In 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.
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 remained closed for over four and a half years.
In early September 2017, the path was reopened to cyclists and pedestrians. The lane enables cyclists to avoid the notorious Fountains Roundabout when travelling east or west across the city. For students it provides a very convenient link between a number of University of Chester sites and buildings. The Campaign welcomes the reopening of this path, as it will provide a safe, traffic-free link in a very busy area of the city. The lane is fully lit at night with access control barriers at each end.
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.