Off the beaten track. It's what Green Roads are so good at. But what happens when they begin to fall into disrepair? Is it inevitable that they get closed? Or is there another way?

In North Yorkshire, Doug Cartwright and his TRF team were determined that Deadman's Hill wasn't going to become another lost lane. Would they be able to bring it back to life...?

TRF:

Hi Doug. It was great seeing pics of you out riding on Deadman’s Hill recently. It’s been a bit of a journey to get it open. Can you give us a bit of background to the situation with this Green Road?

Doug:

Sure, Deadman’s Hill is a key part of our road network in North Yorkshire. It runs between Horsehouse and Middlemoor running across Scar House reservoir dam wall. It connects a large group of roads to the north and south of the Yorkshire Dales that our members use regularly. The detour is considerable, 26.9 miles in fact!

Apart from the stunning scenery up there, it has a very interesting heritage and its worth taking sometime if you are up there to study the remains of the town that was built to construct the dam walls and infrastructure and if you are inquisitive you will be able to see where various packhorse drivers mysteriously vanished over the years giving rise to its very distinctive name…Deadman’s

A bad winter...

...leaves the road in a terrible condition

TRF:

So what led it to being closed in the first place?

Doug:

Following the very heavy weather we experienced in 2015 the surface of the short steep section near the top of the hill became eroded and continued use had left it all but impassable. The road had a temporary TRO placed on it by the North Yorkshire County Council. It was put in place “to protect the public from danger and protect the road from serious damage” and it ran from Apr 2016 and was due to expire in Oct 2017.

TRF:

Was there a strategy in place with T&NYTRF to get Deadman’s open again?

Doug:

Yes.

This was the third time since 2000 that it has been closed and repaired and our aim was to get it repaired, opened up again for use in both directions and to ensure that it was sustainable. We did this by connecting with all stakeholders: landowners, users, Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Highways Authority(NYCC) and the Local Access Forum.

We worked very closely with Barrie Mounty from GLASS and our initial position was that we were prepared to fully fund a sustainable repair. In the end NYCC came good and made the repair themselves. I firmly believe had we not done that then there would have been no action and it would have rolled over into another TTRO.

TRF:

Can you describe what effort and commitment it takes by the T&NYTRF Rights of Road team to undertake such an activity?

Doug:

Well at times I thought Deadman’s was very apt name and that Barrie and I would be the next to mysteriously vanish due to fatigue! Being active members of the LAF was very helpful in getting engagement with stakeholders and when I totalled up my correspondence on the subject there were 350 emails, 3 face to face meetings at County Hall ( and many corridor conversations too), site visits and it was discussed at 3 LAF meetings. I did not keep a record of the phone calls!

What helped enormously was the input and encouragement from the TRF rights of road team and legal advice, namely John Vannuffel and Alan Kind.

TRF:

It’s great to see Deadman’s open again. But as with all Green Roads we’ve now got to make sure it stays open. What do you think users need to bear in mind as they begin to use it again?

Doug:

A fine view...

...worth the hard work

It is essential that we use it with thought and care, while the repair is substantial using it irresponsibly during periods of heavy rainfall has the potential to repeat the process. I would ask that if you notice any deterioration to the road or surrounds particularly the drainage system get in touch with us here in T&NYTRF so we can have a look and start a thoughtful dialogue with the NYCC.

I do hope you all enjoy using the road again and I would also encourage you to come along to our club nights and hear more about the great work that Leo Crone and his team are doing on other roads in North Yorkshire. New team members are very welcome.

TRF:

Thanks Doug!


The TRF is involved in conservation projects across the country. We rely on passionate volunteers to look after our Green Road network. Why not get in touch with your local group to see how you can help?