There are no Public Rights of Way over the Sandiway Golf Course.
This matter was first raised in 1903 when the Northwich RDC took Lord Delamere to the Chester Assizes with a view of declaring the highway leading from Round Lodge (Round Tower) to Monkey Lodge, Whitegate as a Public Highway and restraining Lord Delamere from denying access. The hearing lasted from 7th to the 13th March and judgement was made in favour of Lord Delamere. Northwich RDC appealed to the High Court and this appeal was heard between 15th and 17th July 1903 with the Court refusing to set aside the judgement. There was a belief that Northwich RDC took the case on appeal to the House of Lords but there is no evidence of this.
In 1920 ICI then leased land from Lord Delamere and there are no notes on file relating to Rights of Way until 1961.
A National Parks and Access to Countryside Act 1949 led to a Survey of Rights of Way and in 1961 a public inquiry was held following an objection to the closed paths across the estate, by the Peak District and Northern Counties Footpaths Preservation Society. There had been increasing public usage over the years but nevertheless, the enquiry overruled the objections and there was no appeal to the judgement which confirmed that there were no Public Rights Of Way over the course.
The confusion over Rights of Way seems to have been created by the fact that when the Golf Club Land was leased by ICI from Lord Delamere; he retained a right of access for his agents, tenants and other authorised persons. This included Mr Furmston who worked for Lord Delamere and lived in the cottage on the course, tenants in Monkey Lodge and the Round Tower, Lord Delamere’s friends who used the land for sporting purposes and ultimately fishermen making their way to Petty Pool.
In addition members of the Club parked their cars at the top of the course to use the original practice ground (1945-1955) which played beyond the pine trees in front of the second tee to the trees across the apron of the current 4th green. The Path was therefore assumed by many local residents to be a “Right of Way”.
In 1977 there was concern about trespassing down the drive from Monkey Lodge and a patrol was established by the Vale Royal Estate; the lane from Monkey Lodge down past the 13th hole is a private road with access for residents and anglers only.
In the same year the Vale Royal District Council was looking at the provision of more recreation sites in Vale Royal and Petty Pool Wood became a prime site for more footpaths and less restricted access. There is acknowledgement in their paperwork that most of the paths are not official rights of way although there are public footpaths along the southern bank of Petty Pool.
The early eighties saw the Club purchasing the freehold from the Delamere Estate and there are several documents relating to unauthorised access. At that time it was decided that the Tower Lodge gate would not be used and access to the course for members would be by the main entrance only. This was for the benefit of the Club in the longer term and would put an end to trespassing across the course. In addition to signage, fencing was erected alongside the 13th hole and down across to the bank of Petty Pool near to the Pump House. Further fencing was erected alongside the 2nd fairway and another fence was placed behind the 4th tee down into Petty Pool Wood. This is partially on Vale Royal Estate land albeit with their permission.