Newsletter Spring 2012

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Leicestershire Footpath Association

Newsletter Spring 2012

2012 AGM Report

This was the 125th Annual General Meeting. (A report in the Leicester Daily Mercury of Saturday February 23rd 1895 states “The eighth annual meeting of the members of the Leicestershire Footpath Association was held on Friday evening….” ). About seventy members attended and as usual there was some debate, disagreement and votes but all ended happily. Welcome to our new Vice Chairman Neil B and also a new committee member, although absent, Dave R. We were assured you had offered your service.

The main topic for decision was donations and we are delighted that the meeting supported the committee’s recommendation to give £1,000 to the Woodland Trust for their Flagship Jubilee Wood here in Leicestershire just north of Heather. This is part of a plan to create sixty woods across the country to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We also upped the donation to the Air Ambulance and welcome the Tuesday group’s additional Christmas donation in lieu of sending cards.

This being a special event it called for a special speaker. Some time back while searching the web we discovered the Peak & Northern Footpaths Society’s claim to be the oldest footpath preservation group in the country. Persuading Heather to challenge their claim was not difficult and this resulted in our invitation for a representative to speak to us at the AGM.

We were pleased to welcome Clarke Rogerson the PNFS Chairman and expected to enter battle for the title. Clarke had been busy with research and offered his audience a potted history of footpath campaign groups. Arriving at 1887 Clarke had to acknowledge that the Leicestershire Footpath Association was established before PNFS. A welcome acknowledgement and a great 125th birthday present. An interesting talk and introduction to their work over a vast area in the north west of England.

The meal was again excellent thanks to Judy and her helpers. Then a change with two walks one of 6 miles and another of 3. We had had a call in the meeting for shorter walks. Both walks were well attended and enjoyed a glorious sunny afternoon.

Fly the flag with LFA Polo and Sweatshirts

Stocks of polo and sweatshirts are running low so if you want no worries about what to wear on a walk get your LFA logo clothing now. Contact Chris H on 01530 230191. The following items are available from stock. One each of large navy or oatmeal polos, medium navy or purple polos and large maroon sweatshirt. New orders may also be taken.

Proposals from The Country Land and Business Association (CLA)

I’m afraid I can glaze over when some documents are brought to my attention but sadly these documents lead eventually to impact on the ground so we need to keep abreast of proposals especially when they are made by a body like the Country Land and Business Association (CLA). This glossy report will be presented to people that matter so we need to take notice and be prepared to make comment. See the report on the CLA website and note what they say “The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has more than 34,000 members. As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their asset: the land. We are dedicated to supporting landowners and their businesses. Our success is measured by how effectively we do that. We have a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support.”

From the Archives – The Well Trodden Path

Back in 1987 we celebrated our centenary in style. Members created The Leicestershire Round a circular walk of 100 miles to mark 100 years of footpath preservation work. Heather with help from others researched our history and wrote a book ‘The Well Trodden Path’. It’s been out of print for some time and the committee felt it was time to remind present day members of our history and the past achievements of their Association which is not just a walking club. For those who can and are willing to read a book on screen the full 93 pages are now on our website in .pdf format. It was also felt that some may like a real copy on their bookshelf to occasionally pull down and dip into. We have agreed to do a short print run and offer the book to you at just £3.50 (this being the cover price of the original 25 years ago). The price now includes post and packing.

Short Walks

There is a feeling that some members have stopped walking with us because of distance, terrain or pace. It was suggested at the AGM that shorter, easier walks could be offered in conjunction with weekday walks. Walks leaders are invited to suggest an alternative route of 2-3 miles to tempt members back.

Possibilities include starting together, ordering pub lunch so as to meet together afterwards but then taking shorter route, a completely different route or a linear, there and back section. If there are two leaders one could take the shorter walk or a map and instructions could be provided.

Val W is prepared to contact Tuesday leaders and walkers, is anyone else willing to take on Wednesday and Thursday walks? Would a trial run on Tuesdays be useful? Walkers from other days are of course welcome to join this experiment.

If anyone reading this is no longer walking with the LFA but would be interested in a short walk on a midweek morning, then please contact:-

Val W, 0116 2101702 or valtone(at)ntlworld(dot)com

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We are being invited to tell the Government what we think should happen to regulations and why, they ask:

• Should they be scrapped altogether?

• Can they be merged with existing regulations?

• Can we simplify them – or reduce the bureaucracy associated with them?

• Have you got any ideas to make these regulations better?

• Do you think they should be left as they are?

The Ramblers Association is particularly concerned that entire Acts dedicated to protecting the environment, and people’s enjoyment of it, are included in the list of so-called “burdensome regulations”. To have your say first visit the RA website at:

http://www.ramblers.org.uk/Campaigns+Policy/burdens_response

History Weekend – Beaumanor Hall – Sunday 25 March 2012

Leicestershire Footpath Association with be standing at the HISTORY FAIR at Beaumanor Hall, Woodhouse, LE12 8TX, on Sunday 25 March 2012, 10.00 am – 4.00 pm. Come along and take a look.

Sponsored by the Leicestershire Archaeological & Historical Society there will be 48 local history stalls; Archaeology Roadshow – bring your own coins, metalwork or pots; literature sales; History Mini-Talks throughout the day; History Tours of the Hall; children’s activities in the Cellars or Victorian Schoolroom; visits to Woodhouse church to view medieval stained glass. All Mini-Talks, Tours and Visits free of charge.

In partnership GCR Steam Railway offers discounts all day and free admission to the Fair if you travel by rail. Vintage buses between station and Hall. For times, see http://www.gcrailway.co.uk

History Fair entrance fee £3, children free.

Ample parking. Coffee shop open all day.

For further details see http://www.le.ac.uk/lahs

Mystery Walkers Survey in 2011

The RA carried out a Mystery Walkers Survey in 2011 and invite you to take part in their 2012 survey. The 2011 results can be found on their website at:-

http://www.ramblers.org.uk/Campaigns+Policy/Mystery+Walker.htm

Mystery Walkers were asked to rate their walk out of 5 from excellent to poor for:

  • Obstructions
  • Surface conditions
  • Waymarking
  • Undergrowth and overgrowth
  • Level of “welcome” that walkers felt (e.g. absence of deterring notices, aggressive dogs or landowners).

I’m a bit baffled by the results, based on my own observations when walking throughout England. Not that I can recall walking in Wakefield but it came out top, so I must take a look sometime. Those of us who stray south may also be astonished to know that Northamptonshire came second. But we should be staying closer to home and I direct that to members who live within the city conurbation because the paths here are far better than those of the county, Leicester City coming sixth equal with the London Borough of Harrow and Sunderland District. Nottinghamshire managed 40th position then finally down the list we find our very own Leicestershire at joint 60th with Wandsworth and Cheshire East. Our other neighbours Staffordshire came in 86th then Derbyshire and the Peak District? 106 with Cumbria and the Lakes?only just above them at 91. I’m not surprised that Lincolnshire came 115 but for beauty and ease of use I would rate the Isle of White well above 118 in any league of well maintained paths. Has the RA got it right? 

LFA Walking Weekend Friday 12th October to Sunday 14th October 2012

Venue The Best Western Valley Hotel, Ironbridge.

Cost £65 per person per night bed breakfast and evening meal. (£75 pppn for a single occupant in a double or twin room. All single rooms are taken).

We are planning an 8-9 mile walk on the Saturday after a hearty breakfast, you may like to take a packed lunch, and about 5 miles on the Sunday morning returning around lunch time for the trip home or to allow further individual exploration of the area. There are lots of museums and things to do if you are not able, or prefer not, to walk.

Just a few places left, please contact Cindy W within the next 2 weeks

Tel 01162234851 or email cynthia.west(at)ntlworld(dot)com

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