We were sad to announce the death in November 2014 of Kath W, who, with her husband Ken and son Martin, was a life-long active supporter of LFA.
A large number of people including LFA members, attended her funeral on December 18th at St. Mary’s Magdalen Church, Knighton. Her family gave full, and often humorous, account of her many talents and interests, highlighting her kindness, her integrity, her love of adventure and sense of fun.
LFA walkers will remember all the social occasions we shared with them:- the many jolly portable picnics where the whole family met us with food and drink at the start of a walk: their charming wedding anniversaries and birthday celebrations with tea in the village hall at Woodhouse (and of course there were a lot of these over the years! Kath was 97 when she died. I don’t know how many miles they must have walked with us but I know they were members of LFA before 1958 when I joined!) She made friends so easily with people of all ages and was so interested in what they said and did, that she made an ideal membership secretary for us over many years. She took a real interest in everyone and sent lovely cards to anyone in need of cheering up or deserving congratulation.
When they were in their 90s, and could no longer do a whole walk at our speed, Martin used to bring both his parents to walk a field or two to meet us. It was always interesting to see how Kath greeted everyone. She remembered the names of all the ‘old’ walkers and was pleased to meet and learn the names of new members. In her old age, it was always a pleasure to go out with her. She was so appreciative and so observant of all things around her. As we drove along, she noted footpath signs to routes she remembered and on foot, she stopped to look at flowers, (whose names she knew) and played with animals and children we encountered and she kept up an interesting conversation on a variety of subjects. She knew the best places to see winter aconites (Glooston church) or snowdrops (Burton Overy) and took trips specially to see them. She took delight in all around her, seeing beauty and sharing her joy with us. She was an example to us all as walkers in LFA.
Long may she be remembered!
That’s my first year as Chairman already over, and as Chris M intimated last year, it is thanks to the hard work of the rest of the committee, particularly our Secretary Brian, that I have found the Chairman’s role is not onerous. An extra committee duty this year is due to a change in the lunch arrangements for the AGM. My thanks go to Cindy W and Jenny T for taking on the planning and organisation of the lunch, in addition to their existing roles. My thanks go also to all the walk leaders, especially those first-timers. Several of you have had to cope with sudden closures of pre-booked pubs.
Well, we may have some winter weather now, along with mud, mud glorious mud, but do you remember the Summer and Autumn when we never had to scrape our boots for weeks on end? Marvellous wasn’t it? Meanwhile Ken B was walking his ‘Leicestershire Border Walk’ and I have enjoyed his illustrated account on the website.
Another happy memory was the LFA Monday evening walk from Saddington and afterwards sitting in the sun at 9.00pm with a cool beer and chat. The weather was as good as we imagined summers were in childhood. All good things come to an end. On a warm sunny September 30th I was leading a walk and on a pre-walk the next week got soaked through my waterproofs.
In the last newsletter I informed you of Network Rail plans, at Government instruction, for the closure of 25% of ground level crossings nationwide on safety grounds. They stated that there would be ample consultation period to achieve the best outcome for all users. Whilst we would like to insist all crossings stay as they are there is no way this can happen. If we were presented with an overall plan, say for example “you can retain 50% of the crossings” we could select those most useful to us. However it seems to be that the crossings are being dealt with one at a time and we are not the only interested party. To give you a flavour of one such consultation BJ and I went to a very well attended public meeting at Barrow Upon Soar with regards to the bridleway crossing of the fast main line there. This has been closed with a renewable temporary closure order for some years. One thing is certain, it will never re-open as a crossing at rail level. Network rail presented 10 alternative property designed and costed solutions. Each would require a bridge or tunnel plus compulsory purchase of land and/or property, with attendant cost. Each was deemed unaffordable by Network Rail and most an eyesore by residents. Being a bridleway, long zig-zag approaches to a bridge are required as horses don’t do steps. It was interesting to note that local people, with local knowledge, pressed for unblocking an old railway arch close by, which had not been considered, and to re-investigate compulsory purchase of land to allow this to be used. Compulsory purchase is something Network Rail wish to avoid on principle. Network Rail initially deemed the old tunnel impractical but agreed to re-examine this possibility. We will wait with interest.
In the meantime, I wish both regulars and newcomers well and hope you all continue to enjoy walking with the L.F.A.
Your committee met seven times during the year. Our old meeting place at Thurnby became unavailable and our thanks go to Dave R for finding us a new location in the Community Room at Wigston Fire Station. Our meeting on the 5th November passed by without too much interruption from bonfire activities!
The cut back in funding to the County Council has influenced the work being done on footpath problems. Disputes seem to have become more protracted and settlements few and far between. I will mention three matters to illustrate this.
First is the temporary closure of the bridleway crossing at Barrow on Soar which commenced as a temporary closure in August, 2008. The bridleway I20 was closed because of safety concerns for users. The first public consultation took place in December, 2008 and a second one in October this year. Network Rail wish to extinguish the crossing but this will adversely affect the public rights of way system. User groups, local people and other organisations are against this. Our Association indicated to Leicestershire County Council on the 6th September, 2013 our objection. No formal order has yet been issued by the County Council for extinguishment.
Second is the unsatisfactory situation at Shackerstone Railway Station where the Leicestershire Round Recreational footpath route has been re-routed away from the station complex. A temporary closure order was first issued by the County Council on the 15th December, 2011. The footbridge used to cross the railway lines was deemed unsafe and the cost of replacement it seems cannot be met by the Shackerstone Railway Trust in the short term. This raises the question when in the long term will the Trust be in a position to make the footbridge once more safe to cross. The temporary closure order has now been extended with permission of the Secretary of State for Transport until 14th October, 2015.
Third is a minor diversion at Pocket Gate Cottage, Woodhouse Eaves which started as long ago as the 27th June, 2005. There is now light at the end of the tunnel due to all parties agreeing to an administrative decision being made by an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. Our formal statement of case as an objector was lodged on the lst September this year. By our Annual General Meeting in February 2015, I anticipate this matter will have been determined.
I have some good news to report involving a successful claim by the The Ramblers’ Association for an addition to the Definitive Map of a footpath. It is between Markfield
Road and Forest View, Groby. It was in May 2003 the claim came to our attention and it was based on user evidence from local people. 89 user evidence forms had been completed. The footpath leaves Markfield Road along the access drive to 53a, Markfield Road and then skirts the eastern end of a playground before passing Martinshaw Primary School and entering Forest View. The footpath is numbered R125.
The De-Regulation bill currently before Parliament and expected to be enacted in 2015 will alter the approach to Definitive Map alterations by introducing a timetable for the County Council to adhere to. If no assessment is made within three months, the applicant may give notice to the County Council of an intention to apply to a Magistrates’ Court for an order.
Clauses 12 to 19 of the Bill deal with use of land and schedule 6 outlines the procedural requirements; much of the detail will follow in regulations.
Another major change will be a County Council website listing diversion applications and this will replace notices which had to appear in newspapers advertising claims for rights of way alterations.
National Forest Way
This new walk is now open to the public linking the National Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire with Beacon Hill in Leicestershire. The route is 75 miles long and will pass through a changing landscape. The way is divided into 12 stages ranging in length from 4 to 7.5 miles. This way links the ancient forests of Needwood and Charnwood. Its winding nature will link up many woodland plantations established during the last twenty years and millions of trees have been planted.
East Midlands Gateway Rail Freight Interchange.
A planning application has now been submitted in respect of the above. The development will, amongst other things, involve the construction and operation of:-
An intermodal freight terminal with sixteen trains per day
Rail served warehousing and ancillary buildings,
A new rail line connecting the terminal to the Castle Donington freight only line,
A new road structure, including a Kegworth by-pass and substantial improvements to junction 24 of the M1.
Strategic landscaping and open space, including public rights of way and new publicly accessible open areas; and
A bus interchange.
As regards rights of way, a link will be maintained between Castle Donington and Kegworth and in particular a new bridleway has been planned. A good deal of attention has been devoted to public access. Local Parish Councils have indicated they are not welcoming this development and will oppose it.
Re-generation of the now disused Nailstone Colliery
Hinckley and Bosworth District Council have received a planning application for re-generation of this old colliery site. It is proposed there will be a Northern and Southern Country Park Area. The existing public footpath network is proposed to be supplemented with additional pedestrian and cycle paths with improved links and connectivity to the Ivanhoe Way and the National Cycle Routes and new link paths to Battram Access Centre. These routes will be surfaced to be suitable for both disabled and able bodied users to provide access through the Country Park.
These orders ended on the 20th October and have been replaced by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, 2014 (Section 59). Under this new provision they are known as “ Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOS)”. These orders can be made by local authorities to restrict use of a public space to deal with a problem or nuisance initially for a maximum period of three years. Gates and other barriers can be erected to counteract the problem. Breach of an order is a criminal offence.
County Hall used to notify us of Gating Order applications but will they continue to do this following this new Act? I would ask members to be particularly vigilant if they are aware of any such orders coming to their attention and inform me.
Committee Meeting Minutes
Thanks are extended to Jennifer Macg, who has arranged for our minutes from 2006 – 2011 to be bound in leather. The binding was completed by the University print shop. There is also a spiral bound copy which is now held by Ken B. The minute book will be lodged at the Record Office, Wigston, where all our records are kept.
Jennifer has now been our Minutes Secretary for ten years and she would like to hand this task on. It is not a difficult job for someone with the necessary skills and is very rewarding. Jennifer would be happy to discuss this with anyone who might consider filling this role.
Finally, I would like to thank the committee for their valuable support in helping me to carry out my duties as Secretary to our Association.
Diversions and Closures
Your committee has considered over thirty applications affecting public rights of way on the Definitive Map. Many result from planning applications, owners of houses wishing to protect their security and privacy. Farmers who want to manage their land more effectively and Network Rail who wish to reduce the number of ground crossings.
Let us start on a bright note in the Parish of Mountsorrel.
Creation of Bridleway I112 between Bond Lane and Crown Lane.
This was a track linking the two lanes but which did not have any legal status. The route had been used by pedestrians and horse riders, cyclists for many years and it was part of a section of the Leicestershire Round. The route came into force on the 6th May.
Creation of bridleway on land near Church Gresley Wood, Off Occupation Road, Ashby Woulds
This arises from a creation agreement and is routed just to the south of footpath P25 which also leaves Occupation Road and takes you over Gresley tunnel. This new bridleway will provide a link with a network of bridleways in Derbyshire.
Footpaths N3(Part), N2(part) and L30(part) at Osgathorpe.
Alteration to the line of the existing footpath N3 now avoids walking through the grounds of No. 22, Armetts Lane. The section of N2, north east of the brook could not be walked because the footbridge was missing. You now cross the footbridge on N3 and proceed directly ahead, following the hedge on your right and the link with L30 will be reached.
Footpath K103, Shepshed
This footpath was diverted on the 18th May, 2009 and has recently come to my attention.
It follows the grant of planning permission and the footpath links Old Station Close and Spring Lane.
Footpath C50A, Houghton on the Hill
The landowner has made application to delete the footpath from the definitive map as it is suggested it was entered in error. The footpath crosses two fields below the church and then comes to a dead end. It is not signposted and way marked. There is no evidence of use.
Diversion of bridleway A32 at Foxton
This bridleway leaves North Street and proceeds in a North Westerly direction in the direction of the Grand Union Canal. Three new lodges have been erected by the farmer causing a need for the route to be altered. A wide grass perimeter extends around the field and all user groups and the Parish Council accept this as a better route than the cross field right of way.
Bridleway I78(Part) at Coppice Farm, Queniborough
The diversion order was confirmed on the 13th December, 2013 which alters the line of the bridleway where the farm buildings once stood. You must now follow the track in a north-easterly direction.
Footpath R27(Part), Off Markfield Road, Ratby.
A footpath creation order from the corner of Choyce’s Rough along the western and south western edges of that field has been made and as a consequence the path will form a link with Cow Lane rather than as previously joining Markfield Road where visibility was seriously restricted.
Footpath I120 at Quorndon.
The County Council have dedicated this link footpath just to the South of the Sewage works on bridleway K30 to join public footpath I27 along the tow path on the bank of the river Soar.
Lea Grange Farm, Twycross
A number of footpaths converged upon the farm and in the interests of the owner these paths have been diverted away from the farm buildings. In particular the main access up the farm drive has been moved one field to the West.
Footpath O44(Part) Off Church Lane, Ravenston
This relatively short footpath leaves Swannington Road and emerges onto Church Lane, thereby avoiding walking to the cross roads and then turning onto Church Lane. The owner of 85, Church Lane wishes to improve the privacy of his garden. This footpath seemed little used and I reported overgrown vegetation. It was agreed to divert the footpath away from the house and to link it into footpath N25 which emerges onto Church Lane a little further to the west.
Diversion of footpath L48 at Diseworth.
This footpath leaves St. Clements Gate and houses adjacent to the route have been burgled. The landowner, Mr. Tivey, of the field to the west of the houses, has applied for a diversion across his land and it is proposed the footpath will now leave from Long Holden on the eastern perimeter of his field.
Footpath changes in the Staunton Harrold area.
Following discussions between the County Council and the tenants of Staunton Lodge Farm, Springwood Farm and Worthington Field, proposals have been considered on diversionary routes to enable tenants to manage the land more effectively. In particular to delete a section of footpath M24 to the South of Staunton Lodge Farm and to divert the route of this footpath to the North of the farm and part deletion on either side of Burney Lane.
Footpath M28 to be deleted through Springwood Farm and diverted on the South side of Calke Lane, one field away from the lane. A new crossing of the Melbourne Road where a new section of M28 to be created and linked to footpath M1.
To divert footpath M3 to the north of Staunton Lodge Farm emerging onto Burney Lane opposite to footpath M6.
At Worthington Field Farm a section of footpath M35 (parallel to the A42) to be deleted and a new section of that footpath to be created leading northwards under the A42 to join the Ivanhoe Way.
Although we made no objections, Melbourne Footpaths group and Barry T as (local correspondent for Open Spaces) have done so. This may result in a public inquiry unless suggested amendments are made to the order.
2014 has proved to be yet another financially successful year for the Association. With income over the year amounting to £3,976.00 and total expenditure of £2,877.76, we have produced a surplus for the year of £1,098.24, leaving us in a very healthy financial position. Revenue from Gift Aid for 2012 came through too late to be included in last year’s accounts, so this, along with income from the Ramblers’ Walking Partnership scheme and continued high levels of sales of the County Park Walks book, have all contributed to a level of income considerably higher than expected.
There has been feedback during the last year regarding postage costs, with one suggestion being that we could perhaps use electronic means to distribute the twice-yearly walk programme and newsletter. But with many members not having access to email or the Internet in general, and many still preferring to have the walk programme in card format to pin to the kitchen wall or keep with them in the car, it is concluded that Royal Mail distribution is still the best method for us to use.
I have also looked into envelope franking as a way of reduce postage costs, but have found that this method is aimed at organisations with much higher distribution volumes than ourselves, and it is just not viable for our numbers.
Membership numbers have fallen this year for the first time in many years, with an overall reduction of 9 giving us a total of 327 on the membership register (which includes 5 life members and 1 member free this year due to paying twice last year!). We gained three new parish councils by March but by August six existing councils opted not to renew for the year, so giving an overall drop of 3 to leave us with 48 parish councils and 1 Associated Club.
I am pleased to remind members that the AGM in February agreed that the subscription charge for 2015 should remain at £5 per member.
Obstruction Secretary Report
This has been my first year as obstruction secretary and it has been a very busy one. At the time of writing this report I have submitted 110 obstruction reports to Leicestershire County Council highlighting problems in 85 locations. These reports have covered 128 definitive footpaths, 15 of which have been on the Leicestershire Round.
The type of obstructions have been varied as the table below shows, the majority have been concerned with the lack of path reinstatement or visibility through crops, mainly oil seed rape.
Culverts ditches 7
Electric and other fencing 6
Misleading notices 3
Waymarkers and finger posts 18
LCC have acknowledged receipt of all the reports and aim to inspect the area within ten days. Whilst I have not received confirmation from the Rights of way Team of all the work carried out as a result of the reports I have received comprehensive feedback on reported confusion with lines of the definitive pathways, information when advisory letters and notices are served on land owners and when there may be significant delays in work to be carried out.
The problems associated with paths across cultivated fields can be rather a grey area as the LCC take a pragmatic view on wheelmarking and width of path which includes consideration of whether or not it is passable and the time of the year. They do however welcome reports as they form the basis of crop inspection programmes. I would like to recognise that they continue to respond positively to our reports despite significant cutbacks in their funding.
My thanks to members who have reported problems and given feedback when they have noticed that work has been completed.
Keep up the good reporting as you enjoy walking in 2015.
Leicestershire Round Volunteer Warden Scheme
The Warden Scheme was re-introduced two years ago with both Leicestershire Footpath Association members and non-members volunteering to adopt one or more of the eleven sections of the Leicestershire Round, as outlined in the Leicestershire County Council Handbook.
The intention of the scheme is to help maintain and preserve the ease of passage for fellow walkers by reporting obstructions, damage/faults with stiles and gates, along with instances of non- reinstatement of footpaths. This year the wardens were also supplied by County Hall with a quantity of Leicestershire Round stickers for installing or renewing on waymark posts, helping to identify the route of the Round.
Most of the incidents reported by the volunteer wardens during the past twelve months were of a minor nature, including those outlined above and a suggestion for a current alternative route for the Round to be adopted as the main route.
Leicestershire County Council’s website http://www.leics.gov.uk/roundabout, gives latest updates and amendments affecting the Leicestershire Round. The information on the web site comes from a number of sources, including the volunteer wardens and I would encourage all wardens and fellow walkers to check it periodically for the latest news. Any items concerning the Round that LFA members feel should be included on the web site can be forwarded to me at email@example.com or by telephoning the number attributed to me on the LFA Programme of Walks.
Whilst I sincerely hope that the current volunteer wardens will continue in their roles, should any LFA member wish to volunteer as a warden in the future, I would be grateful if you could contact me at the above.
Finally on behalf of the Chairman and Committee Members can I thank all the volunteer wardens who have kindly given their time and effort in making the Volunteer Wardens Scheme a continued success.
David W Co-ordinator
Heather’s historical drama presented to last year’s AGM showed how even in the very beginning publicity was important to the early footpath campaigners. In those days it was the local newspaper, today we have numerous means of communication. Some of the traditional outlets are falling by the wayside. LFA while proud of it’s history must look to the future and part of this has been the setting up of our own website to tell the county and world what we do.
I challenge you to disagree with me when I say that today our first port of call for information is the computer and the World Wide Web. I don’t need to list what can be accessed, easier to list what can’t be done online.
https://leicestershirefootpaths.wordpress.com/ offers both static and current information. While we need occasionally to review the static pages, we must keep the current information spot on. Incorrect and out of date information is worse than useless.
This annual report is written by individual members and compiled by the secretary. The walks programme is prepared by the organisers and these are compiled by Roger to create the printed programme. No organisation should rely heavily on one person, we should spread the load and I am aiming to do the same with the website. I’m grateful to Neil who adds Tuesday walk details and posting, Brian who adds postings and the Thursday group.
Inputting your own messages is easy and ensures they appear promptly.
Does it matter? Well, we’ve had 62,777 views so far and on one day we had 164. We received on average 25 visitors a day and 50 pages viewed. There are 46 people who ‘Follow’ our posts by accepting an email alert when we make a new post. The walks programme remains the most popular page by far.
Word of mouth remains an important advertising media for us but how that word is transmitted is changing with Blogs, Facebook and Twitter now the norm not the exception.
Monday evening walks
Although numbers were a little down, we enjoyed a varied set of walks in the company of walkers drawn from the different days of our year-round walks. The sun did not always shine, but those intrepid enough to set out with the threat of rain were usually rewarded with a brighter evening than anticipated. The start points were all points on the Round, so most walks included part of the Round in their route. The most popular walk was at Newtown Linford, when we went through Bradgate Park and heard some of the history of its use. There will be another set of walks ‘Going round the round’ this coming summer, with the start points filling the gaps between the starts chosen for last summer. Don’t forget to look out for Monday evening on the programme as well as your usual day.
We have had an excellent years walking with good numbers on the regular 5-6 mile walk and also the shorter one.
Many thanks to all the leaders once again for some lovely varied walks around our County.
Twenty-one of us met on 23rd December for our Christmas walk in the beautiful Bradgate Park. We all climbed up to the war memorial and to old John and enjoyed a coffee break in the sunshine.
We collected £100 for the Air Ambulance this year on December 16th at our Christmas lunch held at the Dog and Hedgehog, Dadlinton. It was a fun day with lots of Santa hats and Christmas jumpers. The food and service was superb.
Happy walking to all LFA members.
This year has been a mixed bag, a number of leader changes have occurred due to illness and holidays, fortunately we were able to find replacement leaders. A number of start point changes due to pub closures and re-furbs have caused problems in informing walkers. May I offer apologies to anyone who was not informed of the changes. I would advise anyone who is not a regular walker to check the LFA web site where amendments to walks will be posted.
The weather this year has not been too kind to our Wednesday walkers, early spring being pretty wet. summer was OK but autumn has proved to be damp, murky and very muddy.
I have enjoyed most walks that leaders have organised and would like to thank them for
volunteering especially those who have been able to manage two walks.
Having been walking for a number of years now, I thought I had walked most of the pathways around Leicestershire. However, some leaders still manage to surprise me, so I thought a short mention of the walks which stood out for me would be in order.
Brian J’s walk from Tilton which took us along a disused railway that has been turned into a nature reserve. Bob S’s walk from Seaton, near Uppingham (OK I know this is in Rutland) but we passed through some lovely villages and countryside and also Uppingham. A more recent walk by James Laland from Cossington took us along the river Soar to a number of lakes, one which was called King Lear had a monument depicting the death of King Lear’s daughter.
Finally we have seen a number of new people on the Wednesday walks, all seem interested in joining the LFA so I would like to offer them a warm welcome and hope they enjoy our future walks.
Writing an annual report proves challenging when not much changes in our walking lives. We meet every Thursday, walk in different parts of the county, develop friendships and enjoy the whole experience. So 2014 has proved much the same as 2013. However, one change was the sudden reduction in the number of people willing to lead walks. Seven of our regular leaders ‘disappeared’, either through ill-health or because they moved houses and left the county. The rest of the regular Thursday group stepped up to the mark and filled the gaps, so we were able to provide a complete programme of led walks. Having said that, I am sure that if the occasion arose, there are enough experienced walkers in the group to just turn up on the day and work out a walk from any given starting point!
The walking conditions this year have been very good – lovely weather for most of the time.
Leicestershire footpaths seem to be in a good condition apart from a couple where maize has been planted without regard to the paths. It is clear from the state of paths in surrounding counties, often with broken stiles and unclear signage, that we are very well served in Leicestershire. This must be due to the work of the LFA and a responsive county council. Long may it last.
A very big thank you to Vanessa M for over six years of wonderfully varied and enjoyable walks. Saturday attendances have increased greatly during Vanessa’s period of office. Thanks also to our super leaders who willingly take on new walks and sometimes travel long distances to pre-walk routes.
Memorable walks have been in abundance but worthy of special mention is Brian J’s walk to and tour of the rarely open Astley Castle which was a real treat. A well attended walk from Ashwell in Rutland took in one of the few wartime “thankful villages” at Teigh. It was on the last walk of the year from Newtown Linford when eighteen walkers experienced our first snowfall of the year. Under a blue sky with sunshine this walk took us via ‘Little John’ to Markfield and back.
Pub lunches are not a feature of our walks and this allows greater flexibility in choosing locations. The Saturday group is lively, friendly and welcoming. Why not join us?
LFA weekend at Bourton on the Water
Sixteen members enjoyed the lovely surroundings of “the Little Venice” of the Cotswolds”. A lovely village in the heart of the Cotswolds which has the river Windrush meandering through it, ideally situated to enable us to do some lovely walks, indulge in some retail therapy and sight seeing that took us back in history to the Romans. With so many lovely walking paths around we were spoilt for choice. Our walks were led by Brian H and Dave R and took us through the lovely countryside which wasn’t too challenging for the seasoned walkers particularly as the weather was beautiful. Our walks passed through the pretty villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter, Naughton and Clapton on the Hill. Our routes included short distances on a number of National walking routes including Monarch Way, Cotswold Way, Macmillan Way, Heart of England Way, Diamond Way and Oxfordshire Way.
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at the Evangelical Baptist Church, Main Street, Woodhouse Eaves at 10.15am on Saturday, 22nd February, 2014.
1. Seventy-five people attended the meeting and the following apologies were received:-
Eric A, Janet A, June B, Isabel and Sandy B, Sheila B, Linda B, Gwen C, Ray D, Eric H, Ash K, Linda, Althea and Lionel, Linda and Alan L, Jennifer MacG, John P, Ian S, Peggy S, Ted and Betty S, Diane T, Steve W and Kath W.
Chris M welcomed members to the meeting and outlined the morning’s business, luncheon arrangements and afternoon walks. Chris also introduced Mr. Steve H who is a guest of the Association and has been largely responsible for informing us about John Flower, Leicestershire artist and former Chairman of our Association.
Chris informed members of a fund raising buffet lunch organised by the Wednesday walkers realising £300 for the LOROS charity.
2. Minutes of the AGM in 2013 were approved subject to the following amendment. Item 3, penultimate sentence to now read “Roger W asked if existing stiles on the Leicestershire Round would be replaced by metal gates.”
3. Matters arising from Minutes:-.
Further to Bob S questioning whether Leicestershire Round Wardens needed to be covered through Employer Liability insurance, there followed research on the internet and your committee decided this was unnecessary for the following reasons:-
(a) The warden decided when to undertake inspection and if difficulties were found to report these to the Association who would then refer them onto the Local Authority.
(b) No payment was made to the warden for his inspection.
(c) No tools were supplied to the warden. If minor hedge trimming took place this was a decision taken alone by the warden.
4. The meeting accepted the reports of the various officers outlined in the Annual Report 2013. Chris M noticed an incorrect entry under donations in the Financial Statement. Third entry should read “Woodland Trust ‘Jubilee Woods’ Appeal.
Clive F has decided not to offer himself for re-election as Obstructions Secretary And he was thanked for his work during the past twelve years.
Long term committee member David S has decided not to continue as a member of the committee and he was thanked for all his contributions.
5. Election of Officers:-
Chairman:- Chris M proposed Neil B for this position and was seconded by Tony W and as there were no other nominations Neil was therefore duly elected.
Neil thanked Chris for the work undertaken during the last three years and in particular arranging the weekly Monday evening walks on the Summer programme..
General Secretary and Diversions and Closures Secretary:- Ken B proposed Brian J and this was seconded by Jenny T and as there were no other nominations, Brian was duly elected.
Minutes Secretary:- Ken B proposed Jennifer MacG and this was seconded
by David S and as there were no other nominations, Jennifer was duly elected.
Treasurer and membership Secretary:- Ellie W proposed Dave R and this was seconded by Chris M and as there were no other nominations, Dave was duly elected.
Obstruction Secretary:- Clive F proposed Cindy West and this was seconded by Val W and as there were no other nominations, Cindy was duly elected.
Committee Membership:- Existing committee members, Roger C, Val W, Ken B, Clive F, Jenny T and Chris M were duly elected – proposed by Peter B and seconded by Chris H. In addition Ian S was added – proposed by David S and seconded by Les P.
6. Financial Matters:- Cindy W proposed acceptance of the accounts for 2013 and Ken B seconded this. There being no questions this was carried unanimously.
It was proposed by Tim W, seconded by Val W, membership subscription for 2015 should remain at £5. This was accepted by all present.
Our Treasurer then advised the meeting he had successfully applied to the Inland Revenue for our gift aid entitlement for 2012 and 2013 and these figures would appear in the accounts for 2014.
The meeting agreed to continue with our membership of the Open Spaces Society, The Rambler’s Association and the Woodland Trust.
Les P moved a proposition emanating from Bob S for a contribution to be made to the Farmers in the Somerset Levels who had suffered financially from the winter flooding. The meeting recognized the good intentions but were advised this would be against Charity guidance on donations. However, it was suggested Bob could ask for voluntary contributions from members on walks if he should wish to raise money for the farmers.
7. Leicestershire Round:- The Secretary reported the situation at Shackerstone Station was becoming prolonged. In a letter dated 5th February, 2014 from Leicestershire County Council it was said discussions are currently taking place with the neighbouring landowner and tenant. This is an effort to provide a much safer and convenient alternative route for users of footpath S68, while the footbridge is closed. In the meantime, the County Council will be ensuring that Shackerstone Railway Society continue to focus upon the intended objective of restoring the footbridge with a view to it eventually being re-opened along its original route.
Your committee have made an application to the County Council for the the footpath through Thorpe Satchville churchyard to be recorded on the definitive map of rights of way for the County. The committee is also in the process of making a similar application in respect of Station Lane, Leire. Ken B requested members who have walked Station Lane for a period in excess of twenty years to complete the necessary claim form.
David W would like to have a reserve warden list for the ‘Round’. Members who may be interested in joining such a list, please contact David.
8. Any other business:- Martin W announced he was organising a walk on Friday, 22nd August, 2014 leaving Bow Bridge, Leicester at 6.00pm. This would follow some of the outward journey of Richard III to his battle at Bosworth field. Return by bus.
Cindy W reminded members the LFA walking weekend has been arranged for 15th To the 17th August 2014 at Bourton-on-the-Water. Limited places available.
Mary E suggested the Annual General Meeting be moved nearer to Leicester, perhaps at Blaby Bowls Club. Roger C said the Bowls club was not sufficiently large enough to accommodate us all for a sit-down lunch. There was much support for staying in situ. It was recognized some alterations would be need to be made next year as new luncheon providers would have to be found. There was support for a ‘bring and share’ buffet. It was also stated outside caterers might be the way forward. It will have to be left to the committee to make alternative arrangements taking into account the comments expressed above.
David W congratulated Ken B on his excellent handling of our website. David suggested and it was accepted by the meeting, our website address should appear On all official communications appertaining to our Association.
9. Following the formal business Heather MacD gave an introduction to the early history of preservation work done in Leicester prior to 1887. The illustrated presentation included excerpts from the Leicester Mercury dating back to 1840, read by various members present taking on the roles of their early 19th century precursors who had played an important part in protecting the footpath from Sprinney Hills to Thurnby and through Bradgate Park.
Neil thanked Heather for her research and her presentation and the meeting closed at
13 minutes to noon.
10. Neil thanked Judy and her band of helpers in providing an excellent lunch. Each helper was presented with a £15 voucher in appreciation of the work they had done over a number of years in producing excellent food for our consumption.
Following lunch, two walks were arranged with Val W leading a short walk with fourteen members and Chris M led a longer walk supported by eighteen members.