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Author Topic: Permissive path - Purley / Pangbourne AND Access bridges to farms and fields  (Read 2938 times)
Oxonhutch
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« Reply #60 on: April 06, 2020, 09:12:58 am »

Well, I can see two details the map doesn't help with - what ways went where 200 or 250 years ago, and why PURL/9/1 doesn't go anywhere. It's usually considered that a right of way has to go somewhere, and I recall that's explicit in the Scottish law but less so in the English. Is this "pit" (or its remnants) really a sight worth going to see, even if you have to return via the same path?

I imagine that the owner of the marina has successfully managed to have the right of way extinguished between the railway underpass and the church - and that the underpass is fenced off. Has anyone been down there? Of course, if someone remembers walking it in the last 20 or so years, there may be a case for reinstatement - but that moment may now have passed.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #61 on: April 06, 2020, 06:19:32 pm »

Well, I can see two details the map doesn't help with - what ways went where 200 or 250 years ago, and why PURL/9/1 doesn't go anywhere. It's usually considered that a right of way has to go somewhere, and I recall that's explicit in the Scottish law but less so in the English. Is this "pit" (or its remnants) really a sight worth going to see, even if you have to return via the same path?

I fear that I may be taking this thread further off topic and again taxing Grahame's patience. I can think of many instances of dead-end RoWs. I've walked along some of them to see what was there. (Usually not much.) There used to be a few stubs left over after the closure of RoWs on the Salisbury Plain army training areas, but these have disappeared from the latest maps.

Twenty years ago, Ordnance Survey maps still showed a public footpath crossing the Central Ammunition Depot, Bramley (and the Basingstoke-Reading railway line), though ramblers approaching the recently-closed depot encountered signs warning that the path had been closed since 1926!  In 2005 Hampshire County Council acknowledged that "the path is nonetheless shown on the definitive map (1964). The definitive statement acknowledges that the path is closed, and we can only assume that the path was put on the map in order that the promise to re-dedicate was not forgotten. However, it is misleading, and we think that although well-intentioned, the decision to show the path was erroneous. It will be added to a list of anomalies that we will be addressing in the near future." Both ends of the path outside the depot site are still marked on maps, but there is no trace on the ground of the western one.

The pit is next to  RoW Tile/4/1 off Overdown Road in Tilehurst and has the abandoned foundations laid several years ago for a projected house. But then the developer discovered he had no right of way to his site. Oops! Just off that path is Tile/1/1, which heads towards the larger Juniper Pit (now full of mature trees) before coming to a stop at a private house's gateway.
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grahame
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« Reply #62 on: April 06, 2020, 07:23:13 pm »

I fear that I may be taking this thread further off topic and again taxing Grahame's patience ...

I wouldn't worry ... a few seconds of patience compared to the hours wasted ... oh, never mind - that was nothing to do with the forum.
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froome
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« Reply #63 on: April 07, 2020, 01:38:17 pm »

Just thought I would comment that although I've never been to Purley-on-Thames (apart from whizzing through sat on trains), I've also found this thread fascinating. I do intend to walk the Thames Path one of these days, whenever we are let out, and am also researching old ferries, including the two that did once cross at Purley.

One question - somebody (Marlburian I think) did refer to the right of way along the towpath on the northern bank, which linked the old ferry crossings, and which still exists. Can it actually be accessed? On the OS map, there are no public paths linking to it at either end.
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Reading General
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« Reply #64 on: April 07, 2020, 02:42:43 pm »

Just thought I would comment that although I've never been to Purley-on-Thames (apart from whizzing through sat on trains), I've also found this thread fascinating. I do intend to walk the Thames Path one of these days, whenever we are let out, and am also researching old ferries, including the two that did once cross at Purley.

One question - somebody (Marlburian I think) did refer to the right of way along the towpath on the northern bank, which linked the old ferry crossings, and which still exists. Can it actually be accessed? On the OS map, there are no public paths linking to it at either end.

I've done all of the Thames path between Eynsham and Staines and can highly recommend it to anyone. The section of tow path on the northern bank at Mapledurham/Purley is only accessible by boat but it is still there as I have a mate with a boat and we went and had a look. There doesn't appear to be any other way of accessing it other than trespass. It seems quite a long winded way of completing the towpath with two ferries and a short section of path and I wonder why the one ferry didn't just go from the Roebuck to Purley.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #65 on: April 07, 2020, 04:00:46 pm »

I'd assumed, rightly or wrongly, that the towing path was literally that, and that horses towed barges along it. It would have been difficult to put horses on a ferry and propel it alongside the bank, towing the barges behind. Not that it can have been much fun switching them from one side to the other.

The path changed sides because of a dispute with the landowner. (There must be more details on the Web.)

I've just discovered this article about an attempt to create (re-open?) the path through the tunnel and behind the houses at Hazel Road. Presumably the inquiry found in favour of the residents?

Local Access Forum "The following summary was submitted by the West Berkshire Council in November 2013 to the Ramblers' AGM concerning progress with the realignment of the Thames Path at Purley-on-Thames: "Major Storer's Underpass. No agreement so far with Network Rail but negotiations have started. Network Rail has said that it plans to brick up the arch, so any information on the historic value of the arch would be welcome."

More about Major Storer's Tunnel under the turnpike (Go to page seven.) This suggests that Ben Viljoen may know more, so I'm contacting him via the Berkshire Gardens Trust.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 05:13:39 pm by Marlburian » Logged
CyclingSid
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« Reply #66 on: April 07, 2020, 04:48:54 pm »

If you think of Constable's paintings, barge horses were transported (from one side to the other?) in boats.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #67 on: April 07, 2020, 05:05:51 pm »

Tunnel by marina? Subway by Roebuck? There  appears to have been another tunnel!

Project Purley Journal (From page 4.)
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stuving
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« Reply #68 on: April 07, 2020, 05:19:03 pm »

If you think of Constable's paintings, barge horses were transported (from one side to the other?) in boats.

I suspect that was unusual. Have you ever asked yourself - who owned the boathorses? How long did one haul (or hale) for, and where did it live? I think you'll find that, when all boats needed hauling, they hired horses per stage from canalside owners. So while the stretch at Purley may have been shorter than a usual hauling stage, it could easily be done. And I've just found a reference to just that practice in a (Google) book of 1830: "It is a usual thing for the proprietor of the boat-horse to find the bridle and collar; and the captain of the boat the remaining part of the harness; consequently it has to be changed every time he has a fresh horse""
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Reading General
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« Reply #69 on: April 07, 2020, 06:24:25 pm »

Tunnel by marina? Subway by Roebuck? There  appears to have been another tunnel!

Project Purley Journal (From page 4.)

Blimey! a photo of the tunnel under the railway, great stuff. The tunnel under the road is interesting, when I was first reading it I thought this must be the subway. This suggests it was closer to the gatehouse and the map shows a drive to suggest this but not whether it goes under the road or not. However, if we look at where the two paths meet at the bottom of the map we see that another tree lined path goes off to the east and appears again leading up to the main road. We know that part of the old road from the Roebuck to Purley was used as a driveway to the estate so my theory is that our subway shown near the Roebuck is the tunnel mentioned in this piece to give the impression that the estate is larger than it is. It's possible that there were two tunnels granted. The section also mentions that it was used or registered as a WW2 shelter and this would make sense being the location closer to the Roebuck as this was where there was local population to use it.
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stuving
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« Reply #70 on: April 07, 2020, 06:57:43 pm »

Tunnel by marina? Subway by Roebuck? There  appears to have been another tunnel!

Project Purley Journal (From page 4.)

Blimey! a photo of the tunnel under the railway, great stuff. The tunnel under the road is interesting, when I was first reading it I thought this must be the subway. This suggests it was closer to the gatehouse and the map shows a drive to suggest this but not whether it goes under the road or not. However, if we look at where the two paths meet at the bottom of the map we see that another tree lined path goes off to the east and appears again leading up to the main road. We know that part of the old road from the Roebuck to Purley was used as a driveway to the estate so my theory is that our subway shown near the Roebuck is the tunnel mentioned in this piece to give the impression that the estate is larger than it is. It's possible that there were two tunnels granted. The section also mentions that it was used or registered as a WW2 shelter and this would make sense being the location closer to the Roebuck as this was where there was local population to use it.

The Jan 2015 article cited by Marlburian (this Journal) shows the layout as well as adding words. It really does refer to a third tunnel east of the gatehouse!

But when you look at the hairpin turn described as "difficult to negotiate with a horse-drawn carriage", does that suggest the original idea was to go straight on towards our mysterious subway? Now, say plan A was to do that, and duck under the turnpike so as to approach the house along the old turnpike as we know did happen at first. That subway would need a very steep, narrow, cutting from the south, and I suspect would have been found useful by the groundwater exuding from the chalk and thinking "Thames, here we come". So a new tunnel and road were made, allowing more convincing "look how big mine is" views. Lengthening the descending road to the first subway to make that feasible would not make it convincing.

Just a theory...

(changed: just spotted previous link)
« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 07:16:29 pm by stuving » Logged
Reading General
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« Reply #71 on: April 07, 2020, 09:24:14 pm »

Comparing the map on that gatehouse link to the modern satellite image, it looks like the gatehouse was where the bus stop is just before the Simons Close roundabout heading out of town, west. There is a short flint wall that looks like its marking the spot. So any tunnel to the west of this would be under that section of the Oxford Road no longer used (the fourth diversion) bypassed by the roundabout. The topography here in the estate to the north looks like it climbs up to the house, so if there was a tunnel here it to would have an even deeper cutting down to it. So I think there was only one tunnel, and it was the one at the Roebuck. So the journey to fool people would have been south through the gatehouse, to the southeast down to the tree lined drive, east along this then a hard left turn to the north, down to the tunnel level, under this then hard left again to face the house.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #72 on: April 07, 2020, 09:26:06 pm »

All very bizarre!

I am not convinced by any theory linking the strange story of the gatehouse on the wrong side of the road and the tunnel a little to the west of it with the mysterious subway close to the Roebuck. The topography is I think wrong. I am pretty certain that as well as the land falling away sharply to the north, firstly to the level of the railway and again to the river, it also rises quite sharply on the south side.

And just to start another theory running -was the towpath anomaly actually accommodation arrangements resulting from the construction of the railway, cutting off the towpath where the retaining wall runs right down to the water's edge? Having said that, there must have been quite a steep slope down to the river before the railway was built here, which cannot have left much room for a safe and reasonable horse towing path by the Thames. Perhaps it was a diversion forced by the lie of the land?

To complete the bizarre  - there's also the story of the mystery post box on the railway retaining wall - see - https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/reading-berkshire-news/mysterious-postbox-appears-over-river-11600450
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Marlburian
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« Reply #73 on: April 07, 2020, 10:07:42 pm »

I'm not so sure about the theories in the last two posts, but then I'm now even less sure about one or two (or even more) that I have floated! I'm waiting eagerly for replies from the two local experts to whom I've referred this thread.

Mind you, it's going to take them a while to work their way through it, what with my diversions to Wiltshire, Hampshire and Tilehurst!

My parting thought before I go to bed is why did Victorian cartographers make a point of marking the Roebuck subway but not the Lodge underpass?

(BTW, once we've completed - more or less- our discussions on Purley, there's something else that I've just spotted on old maps further up the railway to Didcot ... Roll Eyes
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stuving
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« Reply #74 on: April 07, 2020, 11:08:55 pm »

All very bizarre!

I am not convinced by any theory linking the strange story of the gatehouse on the wrong side of the road and the tunnel a little to the west of it with the mysterious subway close to the Roebuck. The topography is I think wrong. I am pretty certain that as well as the land falling away sharply to the north, firstly to the level of the railway and again to the river, it also rises quite sharply on the south side.

The 1934 6" OS map shows the path via the easternwestern underpass ... with stairs down on the north side! So either that was built for walking or, perhaps, found to be too steep like the putative western one. And that hairpin bend suggests that there never was a carriage road from the gatehouse via the eastern tunnel. So if one or both underpasses were built, it would have been "Mr. Storrer wants ..." but when it was built Mr. Storrer realised it wasn't going to work as he thought.

Quote
And just to start another theory running -was the towpath anomaly actually accommodation arrangements resulting from the construction of the railway, cutting off the towpath where the retaining wall runs right down to the water's edge? Having said that, there must have been quite a steep slope down to the river before the railway was built here, which cannot have left much room for a safe and reasonable horse towing path by the Thames. Perhaps it was a diversion forced by the lie of the land?

I think you need to read more of the journal articles about the Storrers - there is documentary evidence on the towpath being rerouted via the ferries. I'm not sure if there was a narrow gap between the railway and the river before it was quadrupled in 1891; an earlier large scale plan is needed to show that. But if the Storrers had blocked access onto their land, there was nothing for the railway to obstruct anyway. Note that some railway historians may think the railway cut the old road, because it was there in older maps, but would know that no accommodation was made. 
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 12:21:32 pm by stuving » Logged
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