On 27th November 2012 a popular cyclist and pedestrian link was closed by the council following the collapse of a retaining wall on one side of the path. The path, known locally as ‘Rocky Lane’ or ‘Prince Rupert’s Trench’, was heavily used by University of Chester staff and students as well as local Garden Quarter residents who used the ginnel as a shortcut from Parkgate Road to Liverpool Road, avoiding Fountains Roundabout.
Work on reopening the path was bedevilled by legal battles regarding the responsibility for the cost of the repair of the collapse. Meanwhile the route has remained closed for over four years.
Now, however, work has finally begun on repairing the retaining wall, leading to hopes that the link will reopen later this year. This is great news for local cyclists and pedestrians, particularly as the path is a useful link between several university buildings. Keep an eye out on the Chester Cycling Campaign website for further updates on this project.
The ‘Rocky Lane’ ginnel formed part of Prince Rupert’s ‘great trench’ and was used by Royalist forces during the siege of Chester to move artillery around the city’s perimeter. Prince Rupert, the King’s nephew, visited the city soon after the outbreak of the Civil War. He voiced concerns about artillery mobility and ordered his ‘great trench’ to be built to facilitate movement.
Archaeologists involved in the surveying and repair work have been checking the excavation to see if any further information can be gleaned about this period in Chester’s history.