Since covering the story of the hopes to reopen a local footpath from Callowell Farm to Stratford Road I have been looking more into the matter - see my original blog here.
Photo: terrible reproduction of Chas Townleys maps - see link below to see various old maps showing route
Town councillor Chas Townley has submitted the claim as a Bridleway - on the basis that it can then be used by cyclists - the evidence to support the bridleway or higher status seems good but is less robust than the evidence for a footpath which as far as I can see is 100% for part of the route - the 1821 diversion - and close to a 100% for the remainder.
The County apparently originally responded that they had no intention of taking any action to remove the obstuctions until they had dealt with the modification order on the basis that no highway existed until they made a modification order. Some mistake must have occurred somewhere as that can't be so as it would be illegal. Indeed I understand that they have now moved to a position that on the basis of the evidence available to them at this point is that it is not a highway and as a consequence they will not take any action until the modification order is processed.
Stroud Town Council have supported the Modification Order application and asked for the obstructions to be removed. They also agreed to write to the District and the farmer.
Chas has provided some excellent info to back his case with maps etc - see below and the link to download much more. In the meantime I have asked Ruscombe and Whiteshill Parish Council to consider the matter and will be writing myself to District and County councils.
Right of Way Callowell Farm to Stratford Road - An investigation statement by Chas Townley My attention to the possiblity of the existence of a public right of way between Callowell Farm and Stratford Road has arisen from the fact that a path or track is shown Victorian ordnance survey mapping and this statement sets out information to assist the County in deciding whether a modification order should be made. The evidence that a “footroad” between Callowell Farm and what is now Stratford Road was diverted by the Quarter Sessions in 1821 is so firm that unless a further legal event has taken place the County Council is bound to make a modification order for a Footpath, however, the question for the County Council in deciding to make a modification order is whether a highway of a different class is “reasonably alleged to exist” and on that basis the County Council has to consider whether the there are grounds for adding this highway at a higher status. My view is that on the balance of probabilities there are grounds for the County Council to consider recording it as a Restricted Byway.
See Chas Townley's excellent case here: