Oxfordshire Bridleway No.8 — Backside Lane
Backside Lane is older than Roman, it was the way into the village from Brailes/Tysoe via Ditchhedge, there being no top road. Today it is twice the width it was when I came some 30+ years ago. Then, vehicles paused in driveway entrances to allow other vehicles to pass. The lane is wide enough for two cars to pass if you drive carefully and slowly.
Today, a mentality exists whereby, if you can not pass another vehicle on the lane, the verge is OK. (On rare occasions this has to be). It does not take a moment to pause and ask a driver to move. It is polite. The driver will not be far away. Concerning my house, people are usually collecting or delivering a Village Hall key, a matter of a moment.
The ruling with a bridleway is that those who live on the lane are responsible for the maintenance of the verge outside their property. If driven over too many times the verge will become like a ploughed field as it has no ‘bottom’ as has the lane. A bridleway needs to be 2 metres wide, sufficient for a horse and rider and a bier.
Some years ago the council offered to take over Backside Lane, at our expense. This would have meant a wide road with a white line and pavements both sides and street lighting. Some of these not existing in the rest of the village. It did not happen happily.
It‘ you wish to live in a town with those amenities so be it, but we live in a lane which needs to be cared for as part of our heritage. I quote;
“and so all men run after time Lord. They pass through life running, hurried, jostled, over burdened, frantic and they never get there. They haven’t time. In spite of all their efforts they are still short of time, of a great deal of time”.
“You who are beyond time, Lord, you smile to see us fighting it, and you know what you are doing. You make no mistakes in your distribution of time to men. You give each one time to do what you want him to do”.
K M Winter