Footpath fury gets serious

Change of right of way across land at Lees Lane Stables, off Syke Lane, Lightcliffe.
Change of right of way across land at Lees Lane Stables, off Syke Lane, Lightcliffe.

A woman has suffered countless abuse while her husband was attacked following a bitter feud regarding a public footpath.

Debbie Pedley and her husband rent the land at Lees Lane Stables off Syke Lane in Lightcliffe, which features a large field that’s been accessed by the public for years.

Although there was originally a route through the fields in front of the barns across to the nearby A58 road, the path – now closed – was never a legal right of way.

Debbie, of Bracken Close in Mirfield,said problems arose when joggers running at the rear of the stables would disturb her horses.

After one fuelled discussion, the council came to check the property – revealing that the current path wasn’t actually a legal right of way.

“The council insisted that we change it,” said Debbie, 47. But since the decision to do so, things seem to have spiralled out of control.

While aggressive walkers have damaged newly installed stiles and hurled abusive language towards the couple, they were forced to get the police involved when things got more serious.

Debbie said: “My husband was actually attacked when someone got a plank of wood in his hand and took a swing and then started beating him around the head.

“There’s also been threatening letters saying we’d threatened someone with a gun.

“We’ve put signs up, we’ve put maps up, but they’re all taken down within an hour.

“They can petition to have it re-routed, but this isn’t how you do it.”