Following up on Tuesday's post about a route from Newton Aycliffe, two Campaign members have checked the various options.
Tuesday was a miserable day, intermittent rain, cloudy and cold, but even so we set out to Patches lane to see whether that was a viable option. Basically - no chance. This former railway line should not be designated as anything but a bridleway, with mud up to the hubs at numerous places. Apparently, this is the case all year, apart from a few days at the height of summer.
Tim advised that the bridleways to the east of the A167 were in a similar state, so we declined the chance to try these. Instead we had a look at the A167 itself. Interestingly, there is a shared cycle/foot path on the Newton Aycliffe side of the motorway roundabout (southern side of road). The crossing of motorway-leaving or bound traffic is not as onerous as it might be. We then hit the footpath on the Darlington side of the motorway featured in the video.
This is officially designated "walk your bike", but we believe that this could easily, and justifiably, be upgraded to a shared-use cycle/foot path. Bear in mind that, until Harrowgate Hill, this is a rural area. We didn't encounter a single pedestrian all the time we were filming this route. And we even came across some expensively paved parking space as we approached Darlington. Whose money financed THAT folly, I wonder? Surely, if there was ever a case for a shared path, this is it.
Issue will be raised with the local authority imminently.