Breaking news: nothing has changed on the Middlesex Greenway blocked paths. This despite promises by the highway authorities.
I felt I was skiving, not continuing around Hertfordshire, but I was working on Saturday – lifting and carrying – and on stand-by on Sunday in case needed for a rescue. So I went to investigate two stretches of the Middlesex Greenway which I found blocked last year.
First – Bedfont Court north of Stanwell Moor village. The route of the Middlesex Greenway runs north-east along Sprout Lane North and then is meant to turn north along a lane called Bedfont Court. This is marked as a public footpath on the Ordnance Survey map but when I arrived, I found it blocked by concrete barriers and a high fence. It looks as if the lane was once a row of cottages (there is a sign, buried in the foliage, for the Bedfont Court Estate) but there is no sign of that now: it might have been bought out and the public right of way conveniently forgotten. There is no sign either of where the path is meant to emerge at the other end. This is being looked into.
Then, I drove to Edgwarebury Farm, where the path across a scrubby field has vanished under what looks like a stalled and abandoned development. The start of the path is still obscured in the churned up ground, now left and overgrown. The end of the path, its north-eastern end by the farm, is invisible, though not physically blocked. The Middlesex Greenway is walkable here by a diversion but that diversion is not a public right of way. Again this needs looking at, in advance of plans to lay it out as a golf course (which is a far better development than filling it with cardboardbox houses).
It is a work of constant vigilance to undo the blocking of paths, by man or by nature, and it seems that it is not a priority for the bureaucracies which are entrusted with keeping them open. That leaves it to those who walk the wild places to do something.