The downside was the stretch of footpath from the end of the lane to where the new bridge will cross the river - which was as muddy as ever.
Lily - I raised this issue a few days ago and got a helpful and prompt reply (see below). I am keen to see some improvements made to the footpath, but I appears that nothing will be done until this section is turned into a bridleway. Shame really, since there is an ongoing dispute and I also question whether there is still funding for this. I don't see anything being done this year! My email was sent to Ernest Nama (Stockport Council) and Councillor Craig Wright. I received similar responses from both parties.My email:
I have a suggestion to make that I’d like you to consider. A great deal of money is being spent on the bridleway and the new bridge. As a result of this, I foresee more people making use of the footpath between the weir and Marple Dale lower farm. Unfortunately, whilst most of this section remains easily navigable all year round, there is a stretch near the farm that is either (a) often incredibly boggy, or (b) overrun with balsam. To coincide with the new bridleway, would you consider making some footpath improvements to alleviate these problems? Please can you let me know your views on this matter.Craig Wright's reply:
Thank you for your email. It was always the intention to bring the bridleway down the Marple Dale route that you are talking about. Unfortunately negotiations with the landowners involved have dragged on and we had to get a route from Middlewood Way to the site of the bridge started by Dec last year, 2011, otherwise we would have lost the Big Lottery money being held by Sustrans who are overseeing the whole national Connect2 project. That's why we switched to the Marple Hall route which is now well advanced.
Work on the abuttments for the bridge has started and the bridge should be in place by end July. It is still our intention to upgrade the Marple Dale route and discussions with the landowners continue. Getting rid of Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam would be a part of that, as would the provision of an all-weather surface along the whole route. We'll all just have to be patient for a little longer. When it is finally done we shall have a superb set of walking/cycling/horse-riding options from Marple going in all directions.
My colleague, Martin Candler and I walked the Marple Hall route on Tuesday. It is due to be finished by the end of March and will be a fine addition to our network of footpaths, cycleways and bridleways. It opens up new vistas down by the river Goyt.
As soon as we get the clearance to start work on the Marple Dale route that you mention we will widely publicise that news. Regards, Craig Wright