Wild daffodils and an access problem

Last Sunday I went for a walk to Cod Wood to see how the wild daffodils were doing. I parked up at Steps Bridge and took the permissive path along the river to Cod Wood.

Wild daffodils - Cod Wood 1
A lot of daffodils are now in flower – I reckon next weekend will see the peak

Wild daffodils - Cod Wood 2
Quite a few plants not yet in flower

Wild daffodils - Cod Wood 3
 Through to the canopy

Cod Wood 1
There was a strange mist in the conifer blocks

Cod Wood - access
It might have been the last time I do this walk as this sign was on the gate by the Steps Bridge car park

This is not the first time that this situation has arisen. The Dartmoor National Park Authority pay the landowner to allow access through the woods so that the National Trust and Woodland Trust woods beyond can be reached. This sign appears to suggest that no agreement for the future has yet been reached and therefore the gate will be locked on April Fool’s Day.

In the times of austerity the DNPA has a lot less money than it used to have and therefore reaching agreements like this and being able to pay for them is much more difficult.

UPDATE: I have now been contacted by three reader of my blog who have told me that the reason that the access agreement is ending is not as a result of financial wranglings between the owner and the DNPA. Apparently the owner is fed up with anti-social behaviour by a minority of people using the permissive path (e.g. dog fouling, littering, abusive comments etc). As a result he has had enough and who can blame him.

I wonder whether there might be another solution.

Access map

The area hatched in red is the piece of woodland where the access agreement is in place – beyond the red area the woods are owned by the National Trust. The National Trust also owns the woodland to the north of the River Teign – marked as ‘Meadhaydown  Wood (Nature Reserve)’ and known as Dunsford Nature Reserve.  It leases this to the Devon Wildlife Trust. There is a well used track through the nature reserve by the river. Perhaps a long term solution might be to build a footbridge across the Teign from the Dunsford Nature Reserve into Cod Wood? It would be expensive in the short term but would solve the access problem once and for all. There of course might be very good reasons why this is a bad idea (e.g. impact on wildlife, impact on Dunsford Nature Reserve and aesthetics) but perhaps it is worth exploring.

15 thoughts on “Wild daffodils and an access problem

  1. Is it a old public right of way? If so the land owner can’t block it unless they get the law changed. I knew a historian, Sir John Hayes, in Canterbury who knew the old paths and took us on a tour of them that some times went through peoples gardens.

  2. Do they require payment to fund insurance and upkeep on their pathway? I wonder if the trust has offered upkeep? I expect they have. 😦

  3. I live local to the area and the closure of this path means we lose access to some of our favourite walks in Thomas Cleave and Cod Wood. My understanding is that it’s not a matter of funding and that the owner has just tired of some people misusing the access. I have wondered about the feasibility of a bridge from the nature reserve.

  4. Further to what my wife wrote above, we do this walk most days, and meet the owner quite often. He told us about the proposed closure, and explained how he had been told by a horse rider to keep his dog on a lead, even though he was walking on his own land. On the day the closure notices were put up, one was almost immediately torn down. This lack of respect for the landowner and for the countryside understandably causes him annoyance. The dog droppings in plastic bags hanging in the trees cannot improve the impression created.
    Although this closure is a major loss to me, I might be inclined to do the same thing if I were in his position.
    As I volunteer with the NT Rangers for the estate, I have the opportunity to discuss the closure with them, and I get the impression that despite the fact that fairly large sums have been offered, that the money is in no way an issue.
    I believe that some further negotiations between the owner and the National Park and the National Trust are still taking place, which might result in some alternative access arrangement.
    I do not think that the owner can be blamed but rather those few inconsiderate people who have no idea how to treat the countryside with due respect.

  5. I omitted from the above, that there used to be toilets in the car park, but these are no longer available. A few people pretend the toilets are still there, so the owner is confronted not merely by dog mess, but also the human equivalent.

  6. There was a National Trust sign at the entrance to Thomas Cleave Woods .This is no longer there but there is a large amount of dangerous barbed wire ,tree logs and earthworks. What a shame ! no access to the woods for us non landowners . I have walked this area for the past two years and live locally. I see very little litter and no rude people. The dog mess is a problem on the other side of the river and along the road

  7. Hi Adrian, I tried to run this route today – I used to run it regularly, up one side of the river and back the other – and found four blockages, three gates (one bolted shut; two fixed like fences, with barbed wire that had been cut away) and the other a large pile of logs. Very clearly the landowner doesn’t want anyone on the land, which is such a shame. But on both end gates a sign read ‘no access please use bridlepath opposite’ which is very unhelpful as I have no idea where this bridlepath is. Couldn’t see it. It can’t mean the opposite side of the river as the northern gate is nowhere near a bridge. If there’s any way of opening up the path to walkers and runners – perhaps reducing horseriding with stiles/gates, if he is offended by horseriders – it would be an amenity to many people. All the best, Ian

  8. Hi Ian, sorry for the delay in replying. In the past the landowner had an access agreement with the DNPA but when that ran out he didn’t renew as he was apparently fed up with litter, dog poo and general abuse. A real shame. I think he must be referring to the bridleway on the south side of the road – suggesting that is a place where people and horses can access. It doesn’t of course resolve the problems you and many others face ……

    • Thanks Adrian. Such a shame. When running that route, one of the beauties is that it’s more or less flat. Going up the bridepath is anything but. Oh well. Things are as they are. All the best, ian

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