Bedford Borough Council will revisit research carried out by the former Bedfordshire County Council which led it to refute the Mayes Close residents’ assertion that the footpath, although on their land, was fenced out of the gardens.
Wilden Footpath No. 6 was recorded 165 years ago in the Wilden Inclosure Award 1850.
“One other public footway (which we do hereby distinguish as No. 6) leading out of the Great Barford Road nearly opposite a Homestead of William Fuller and proceeding in a Southwesterly direction over Allotments to the Duke of Bedford and Mary the wife of Joseph Willis respectively on Midsummer Green to a stile in the Old Inclosure of the Duke of Bedford called Lammas Meadow …” And:
“And we the said Commissioners have set out and appointed and by these presents do award and confirm the following Public Footways of the width of four feet each viz [continues Public Footways 1 etc.] …”.
The 1850 Award Plan shows the footpath running parallel to and south of the High Street and South Brook as it does now – except for the part which was diverted in 1974. The remaining section of the original path is in a poor condition and the section diverted to accommodate the development of Mayes Close, Wilden cannot be used nowadays.
The North Bedfordshire Heritage Trail - a 70-mile circular walk (see HERE) passes through Wilden but walkers have to follow the High Street instead of Footpath No. 6. Bedford Borough Council has designated this week 10-13 Sept 2015 as it's Heritage Week (see HERE). Swift action to bring Wilden Footpath No. 6 back into use would help demonstrate that the Council is as proud of our heritage as it claims to be.