I first wrote about the problem in 1999. The picture on the left was taken in 1999 and the picture on the right in 2009. I first wrote about the threat to this historic right of way in News from the Forum in 1999 and again in late-2009 / early-2010.
The map below is from 1826 and clearly shows the 'Footpath from Beeston' running across The Park between Nottingham and Lenton, then quite separate places.
The map below, which was published in 1835, also shows that the route The Park Estate claims to be ‘private’ existed before The Park Estate was developed. George Sanderson was a Mansfield surveyor, known for his skill and the accuracy of his maps. Below I show a section of his original map. I believe the evidence showing that an ancient right-of-way exists is overwhelming.
If you look at the geography of the terrain between Nottingham and Lenton at its original location (ie. north–south along what we now know as Gregory Street), then the footpath / trackway through The Park was an obvious route. To the north, walkers and pack animals would have had to climb to what we now know as Canning Circus in both directions and to the south, was the Trent flood-plain and River Leen, all of which would have been subject to flooding.
Then there is this advertisement from page 5 of the Nottingham Review & General Advertiser dated 19 October 1838:
The final paragraph says 'This Property is in a pleasant and retired situation in the village of lenton, adjoining the Footpath leading from Nottingham to Lenton across the Park'. What with the two maps as well, this third item seems to make it game, set and match against any claim by The Park Estate that they have the power to block this historic right-of-way.
Finally, a quote from 'Rambles in Nottinghamshire part 3' (from Nottinghamshire Guardian and Midland Advertiser dated 14 Feb 1850) and look at 3rd paragraph down: It begins 'In crossing The Park to Lenton…' Again it couldn't be clearer. There is an assumption that there is a clearly defined route between Nottingham and Lenton. It still exists in 2012. The only difference is that people living in 'The Park' as it now believe that they have the right to stop Lenton residents (and others) from using it.
It is difficult to believe, but the dispute with The Park Estate began in 1999 and a Public Inquiry into The Park Estate's actions will finally take place in the summer of 2013, when I may be called as a witness. We shall see. In the meantime, the above may be of interest.