Back in 2013, the BHS in partnership with the Ramblers, submitted a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO) to claim an old highway as a Restricted Byway. Cornwall Council processed this order in 2018 as it considered the user and historic evidence to be good.
The decision went to Public Inquiry (PI) because an adjacent landowner objected. The Inspector at the PI determined that there was only enough evidence for usage on foot and discounted the historic evidence for Byway.
The amended Order, for a Footpath only, then had to be re-advertised. This gave us the opportunity to object and submit further evidence.
By that time, we had gained much experience in examining historic evidence and preparing applications using our Project 2026 Website on DOBBIN (Database On Bridleways and Byways Information).
Using the DOBBIN DMMO ‘factory’ we put together an evidence package. 'The Factory’ has access to the main components of historic evidence. We soon assembled a document of old maps, tithe map and finance maps to prove the balance of probability showed a Public Right of Way with higher rights. We also did a ‘virtual drive by’ courtesy of Mr. Google and discovered that a Methodist Chapel had its entrance on to a section of the claimed route. It was obvious that worshippers did not attend by private permission but by public right and probably by horse and Jingle. Also, many chapels had a stable attached for the Preacher’s horse. This was only one example of some of the evidence we cited as convincing that a higher right over the route existed. In January 2021, the Inspector took full note of our new evidence and arguments and he confirmed the original Order un-amended, so the whole old lane route is now a Restricted Byway. We had succeeded!
This is a most important landmark case for us and other volunteers over the country, because it is a success for an application based mainly on Tithe and Inland Revenue map evidence. Had this application failed, it would have put the success of our many other applications in doubt. We thank Cornwall Council (Enforcement) and Cormac for doing such a good job on clearing this old lane making such a nice ride.
We have been submitting DMMO’s over the past 18 months and to date we have submitted over 130 in Cornwall. This case gives us confidence that our due process is good enough to get them registered and ultimately on to the OS map. The pandemic is interfering with our current progress as we do need to visit the Cornwall Records Library, Kresen Kernow and we are also currently prevented from posting and serving notices on the routes we have applied for but hope for better times.
This is rewarding work and if you are interested in helping........
Please visit: https://www.bhs.org.uk/our-work/access/campaigns/2026 and http://www.bhsaccess.org.uk/dobbin/P2026home.php
Adrian and Margaret (BHS County Access Officers)