Have we all become toothless tigers?

31 10 2010

Have we all become toothless tigers? I cycled across Rushmere Common this afternoon and was then continuing along the bridleway at the north side of Foxhall Heath when I came across this birch tree that had fallen across the path. According to a person just ahead of me who was lifting her bike over it, the obstruction had been there for about three weeks. How many people must have climbed over it, carried bike over it or turned round because their wheel-chair couldn’t get over it? Loads of people. How many people had done something about it? No-one!

This tree had been across the path for about three weeks

I came back with a bow-saw and in less than 5 minutes the path was clear and I had a load of fire-wood to take back home to dry out ready for next winter.

After five minutes work the path was cler again

Someone once commented that “We all complain about the ‘Nanny State’ until we want Nanny”. Well… given the mood music from the politicians at present, I think we will be waiting longer and longer for her to show up. Possibly we are just going to have to get better at sorting things out for ourselves.





Dobbs Lane – A very dangerous crossing point

31 10 2010

I have been concerned about the point where the bridleway that heads out east from Rushmere Common crosses Dobbs Lane. Today I was driving up Dobbs Lane to check out the drivers eye view. The point at which this photo is taken is in a unrestricted speed zone. Notice that the 30mph speed limit sign on the right is almost completely obscured and that there is no warning that there may be people crossing the road ahead.

right hand sign obscured

I stopped the car in a lay-by, walked back with some loppers I had in the car and cur the branches back. I also noticed that both the poles were loose in the ground and were leaning outwards. I pushed them back into position and went back to see what it looked like afterwards.

Signs more visible afterwards

I then went back to the footpath and timed how much warning one had of an approaching car. The answer was 2.9 seconds. This is the view from the pavement.

2.9 seconds from the car coming into view and being at this point

Just to reinforce the point, I noticed this front bumper that had obviously come off a car at the base of the 30mph sign

Signs of an earlier accident? - bit of a car by the 30mph sign

On my way home I passed this sign. I think we need one at that crossing point. I would also recommend cutting back the undergrowth to increase the view around the blind corner.

This is the sort of signage that is needed

The crossing is on this map just to the north of the bend on Dobbs lane where the bridleway (in green) approaches from the left and the footpath leaves to the right (in red).

I will forward a link to the council and keep you posted!

Update

Nothing has happened, so I have now put a request onto Fixmystreet.

 





Big muddy puddles on Heath Walk

27 10 2010

It is now Autumn and when it rains Heath Walk becomes one long line of muddy puddles. I will email the committee and ask them if they have any plans to improve this important and well used path?

Approaching Heath Road on Heath Walk

And another by the ninth tee this time

Heath Walk by the ninth tee

Here is another view of the same place

By the ninth tee again

This section has got badly rutted.

Deep ruts

All I ask is that the main ‘commuting’ paths across the heath are in as good a condition as the paths provided by the golf course for the golfers so that people can walk to work or to school without having to use walking boots!

Here is a path by the first green when it was newly laid and before it had gone hard. I was told that they used a mixture of sea shells and stone chippings that goes hard once it has got wet.

This would be nice!

The path is now completely hard and dry

The new path around the first green

I have already blogged about the money the County Council offered recently to improve this path and how the offer was ‘resisted’ by the commoners committee and was then withdrawn. Hopefully the commoners committee have set some money aside to do something themselves. Notice the blocked Police Station Path in the above picture which is another story.





Broadlands Walk

24 10 2010

There is a great route from Bixley to the Hospital and Ipswich that started from Broadlands Way and ends up on Heath Road. It’s isn’t marked at all at either end so I thought it might be worth describing this excellent cycling and walking route. If you cycle do of course be thoughtful about others and take care on the narrower paths. I am not aware that it even has a name, so I have named it Broadlands Walk and I have even ‘put it one the map’.

Broadlands Way path entrance

Here is a map of the route – with the photo locations shown as dots.

Broadlands Way - Heath Road map

The path immediately feels pretty rural.

Path from Broadways Way

out onto Sandlings open space.

Looking out on Sandlings open space

Straight across and into the woods.

Into the woods

through a glade…

A glade

Across a fairway – check for golfers

Across a golf fairway

Though another section of wood and out onto the heath with the hospital visible in the distance.

Looking out onto the heath

Across the Heath

In the middle of the heath

Along Heath Walk toward Heath Road

Looking towards Heath Road

Personally I avoid Heath Road and cut along what I call the ‘Police Station Path’, getting across this annoying log which has been placed here for ‘Elf and Safety’ reasons. Read my blog post about it.

The Elf and Safety log by the first green

And out onto the Heath Road service road.

Looking out from the Police Station Path

Not a bad commuting route. And the transport minister is talking about ‘not forcing people out of their cars‘ oh dear.





Bridleway funding has been withdrawn

20 10 2010

Some time ago I posted about a proposal by Suffolk County Council to improve the path across the common. Unfortunately I have just be told that ‘SCC have withdrawn funding to ensure savings are made on capital projects’.

Do remember that the Commoners Committee were not supportive of the project, explaining that ‘The Trustees are opposed to this proposal as the route would cross very close to the Second and Ninth Tees creating a health and safety problem, as well as encouraging illegal motor cycling‘.

This means that without without support from somewhere else the paths will continue to look like this during the winter.

Puddles across the main East/West Rushmere Common path





More blocked paths

16 07 2010

For some time now I have been noticing that it isn’t as easy as it should be to get across the common for a number of reasons. Generally these come down to poor surfaces, encroachment by foliage and a lack of clear signage and maps at crucial points.

However, the motivation for this post is another issue, which is that a number of paths appear to be being deliberately blocked with branches for reasons I fail to understand.

For example:

Blocked path just inside Common boundary

Another blocked path just inside the common boundary

You can tell that the last one is just inside the boundary because the boundary marker for the common is clearly visible. I have removed branches from these paths on a number of occasions and they keep coming back! I can only assume that this is official policy.

I have already spoken about my issue with the blocking of the ‘police station path‘ so won’t go over that one again. I will however note that the reason given for blocking that one was ‘heath and safety’ but that I can see even less justification for blocking these paths for that reason.

Here is a map showing the location of the above blockages.

Map showing location of blockages

Clearly the blockages are of no great consequence as they stand, but they give a message that says ‘stay away’ rather than ‘come on in and enjoy the common’.

Funny old world.





The ‘police station path’

25 06 2010

The main approach to the common from the Ipswich side is via the footpath to the south of the hospital and then across Heath road using theĀ  toucan crossing. From there one goes down Heath Road and onto the common at the tank traps.

The suggested route onto the common from the tank traps is pretty clumsy with a number of sharp bends; it isn’t convenient for cyclists or for pedestrians being beside a busy 40 mph road part of which is dual-carriageway.

A preferable route which has been available for about 6 months until it was blocked under instruction from the commoners’ committee is more direct. Here it is:

The 'police station' path

The entrance to the path is from the neighborhood police station and avoids the busy Heath Road section.

The normal approach to the common along Heath Road

Here are the routes (original route in blue, the ‘police station path’ in red).

proposed route onto Rushmere Common

As well as being shorter the proposed route avoids passing in front of the 2nd tee (which was one of the reasons for the committee objecting to council’s Bridleway proposal).

I had a meeting with a representative from the committee and with the general manager of the club a few days ago to discuss this path which had been partially blocked by a log. They said they objected to the route on the following groungs:

  1. The route round the back of the green was dangerous (Health and safety).
  2. A cyclist had been spotted using the route at high speed causing a danger (Health and safety)
  3. Part of the route was along a path created by the golf club for their members and this was not available for use by the general public
  4. A section of the route had been created without permission
  5. The route exited by the police station which would create a danger of collision with police leaving their car park in a hurry (Health and Safety).

Personally I am not convinced by the above arguments. The antisocial cyclist can be dealt with by some natural ‘traffic calming’ and by sending a photograph to the police if necessary – no need to inconvenience everyone else. I don’t believe any of the ‘health and safety’ concerns would stand up to scrutiny, especially considering the potentially deadly risks from walking beside busy roads (two boys killed on Bishop’s Hill and then two young adults walking beside Foxhall Road).

The following day these impressive logs arrived across the path.

Logs blocking 'the police station path' on Rushmere Common

Cunningly the golf club also resurfaced the golfers’ path around the green on the same day. It will need a bit of rain and rolling before it is firm, but it will then be a fine example of what some of the public paths across the common could be like with a little effort.

Do note that one can still faintly see the new squares of turf to the right of the path in the above picture. Six months ago there was a gorse hedge and a number of mature trees separating the path from the green. The gorse and trees were removed by the golf club with permission from the commoners’ committee and replaced with turf visible in the picture.

The aerial imagery in the picture below clearly shows the line of gorse and trees to the right of the path (shown in red) prior to this work.

With reference to routes across the common generally my local St John’s Ward councilor commented:

I am a bit fed up with the notion that cyclists are perfectly ok doing 90 degree bends and cycling 50 m out of our way here and 50 m out of our way there.

A local cyclist also commented:

The situation as described by Peter has prevailed for at least 10 years to my knowledge.

Personally I would suggest that there is a little more consideration given to the needs of other groups beyond the golfers (who I have no argument with – all the folk I have spoken to have not had a problem with walkers and cyclists as long as they don’t have picnics on the fairways, ride on the greens and drop litter etc!).