Patchetts Green Bridleways Trust
 PG: OBJECTS: PROMOTION: Aldenham 82 Blackbirds Lane
Map showing recorded Aldenham paths
Annotated map reproduced courtesy of Googlemaps.
Blackbirds Lane runs from Kemprow, Aldenham north-eastwards to a junction with Aldenham 74 bridleway then north-westwards to Aldenham 22 Crab Lane and Commonmeadow Lane, the one river ford on the Water Meadows (via Aldenham 62), and thence to School Lane, Bricket Wood.

At the time of the BHS 2021/22 Access Survey (3 Jan 22), the route was unobstructed. It was signposted at the southern end, and had purple waymark arrows at the northern end.

Blackbirds Lane photograph
1. Gap by gate at start of path
Photo: Helen Taylor, 1 Aug 2021
Blackbirds Lane photograph
1. Sign at Blackbirds Farm
Photo: Helen Taylor, 3 Jan 2022
Blackbirds Lane photograph
2. Heading north-east from signpost
Photo: Helen Taylor, 3 Jan 2022
Blackbirds Lane photograph
3. After turning north-west
Photo: Helen Taylor, 3 Jan 2022
Blackbirds Lane photograph
4. About half way along, heading north-west
Photo: Helen Taylor, 3 Jan 2022
Blackbirds Lane photograph
5. Looking south-east from Aldenham 22
Photo: Helen Taylor, 3 Jan 2022
BHS PGBT Prior to about 2004, its status was not in doubt. However, the county council's web site then recorded it as being public only from Kemprow to Blackbirds Farm. This didn't explain, of course, where the Sewage Works bridleway (Aldenham 74) went where it met Blackbirds Lane, nor how it was that many riders had been using this path for as long as anyone can remember.

Worse still, in April 2006, a new gate appeared at the southern end. This was viewed as a clear attempt to bring the public's right to use the path into question, and so it was necessary vigorously to defend the lane.

Because there was doubt over its status, an application was made to record the route. The historical evidence showed a continuous route from Kemprow to Crab Lane. The County Council agreed with the evidence submitted and made an order recording the route as a restricted byway, that is, a route for walkers, riders, cyclists and cariage drivers.

The inquiry was held on 17 and 18 Mar 2010 in Radlett. The Inspector agreed with restricted byway status and decided to record an increased width on part of the route. Accordingly it was necessary to readvertise the modified order before it was confirmed. This was done, and the order was subsequently confirmed on 6 Dec 10. This is a good example of 'perfectly obvious paths' that was under threat from the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 if an application had not been made in time.

Legal History
The Hertfordshire Highways (Main Roads) No. 3 Order, 1898 designated this route as a main road.
28 Dec 05: Application made to have this path recorded.
19 Dec 07: Hertfordshire County Council announce their formal decision to make an order at Restricted Byway status.
26 Jun 08: The Hertfordshire County Council (Aldenham 82) Modification Order 2008 made to record route as a restricted byway. Objections received.
31 Jul 09: Official 'Start Date' for Planning Inspectorate case tracking purposes.
17 Mar 10: Start of Public Inquiry.
6 Dec 10: Modification order is confirmed. Route is recorded as Restricted Byway.
Definitive Statement (3 Mar 2008)
Path: 82.  Status: Restricted Byway.  Definitive Map sheet: 84
Commences from the county road Blackbirds Lane at TQ 1453 9975 at the north-east corner of the farm buiding, joining Aldenham 10 and then running NE through Blackbirds Farm for approximately 150m to the junction with Aldenham 74 at TQ 1463 9986 where it turns to run NW along the track for approximately 690m to join Aldenham 22 at TL 1396 0040.
Width: Varying from 4.5m to 12.5m as shown excluded from hereditaments on the Finance Act 1910 map, including the pond near Blackbirds Farm.
Limitations: None

© 2022 Patchetts Green Bridleways Trust. File reference: EC329.

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