite surfer and snowboarder, so he took to it straight away. I really, really liked the e-bikes. When I got home I checked out a local bike shop, borrowed an e-bike, sailed up the hill home with ease and bought the mountain bike version. It is fantastic.

I'm happy with how courteous and respectful most drivers are, but there's always a few idiots and it only takes one to cause a serious problem, so I like to get off the roads. I've been wandering the paths and tracks near home on my new bike and loving the fact that hills are now not obstacles but instead are fun.

Today I followed a route I've walked and cycled for years and I thought I knew very well, but as usual, when you take a close look at familiar things new stuff emerges. Mapping makes you look closely.

I have the file of Public Rights of Way that the East Riding of Yorkshire council have finally released under OGLv3. I am grateful to Robert Whittaker for his persistent and skillful chasing of the council. He got the data released under the open licence where I had failed.

In general the data shows where rights of way are present and shows the footpaths, bridleways and byways as expected. Today I followed a route which used various rights of way and all were signed with the yellow and green arrows and some fingerboards all put up by the council. You would expect these signs on the ground to match the data in the file from the council, but no.

There is a part of Elloughton Dale where the path drops down a steep slope to the road through the valley. You can then follow the road for a couple of hundred metres before turning off to climb the other side of the valley. The descent is through woods and is steep enough that steps with wooden risers have been cut to prevent erosion. This however is not the route I took, because there is a more direct route that comes out of the woods opposite the point where the ascent starts, thus it avoids the steps and there is no need to use the road except to cross it. When I first used this more direct route, probably forty years ago, it was unofficial and the land owner put up barbed wire to stop it being used, but after a while a gate appeared instead (he was probably fed up with replacing the wire) and this was the preferred route to take. More recently, at least twenty five years ago, public right of way signs appeared both at the roadside and at the point in the woods where the route down the steps and this newer route diverge.

This new route is not part of the data the East Riding of Yorkshire council publish and it is not on their 'Walking the Riding' map they publish on their website. So which to believe, council signs on the ground or the data they reluctantly published? Maybe their reluctance to publish was partly because they know the data is out of date. I have used what I know on the ground to map the route, though I can't add a prow_ref tag because that's not displayed on any of the signs.

Hawthorn looking good
It has rained recently, but the long, dry summer means that there's hardly any sign of damp on the
No fruit on the brambles 
Elder looking shrivelled
ground. In the woods the ground is dry and even dusty in places and very few muddy spots even in places that are usually muddy. All this dry weather has taken its toll on wild fruit, but some more so than others. Bullaces seem a bit small but are abundant, hawthorn looks to be a fairly average number and a good size. Elder has few berries and they are small and many shrivelled one. The big loser this year are brambles (blackberries). There is hardly a single fruit to be seen with all the remnants of flowers hardly showing as any berries at all. Any wildlife that usually feasts on the masses of brambles around the paths and tracks here will have a to find something else if they want to survive.