Byways in Berkshire

construction   Welcome.
  Like the road network itself, there are ongoing needs for repairs and improvements on these pages ... !
Last updated 17/2/2003
 signage My name is Ross, and you can email me at email
     I'm a vehicle user of unsurfaced public rights of way ; commonly called Green Lanes.  

   I also research currently un-recorded, or under-recorded, public carriageways.

  I drive mostly in my home area (Berkshire, Hampshire) but sometimes further afield.

button More About my use of Green Lanes       it's a recreational thang ...

button The need for action     threats to the old roads 

button shortcut to GLASS Berkshire info     local info on Berks lanes from the Green Lane Assoc. As I'm one of the county reps for GLASS much of this is my work too, so be warned  :)

books The main purpose of this page  is to make available some hard-to-find information and documents for the benefit of other RoW workers, be they motorised or not.  I've found some good stuff on the web for my own projects but there's always gaps.    Click for official info   - miscellaneous stuff - or historical notes

I don't intend to give a how-to guide for RoW claims or defence ; others can give much better advice than me !
Join GLASS, TRF, CTC or BHS depending on your transport - or if you don't think we should be doing this at all join the RA.    See the links here .

Official Resources

icon "Making the Best of Byways"
An official DoE (now DETR) government document aimed at local authorities, offering advice on managing Green Lanes.  Useful to beat a disinterested or heavy-handed authority with.  Oddly this can't be found on DETR/Countryside Agency websites.
     Adobe Acrobat document  ~ 60 pages with photos ~ 4 Mb
These "PDF" documents require a FREE download called Acrobat Reader from Adobe     logo

icon Warning Notice
As a kind of follow-up to 'MBOB' above, a photo of a notice posted on byways by a Highway Authority near me ; I believe it's a useful reminder to vehicle users of their responsibilities when using fragile lanes.  And might also be another alternative suggestion for a H.A. considering a restriction.
   JPEG photo format ~ 185 kb

[to follow] 1801 Inclosure Consolidation Act.
Parts of the text of the Act of Parliament "standardising" the process of land enclosure, which had already been going on by individual acts for many years.  Parliamentary Inclosure was about "improving" agriculture by fencing off the old common fields,  doing away with strip farming and creating the familiar field patchwork we see today.  This creation of "private" lands also required the definition of Public roads, some of which are nowadays disuputed or lost.  This Act will be needed for reference if you consult an Inclosure for years 1801-1845. (Prior to 1801 each Inclosure was a self-contained Act, this 1801 Act set out 'standard' terms & conditions)

[to follow] 1835 Highways Act.
Parts of the text of the Act of Parliament, dealing with highway maintenance & responsibilities

icon 1845 Inclosure Act (extracts)
  Relevant parts (for highways) of the text of the Act of Parliament replacing and updating the 1801 standardised terms.  Needed for reference if you examine an Inclosure Award from after 1845.
   Adobe Acrobat document ~ 41kb

icon Binfield Inclosure Award of 1817 (extracts)
  Strictly local stuff, my notes taken from an original parchment roll in Berkshire Records Office.  Damn thing is 30 feet long!!  Most of it relates to the landowners ripping off the poorer folk, sorry I mean improving agricultural efficiency, by fencing off the common land ; but there are also definitions of public highways, which is what I've extracted here.
  Microsoft Word97 document, with embedded map ~ 780kb

Miscellaneous Resources

button Old maps I have in stock
Old maps can be useful for showing the apparent 'reputation' of a road's status at a time in the past.
I do have maps from other areas for swap or share, that might be of more use to other workers than me :)  It seems to be an application of "Sod's Law" that the secondhand bookshops in any given area will have for sale the maps for everywhere else, and no local ones!

button Dating Bartholemew's maps
Old "Barts" half-inch maps can be found all over when you look.  There also seems to be a thriving trade in them on eBay auctions.    This is my own accumulated notes of how to date them.

button The Mapmakers ; References
A document collecting together my own notes about old time cartographers ; if you're presenting an old map as evidence for a long standing route, it helps to establish the map-maker's reputation with references. 

Sample Inclosure Awards (click for external links)
These samples were put on the web by genealogists; but for our purposes they also include highways information, and give some indication what to expect when examining an Inclosure Award.  Apart from the sheer size of the document and the old fashioned hand script!
    dot   Bolton upun Dearne 1767
    dot   West Wratting 1813

Historical Tidbits

icon Byways in Berkshire and the Cotswolds (extracts)
  A few extracts from this 1920 book by a bicycling country parson, who was also Honorary Secretary of the county archaeology society.
   Microsoft Word97 document ~ 45kb


counter     hmmmm .. just like the odometer on the Range Rover ...