The many footpaths in Highlands Ward range from pavements on busy streets to rough woodland tracks. For frequent passage by the general public pavements need to be fit for purpose; which means they should be even, clear, clean, illuminated, maintained and safe. Pavements and tarmac footways along common land have a similar requirement if these connect with areas where specific access is expected; such as to and from schools and public transport. There is a lower duty of care regarding unmade paths. In rural places we are likely to walk at our own risk.
The paved walkway at the junction of Merryhills Drive and Enfield Road provides a continuous hard surface along open land between Oakwood and Enfield Town. As it approaches the pedestrian crossing it becomes tarmac and continues all the way down the orbital road, through open green belt and into suburban Enfield. This long march is enjoyed by many mobile residents. We also benefit from a corresponding cycle route, which originates in Cockfosters, traces the orbital road, along adjacent slipways crossing Trentwood side and then to the top of Slades Hill.
There are, of course, numerous paved surfaces along residential routes and a few alleyways between commercial properties. Many (but not all) access routes are indicated on Google Maps. Of particular note East of The Ridgeway is the walk-through between Holtwhites Hill and Lavender Hill on either side of the Hedge Hill precinct.
Made-up footpaths affording public right of way through common land South of Enfield Road, include links between between Glenbrook North, Lonsdale Drive (North and South) and Merryhills School, and a link from Glenbrook South with Merryhills School at one end and Londsdale Drive at the other. At the bottom of Worlds End Lane by Glen Brook there is the entrance to a concealed way, which eventually joins the main road on Slades Hill.
The Merryhills Way: The north west corner of Highlands has a delightfull trail beside the bridle path which forms a bridge over Merryhills Brook turning right before Willams Wood and running parallel with the Enfield Road as far as Camp Road. Here it turns north and meanders towards Fairview road, just off The Ridgeway. Meanwhile you may be tempted to wander round the perimeter of Shaws Wood, which transforms from deciduous forest to conifer plantations. At the foot of Slades Hill, opposite Links Side an unmade access lane (Camp Road) stretches for a quarter of a mile into fields crossing the final section of Merryhills Brook.
Not strictly off the beaten track but certainly off the map until now. Pictured below is one of five name plates installed by the Council in February 2017. This project was completed after months of correspondence and a site meeting in Summer 2016 between the Council and WERA. As you can tell, the signs belong to the Cotswold Way area. Postman, Paramedic, Police Officer, Firefighter, Delivery Driver, Visitor (and everyone else) is no longer confused about who lives on which previously unidentified side or corner in this tranquil enclave.
And: Continuing to shed a light!
Residents Priority Fund Application: Until 2014 Wards were invited to apply for funding to complete projects of value to local communities. At our open meeting in September 2014 Councillor Vince disclosed the allocation for Highlands. It stood at a reduced value of £19,040 (formerly £40,000). She indicated that individual bids of up to £5,000 might be submitted (with only one opportunity for each); at the latest before January 2015.
Early that year funding was discontinued.
Our Committee asked if it was admissible to propose additional street lighting on the footpath by the Glenbrook rear entrance to Merryhills School, which is heavily overshadowed. It seemed the Council was receptive if the Contractor could undertake the work with the Fund putting up the budget shortfall of £5,000. WERA completed an application by mid November 2014 for which acceptance was not included in the first round of reviews and grants completed by the end of that month. However, the process was investigated by our Councillors and assurances given that, after due consultation with neighbouring residents, it would be considered at the meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee in February. In March it was disclosed that more consultation with residents and users was expected. This was conducted at the school gate and the poll well received.
We received confirmation in writing that our application was finally approved by the ERPF Sub Committee of Enfield Council. Their grant has funded provision of, not one but two, street lights up to the value of £5,000. As you can see from the photograph above, our lights have been installed and are working! And that's not all. The surrounding network of paths have been upgraded with new tarmac surfaces and neat kerbing which connects residents walking to and from the Laing Estate by Boxers Lake. This will make parents and pupils more safe and secure in the dark winter months.