The Society is seeking to secure the long term future of two established footpaths in Hexham centre. Since this summer, these two paths have been obstructed in different ways. 

One of the footpaths runs through Bank Head where the historic “Old Grammar School” (founded under a 1599 charter of Elizabeth I) is sited. The eastern end of this footpath is now often obstructed by the padlocking of the long- standing  double gates which separate the east end of Bank Head from Hallgate. 

The other footpath runs through the car park area to the north of Prospect House. This provided pedestrian access to an elevated viewing point above Hallstile Bank on the north west edge of the car park. From this elevated position there are panoramic views over the Tyne Valley and beyond. It is this panoramic view, the “prospect”, after which the house is named. This path is now fully obstructed by high metal fencing placed along the southern edge of the car park since it became surplus to Northumberland County Council requirements and was apparently sold on. 

General location of the two historic footpath routes

General location of the two historic footpath routes

If these two footpaths are to be restored to their previous “always accessible” status, sufficient evidence from local people of their previous use of these paths is a fundamental requirement if they are to be legally established as a protected right of way. At this stage, we would wish you to contact the Society if you have used either or both of these footpaths together with a brief summary of your level of usage, notably, for how many years you have used one or both of them and how often per year you have used one or both . Once it is judged that there is a sufficient level of previous path usage to support a legal claim for these rights of way, we will be in touch with you again about the next and final step, the completion of what is known as  a “User Evidence Form”. At this stage the Society may well organize a meeting for those who have contacted us to circulate, explain and answer any questions on the User Evidence Forms and any other questions. 

Your contact on this issue is Richard Simons – Tel: 01434 606034