Call for action on historic steps

The 40 Steps in Walton-le-Dale, pictured in 1905.
Photograph courtesy of Preston Digital Archive.
The 40 Steps in Walton-le-Dale, pictured in 1905. Photograph courtesy of Preston Digital Archive.
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A 1,000 signature petition has been gathered calling for an historic right of way to be reopened.

The ‘40 steps’ near Charnley Fold in Bamber Bridge - a path leading to the River Darwen with grassed play areas - was closed to the public by Lancashire County Council (LCC) in January on safety grounds.

The 40 Steps in Walton-le-Dale, pictured in 1924.
Photograph courtesy of Preston Digital Archive.

The 40 Steps in Walton-le-Dale, pictured in 1924. Photograph courtesy of Preston Digital Archive.

But almost five months on, locals say they frustrated with a lack of action.

Ann Nihill, 73, of Cottage Lane, Bamber Bridge, has collected signatures from local residents and traders, calling for restorative work to be done soon.

She said: “The 40 Steps is special to the people of Bamber Bridge, it’s like our Avenham Park.

“It’s where we roll our Easter eggs and where I played as a child, going down the hill in cardboard boxes.

LEP   24-04-17
Ann Nihill from Bamber Bridge, is angry that a well-used public footpath to a historic area known as 40-steps, has been closed. Ann started a petition with over 1,000 signitures of people in support to get it reopened.

LEP 24-04-17 Ann Nihill from Bamber Bridge, is angry that a well-used public footpath to a historic area known as 40-steps, has been closed. Ann started a petition with over 1,000 signitures of people in support to get it reopened.

“LCC have told me that the banking has been washed away and there’s safety issues.

“There’s a notice saying it could be closed for six months. But we’re coming up to that and there appears to be no action.

“It’s not something local people will forget about, but when I ring up about it I get passed around from person to person, and nobody is forthcoming with any information.”

LCC has a duty to restore the right of way and it is believed investigations are ongoing into how the banking has failed and what can be done to prevent it in the future.

A spokesman for LCC said: “We have closed this footpath for safety as the hillside and the footpath have eroded, making the area unsafe.

“We are currently investigating potential solutions to restore access.”

The 40 Steps area is believed to have been created around 1860, during the Cotton Famine.