Gobions shortcut not allowed
The college is urging walkers not to stray from the official path.
Some walkers taking Footpath 11 (FP11) north west from Folly Arch across RVC land have been turning right, just after a crossing point between two fields, in order to access Gobions.
In fact, so many seem to be doing this that the right turn appears to be the main route, with the official FP11 hard to make out as it continues its way across two fields.
The Brookmans Park Newsletter followed up this story after being sent an article which has been published on the website of a local walking group and which claims that the RVC had "granted permissive rights over the spur path to Gobions Wood".
Realising that this would be a reversal of an earlier RVC position and that many local walkers use the route, we felt we should contact the college to clarify the issue.
The RVC denied the claims and repeated that walkers do not have permission to take the short cut.
According to the RVC spokeman "the RVC has not agreed to either a permissive or dedicated route being established along the field edge."
Click here for a picture gallery of the route. (When you load the gallery, click on the thumbnail images to reveal larger pictures and then click again for full-size pictures).
The RVC is continuing to advise ramblers to stay on the dedicated route, FP11, which also eventually reaches Gobions Woodland just to the east of the Little Rye Plantation.
FP11 then crosses a small bridge before entering the Little Rye Plantation, which is part of Gobions Woodland.
After about two minutes walk, the path appears to turn right, but you need to look for a gate leading out of Little Rye Plantation and into a field usually occupied by horses.
The path then rejoins Gobions Woodland just south of the Leach Fields before making its way out to the bridge on Bluebridge Road.
According to the Gobions Woodland Trust (GWT), there has always been permissive access to the wood from the public footpath since GWT took over responsibility for the land.
The RVC says it has made efforts to secure its fields and ensure that the boundaries are not damaged, but it has not agreed to either a permissive or dedicated route being established along the field edge, other than that along the definitive route of FP11.
"Whilst the college has regularly stopped up this point of access into the woods to maintain a secure environment for grazing herds, continuing vandalism of the fence erected at this point has proven difficult to maintain," an RVC official told the Brookmans Park Newsletter.
"In turn, the college has erected a temporary stile which provides both security for livestock and access for those who undertake this activity.
"The RVC Estates Department is working closely with both North Mymms Parish Council and the local authority with a view to establishing an enhanced working relationship where common goals can be achieved," the official added.
The RVC says it has lodged the relevant Section 31 (6) notice with Hertfordshire County Council in order to prevent members of the public making new rights of way across the land in question.
You can read more about the Section 31 (6) notice by clicking here.
What would help would be clearer signs pointing walkers in the official direction. Perhaps the official path should be cleared so that walkers can see the way ahead. Otherwise, those walkers who feel uncomfortable walking across fields where there is no clearly trodden route might still be tempted to take the unofficial path for fear of damaging crops.
A picture gallery of the route has been put together for those who are unfamiliar with FP11. Click here to access the picture gallery. (When you load the gallery, click on the thumbnail images to reveal larger pictures and then click again for full-size pictures).
There is a special section of this site containing 12 short walks in the local countryside. Click here to access. Please feel free to download and enjoy.
25 July 2006