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New Permanent Pathway to Oakfrith Wood

5th September 2012 - With the closure of Urchfont Manor grounds to pedestrian and vehicular traffic with effect 3rd September 2012, including access to the permissive path to Oakfrith Wood, there are a number of issues which are being addressed by the Parish Council in consultation with Wiltshire Council. This flyer was distributed to all households in Urchfont, seeks to share those issues with residents and seek  comments in relation to usage of community facilities and associated accessibility issues which residents may have concerns about. Community Facilities Questionnaire  - Click Here to see questionaire

12th September 2012 - Minutes of Parish Council Meeting state that "Accessibility and associated public safety concerns are still a very key and contentious issue in terms of pedestrian access to facilities now that access through Urchfont Manor grounds has been closed off. It was stated that WC proposals to improve these access routes, in particular along the B3098 to the cricket ground (50mph zone and the dangerous bend/crossing by Witchell Lane), around Cuckoo Corner to the playing field / proposed new path to Oakfrith, are not considered sufficient to safeguard the public. Responses to the UPC questionnaire distributed to all households in Urchfont this week are expected to support this view and so the issue should be the subject of ongoing discussions with WC. It was, however,  Agreed in Principle that the Parish Council is willing to take ownership of a new access pathway from the Playing Field to Oakfrith Wood on the basis of discussions to date and subject to final agreement on terms of transfer.

16th January 2013 - The Parish Council  ‘agreed in principle’ to taking on increased land (subject to WC funding and facilitating provision/installation of fencing, gates, the bridge across the culvert, levelling the access point to the playing field and a risk assessment/survey/remedial works relating to trees along the path which will become the responsibility of UPC) and initiation and funding of ‘change of use’ application.

April 2013 - The new owners of Urchfont Manor agree to re-open the permissive path through their grounds for access to the Cricket Ground and to join the existing permissive path through fields to Oakfrith Wood - Click Here to see conditions.

20th August 2013 - WC submitted a planning application 13/03247/FUL proposing a new permanent pathway to Oakfrith Wood including a section through Crookwood House to provide safer pedestrian access than using Cuckoo Corner.

6th November 2013 - planning application has been amended to remove proposed Crookwood House Pathway and to refine the culvert bridge structure; these will be submitted to WC Planning for a further consultation round. Assuming there are no objections then it is hoped that these will be approved under delegated powers, if not they will go to the Area Committee. Installation of the fencing etc. will then follow, as will the action to Community Asset Transfer (CAT) the land to the PC.

21st January 2014 - Planning application 13/03247/FUL approved

1st September 2014 - Having agreed final details with Wiltshire Council, work has now started on the new permanent public path (rather than permissive as now) to Oakfrith Wood running from the start of the School driveway at Cuckoo Corner, along the Crookwood Lane side of the Playing Field and through the two fields to a new entrance into the Woods in the northern corner. The path will be bounded by stock proof fencing so that dogs, children and adults will be able to walk freely to the Woods without entering the Playing Field (dogs are not permitted on the Field) or adjacent farmland. Gates in the new fence will facilitate access to the Playing Field without dogs. Part of the old BMX track will be levelled to make way for the new path and fencing, but the remainder will be left in place on the Playing Field side of the fence for potential improvement in the future.

It is aimed to complete works within the Playing Field section at or about the end of the School summer holiday, including the erection of new fencing along the driveway right up to the School (with a gate at the School end to facilitate easy public access to the Playing Field from the Top Green entrance when the School is closed. Completion of this part of the works will also facilitate re-positioning /maximising the size of the existing football pitch.

Works will then continue to complete the path to the Woods, including lopping and removal of some trees along the route. Until completed, the path will not be available for public use on health and safety grounds due to construction works.

The Parish Council has also applied to the Devizes Area Board to have the Crookwood Lane lay-by adjacent to the Playing Filed improved to provide parking for School drop off / pick up, thus alleviating parking problems in Blackboard Lane, and for those wishing to visit the Field or path to Oakfrith Wood.

When completed Wiltshire Council plan to transfer ownership of the pathway, by Community Asset Transfer (CAT), to Urchfont Parish Council.

10th October 2014 - Following completion of the new permanent path to Oakfrith Wood, this permissive path and access points from the Playing Field, Urchfont Manor car park and the eastern corner of Oakfrith Wood will be closed for public use with effect Wednesday 15th October 2014.

Please use the new permanent path which can be accessed from Cuckoo Corner / Crookwood Lane.

By kind permission of the owners of Urchfont Manor, the permissive path through the Manor grounds (via the orchard, car park and driveway) to the Cricket Ground will remain open.

15th October 2014 - The new permanent pathway to Oakfrith Wood from the Urchfont Playing Field (with access to public right of way footpath URCH04 which crosses the new path from Crookwood Lane to Witchell Lane) is now open for public use on the following basis:

  • This pathway is intended for pedestrian use only.
  • Horses / Motor vehicles / Motor Bikes are NOT permitted (Except for mobility scooters)
  • DOGS ARE PERMITTED, but must be kept under control at all times and all dog waste removed
  • Dogs are NOT permitted access to the Playing Field at any time
  • Gates are to be kept shut at all times when not in use

The new pathway to Oakfrith Wood is currently owned by Wiltshire Council, but it is jointly proposed that ownership will transfer to the Parish Council in the near future.

9th September 2015 - Land ownership transferred to Urchfont Parish Council from Wiltshire Council. Parish Council is now responsible for maintenance and operation of the path.