West Bank

Winster, Derbyshire

An accident waiting to happen?

The village of Winster in Derbyshire is pretty - maybe even quaint - but like so many such old villages contains its share
of difficult road conditions. One in particular is West Bank - by no means the only dangerous hill in Derbsyhire,
but certainly one which causes its residents serious concerns all year round, and particularly in winter.

(Image: Google Earth)

Nice isn't it?

The problem is that it is very difficult to tell from a picture like this just how steep some parts can be.

West  Bank, Winster
Is a steep and in places narrow hill with no footpaths and, often, a number of parked vehicles. It has an average gradient of 1:6 but in places is steeper than that.
This hill is plagued by heavy vehicles, often using it as a shortcut to or from Darley Dale to save the trouble of following the correct route via Pickory Corner/A6.
 As a result there have been a number of incidents where property and vehicles have been damaged by HGVs and where considerable disruption has been caused.
Residents have been calling for action to reduce this menace since at least 1988.
A 3 ton weight restriction was placed on West bank in 1973 and updated in 1988. These were largely ignored by vehicles.

A proper weight restriction of 3.5t was established for West Bank by Derbyshire County Council in July 2008.
This is enforceable. However, the road signs concerned are not easily seen by drivers at either end of West Bank.

Currently, when an HGV can be reported, the data is sent
 to Trading Standards whose remit is to send the offender notification that they have contravened the Restriction Order.

But this does not solve a dangerous problem which is getting worse.
In 25 years, and with the invention of SatNav, virtually nothing has been done about
this dangerous hill but traffic flow and parked vehicles have increased considerably
while winter gritting has been reduced.

How it looks

Even with the data added above it is still difficult to understand how steep parts of this hill really are. 

Look at it another way:
This hill is about 500 yds top to bottom. It rises 156 feet over that distance.
Drivers at the bottom think it only a shallow slope. Drivers at the top think it is a shallow slope.
And HGV drivers think they can get away with breaking the law.

But in the middle the incline covers a rise of 50ft in 100 yards.
This is the most dangerous point and it is invisible to most drivers with blind bends at each end.

That is why there are signs like this one top and bottom.

And like this one at the top.

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