Although many of the paths in Hagg Wood have been muddy this very wet Winter, this has not prevented the more able-bodied residents to walk and enjoy the many pleasures that the wood has to offer, especially vital in these difficult times, when exercise and fresh air has never been more important for our physical and mental health. It is always worth remembering that a good pair of wellies can usually be well worth having in these wetter times of the year.
The snowdrops close to the main Community Woodland notice board are now in flower. This is always a welcome sign that Spring is not too far away.
The catkins on the hazel trees are already formed and just waiting for some warmer weather to open up. It will not be too long before the primroses appear, especially abundant along the banks of the ditches. They thrive in damp conditions so this should be a good year for them. Many of the banks of the ditches have been cleared by Forestry contractors. Hopefully this will make them more obvious alongside the violets which can sometimes be difficult to spot. Already the green shoots of the bluebell plants are appearing, hopefully promising another magnificent display in late April and May. Unfortunately during this past year for several reasons we have been unable to carry out our usual conservation work to ensure that the brambles do not gradually take over and deprive our local community of this wonderful display, so let us hope we are not be unable to do this valuable work for too long in the future.
The birds too are starting to sing, especially the blackbirds and robins, all hoping to attract a mate. There is so much to enjoy in Hagg Wood, whatever the season or weather. You are welcome to join us if you would like to help ensure that the local community can enjoy Hagg Wood as much in the future as it has in the past. If so, do get in touch with us via https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/ or through our website www.fohw.org.uk
Unfortunately a mature oak tree has been blown down across the Main Ride (Public Footpath) near to the top of the Stone Road. It is still possible to pass through fallen tree on foot with care. The Forestry Commission are aware and will clear it when a resource becomes available.
Further to our previous update in December 2019 regarding the closure of the track from Intake Lane into Hagg Wood some progress has been made in respect of this matter albeit slowly. If you do not already know two applications were made in 1997 seeking to record two separate public footpaths from Intake Lane into Hagg Wood one of which relates to the track.
Both these applications were the subject of an initial public consultation in the Autumn of 2019 and the City of York Council concluded that there was sufficient evidence for both applications to be determined as public footpaths and Orders were made on 24 February 2020 for these to be effective on 10 February 2020. A further public consultation was subsequently held in the Spring of 2020. However due to a number of continuing objections these Orders could not be implemented and the City of York Council referred the matters to the Secretary of State (Planning Inspectorate) in late Summer last year for them to deal with. In the meantime the track is likely to remain closed.
City of York Council has indicated that it is likely both cases will go to inquiry. At the moment the Planning Inspectorate appear to be trying to hold these inquiries during the Summer for covid reasons. Inquiries have to work to a set timetable which is usually around 26 weeks. This means that the Planning Inspectorate need to set the timetable by the end of March 2021 to hold an inquiry before the end of September 2021. If they do not get these matters under way by then, in a worst case scenario, it could be that the inquiries will not take place until Summer 2022. However if the covid vaccine is effective and the majority of people have been vaccinated towards the end of this year the situation may change and face to face inquiries should be possible. Alternatively the inquiries could be held during peak virus time if all the parties were willing to take part in a virtual inquiry. Unfortunately, as you can see, there is a certain amount of speculation as to what will actually happen which does not help matters. In addition, to complicate the situation even further, the Planning Inspectorate also has a large volume of cases to deal with so for the time being it is a matter of watch this space. As yet the City of York Council has not heard from them.
Whilst both these cases are in Kexby and Scoreby Parish because the majority of people who access Hagg Wood do so from our Parish it is considered that this information is in our residents public interest. This article is factual and based on information that is in the public domain.
The latest information containing details, including all the documents, in respect of both cases can be found on the City of York Council website: https://www.york.gov.uk/PROWNotices
(Once there, click on the “current PRoW notices” link and you can access the relevant documents under references ROW 359130 and ROW 3257816)
Updates will be provided as and when any further information becomes available.