Annual Report 2012

by

President’s Preamble

It is pleasing to see that our members continue to be healthy and that we offer even more walks of varying lengths to our members.  Being online has provided us with many advantages.  (Remember the days of panic when you lost your paper programme?  Your friendly PC website now saves you from that disaster.)  We are now able to find where, when and with whom we are due to be walking from our friendly screen.  We can encourage potential new members to read about us, about our history about our social activities and even to see a video of one of our many groups in action, to see if they fancy joining us!   Then to join us and help in the task of encouraging more people to use and respect our footpaths.

Through email and website we have arranged joint walks with other clubs.  We hosted a weekend of walks in Rutland for a group from Oxfordshire (thanks to Bob S and to Margaret and Brian T for leading the walks) and we have had our own weekend away organised by Cindy W Tim’s daughter in law.  (How did we manage these things before we had email?)

Ken, our webmaster, has not only done a very good job in producing and updating the site as well as his regular newsletter but he has also arranged for a reprint of our centenary history book for those who are not computer literate and for those who love real books and for those who do not yet possess a copy of  The Well Trodden |Path.  All LFA members can now have their own copy (Still at the original price of £3.)

May I remind you that sales of this book and of our Country Park Walks book help keep our annual subscriptions low and they make good gifts for family, friends and potential walkers in our lovely countryside.

Brian has passed onto to us details he has been given of the Leicestershire Footpath Association which preceded ours and which is mentioned in The Well Trodden Path.
It is nice to know that this earlier association included in its members Napier Reeve (whom we claim as ‘one of us’ in WTP p. 6 and p. 8) and the famous Leicester artist John Flower, who was in fact Chairman in the 1850’s and 1860’s.  I hope we are all proud to be in such a great tradition of protecting, preserving and publicising our rights of way and of encouraging the public to use them.

Our thanks go to all the committee members who run affairs on our behalf, and all who run activities and social occasions and all those who support us in every capacity.

Heather MacD

Chairman’s Remarks

A not too serious question – Should the LFA adopt an association song?  Perhaps ‘Singing in the rain’ or ‘Mud, mud, glorious mud’ would be contenders after the last twelve months!  Nevertheless, we have had some good walks in this under-rated county of ours, some of them even in sunshine.  The programme gets even bigger – it’s good to know that the easy 2-3 mile walks suggested at the last AGM have become established and offer a way of keeping walking to those with a temporary injury and those who can no longer manage the longer walks.  They happen most, but not every, Tuesday and start at the same time and place as the ‘short’ walk.

All these walks would not happen without the leaders and the walks organisers and we are all grateful for what they do.  Perhaps it’s worth a reminder to have a back-marker when there are larger numbers on the walk and to try to ensure that the group stays together.  Likewise, those in the middle of the group need to be aware of what is happening behind them so that people don’t lose contact, particularly when going through villages or woodland it’s very easy for the leader to concentrate on the route, or for others to be engrossed in conversation, and then suddenly find some people are no longer there.  The allowance of losing 10% is a myth!  There is a check list for leaders available on the website, which comes under Members information.  If you don’t have web access, ask an organiser or committee member for a paper copy if you need one.

Walking is an excellent way to discover your county.  I remember being delighted by the unusual place names when I started walking – villages I had never heard of such as Stonton Wyville or Newton Burgoland.  I still occasionally come across new ones, as well as whole chunks of path that I’m sure I’ve never walked before.

I thought I would share with you a comment made after the last AGM by the lady who came with the speaker.  She said “Haven’t you got a lovely lot of people?” – but then you knew that anyway, didn’t you?  Enjoy their company and your walks in the rest of 2013.

Chris M

Secretary’s Report

Your committee has met on eight occasions and considered twenty-eight    applications affecting the public rights of way network.  The majority are small amendments to the rights of way system and where appropriate, representations have been made to the order making authority.

History of Leicestershire Footpath Association.

On a Sunday morning in July whilst working in my garden, I received a telephone call from a Mr Steve H, who is a member of Leicester Civic Society, who gave me some interesting information on our history.  According to information obtained from the Leicester Chronicle Newspaper, there are reported meetings of the Association in  1853, 1856 and 1867.  The 1867 meeting commences with Mr. Podd (Secretary) reporting as follows “The Leicestershire Footpath Association began its labours in the year 1850″.  It does appear meetings were held from time to time but the records of this earlier society have not been preserved.  The present Leicestershire Footpath Association has continuous records commencing from 1887.  The details of those earlier meetings have been typed out and will be lodged at the Record Office at Wigston and our web-master has put some information on our web-site.

Donations from one Charity to another.

Our Vice Chairman, Neil B, whilst attending a U3A meeting was advised donations from one charity to another was illegal.  Realising this may have implications for our Association, advice was sought from the Charity Commission whose advice is as follows:- Charities can give to other Charities so long as the objects are compatible.  Thus a charity established to rescue unwanted dogs cannot give to an ambulance service, but one which is established for the preservation of health can do so.  This has practical implications in that we are precluded from donating to the Air Ambulance from Association funds.  The funds of our Association must be applied to the objects of our Charity and each Trustee and member must understand what these are.  Our Charity is not there to do ‘good things’, it is there for some particular and limited purpose.

I attended a course at Dunton Bassett Village Hall in June on the responsibilities of
Trustees in managing the affairs of Charitable institutions.  It was emphasised the
Governing document for all Charities is the Constitution which sets out:-

” Objectives which must be kept within,
” Powers which cannot be exceeded
” Restrictions and directions that must be followed

Therefore with reference to the Air Ambulance, where for a number of years now, the Annual General Meeting have donated money, it does seem in future a one off collection could be organised and the proceeds donated. The Tuesday walking group already do this.

Gating Order on footpath J84(Part), Latimer Street, Anstey.

In last year’s report, mention was made of proposals by the Latimer Primary School to seek a Gating Order during school days on the above footpath.  Their reason for seeking such an order was on safety grounds following incidents of drug paraphernalia including syringes being left on the footpath.  The period of closure each school day would be between the hours of 9.00am and 3.00pm

At a committee meeting on the 29th February it was decided to lodge formal objection following a formal application for the Gating Order which had been received by the County Council.  The validity of the notice issued for the making of the order has been challenged and six reasons advanced as to why the order was not necessary.

Glen Parva Parish Council

This Parish Council sought help in difficulties parishioners were experiencing on footpath Z109 at the rear of Westdale Avenue.  This footpath follows a narrow route at the back of the houses on Westdale Avenue and then proceeds across land owned by Mr Peter T.  The footpath links up with footpath Z13 on the towpath of the Grand Union Canal.  As a result the County Council Southern Inspector of rights of way became involved and has made quite clear to the landowner the public have a right to use this footpath.  As the whole footpath is not fenced then it may be some straying off the right of way may have taken place. I walked the footpath on the 4th April, with LFA member Dr. Michael R and we were not challenged.

Creation of footpath L98(Part) at Isley Walton

It has taken almost ten years from when the first letter was received from the County Council on the 21st October 2002 asking for representations, until the Inspector’s  decision on the 21st March, 2012.  Unfortunately the decision was made not to confirm the order sought and this means L98 remains a dead-end footpath 120 metres short of the A453 road in the north of our County.

The County Council realising there was an anomalous situation in the cul-de-sac ending of this footpath had applied for the short creation order under Section 26 of the Highways Act, 1980.  However, the inspector from the evidence presented could not conclude that the creation of the path would either add to the convenience or enjoyment of a substantial section of the public, or add to the convenience of persons resident in the area.

Our Association were aware of the objection by local people to the creation order and also the owner of the land over which the footpath would be created who deemed it to be private.  Our Association could give no evidence of usage but we did support the making of the order.

History Fair at Beaumanor Hall, Old Woodhouse

On Sunday, 25th March our Association had a stall/display at the above event organised by the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society.  On a perfect Spring day many hundreds of people supported the event.  There were many stalls to view and there were opportunities to take part in organised activities.  The main interest on our own stall was our walking programme and Country Walks publications.  Two new members were recruited. Our thanks are extended to Ken B for organising our stall and with assistance given by Neil B and Chris M.

National Forest Walking Festival

This festival was held between 19th and 31st May when the weather was sunny and hot.  The Countryside looked at its best having had six weeks of rain beforehand. Our Association agreed to lead one walk from Thornton Church on a Friday afternoon.  Disappointingly, no member of the public arrived to take part in the walk. This may have been due to a number of factors, such as, lack of publicity, five alternative walks taking place on the same day, the very hot weather and the afternoon chosen for the walk. Steve K and Roy S assisted Andrew P of the County Council with the supervision of walkers on a particularly attractive and challenging ten mile walk.

Leicestershire Round

The Association continue to receive request for badges from members of the public who have completed the walking of the Round.  Mike McS has a web-site with photographs he has taken on the Round walk.  These may be viewed at  http://www.systemed.co.uk/leicsround/   Mike attended our September committee meeting and discussions took place with him indicating amendments which may prove beneficial to the Leicestershire Round walk.

David W of our Association volunteered to enlist members to take over responsibility of sections of the Leicestershire Round who would report to him on any obstructions found.  These could then be passed onto Clive F to pursue with the County Council.  This initiative is much appreciated.

The temporary closure of the route at Shackerstone Station has become protracted and your committee are in correspondence with the Leicestershire County Council who advise us technical reports are being prepared on the cost of repairing the footbridge.  The Railway Trust have not been giving this priority and the cost will have to be funded by them.  The LCC have advised us they have the necessary commitment to keep the route through the station but in the interim the alternative diversionary route must remain.

Diversion and Closure Orders

Addition of  a footpath between Markfield Road and Forest View, Groby.

Leicestershire County Council in June, 2003  made a Definitive Map Modification Order in respect of the above.  Our Association were unable to advance any supporting evidence.  At a meeting of the Development Control and Regulatory Board on the 17th December, 2009 it was decided the application for this addition did not support the relevant statutory criteria in that the evidence does not show that a right of way subsists or has been reasonably alleged to subsist. In March 2012 a formal application for an order was received following a direction made to Leicestershire County Council by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  This matter is now expected to proceed and may result in a public inquiry at some unspecified date in the future.

Addition of a footpath at Frisby Lakes, Asfordby.

Members will be familiar with the walk from Frisby-on-the-Wreake to Asfordby.
As you cross the railway line when walking from Frisby, you will have noticed a number of fishing lakes.  26 people have completed user evidence forms in support of a footpath round the lakes.  I expect this is mainly from local people who have walked the route.  If this footpath is added then it will provide a nice detour when walking in the area.

Footpaths N2(Part) and L30(Part) and N3(Part) at Osgathorpe.

Footpaths N2 and N3 converge at a small brook to the North of Church Lane.  N2 should follow the brook for a short distance then cross the brook and link up with L30.  However, N2 has had a missing footbridge over the brook for many years and where it should join footpath L30 the ground is permanently waterlogged and affected by heavy overgrowth.

Footpath N3 is not legally accessible where it should join footpath L30.  The owners of No. 22 Armett’s Lane have requested N3 be moved to the Western headland.  This will mean when you cross the brook you will walk due North and a new access will be made to link up with footpath L30.

Your committee have concluded this will be a just resolution of the problems encountered and have agreed to the proposals being put forward.

Restricted By-way G60A(Part) Asfordby Mine Restoration Site

It has taken many years for the legal line of this right of way to be restored following the cessation of mining.  The original line was interrupted by the excavations of the former Asfordby mine.  During operations an access track was maintained across the site and this have been utilised for the By-way to be diverted onto.

Members may be aware a recent application for a windfarm on this site has been refused by Melton Borough Council.  The plan was to build nine 125m turbines.

Ginn Stables Farm, Coleorton

Those members who are familiar with the rights of way in this area will know of the plethora of rights of way to the South, East and West and North of the farm.  Planning permission has been granted for improvements to the main farm house and for barn conversions to old farm buildings.  The main thrust of the alterations is to remove access through the farm so as to increase security and privacy for the occupants.  At the same time clear routes will be provided and some footpaths will be removed which are deemed unnecessary.  The new access from Outwoods Lane will be just to the North of the existing farm driveway.  Representations have been made to North West Leicestershire District Council on preferred routes to be retained.

Mountsorrel Level Crossing. (Bridleway I20)

Following a series of temporary closures of the bridleway across the six tracks of the main railway line, detail plans have now been received for the erection of a footbridge to take pedestrians across the tracks.  Unfortunately, no answer has been found to the horse riders who used the crossing on a regular basis and it is unclear at the time of writing whether I20 will become a dead end bridleway.

Public footpath Z12, Wigston Harcourt

News of a new stepped footbridge being constructed, on safety grounds, across the main line railway from Leicester to London has recently been brought to our attention.  This footpath leaves Cooks Lane and joins the Grand Union Canal.

Stopping up of Footpath A24 parishes of Lubenham and Foxton.

An Inspector considered written representations under the proposal to stop up the above footpath across Airfield Farm and decided to confirm the order for closure.
Do not be too concerned because there is an alternative footpath A25 just to the South of A24 which leaves Gallow Field Road and passes along the the Prison boundary fence before then  proceeding in a south easterly direction towards the Grand Union Canal.   A25 them merges with part of footpath A24 which was not subject of the closure order at Grid Reference  SP47203 28854.
The order was made under Section 257 of the Town & Country Planning Act, 1990.
Our Association was first consulted in October 2006 but made no objection to the order.

Brian J

Obstruction Secretary’s report

During the year, the number of reports of problems on the rights of way network sent to County Hall by us fell to a figure of less than forty.  There has been, in general, an improvement in the standard of maintenance of footpaths and bridleways over a number of years and this is probably the main reason for the fall.

A well maintained network of rights of ways provides a positive encouragement for inexperienced users to start to use the footpaths as well as obvious benefits for ourselves.  We are not the only people who provide inputs to County Hall.  The Ramblers and other groups and individuals as well as the LFA keep County Hall informed.

Please let me know of problems with crop obstructions, stiles, roadside finger posts, waymarks and waymark posts, headlands, electric fences, barbed wire, footbridges, overgrown footpaths, locked gates, aggressive animals or anything that you consider is interfering with the clear and safe passage of the right of way.  You may be interested to learn that the most numerous problems from our reports concerned overgrown vegetation and broken stiles.  The introduction of metal gates a few years ago has made a big difference and similarly the rolling programme to cut cross field paths through growing crops.

Our reports perform a very useful function in providing eyes for County Hall to monitor the Rights of Way network so that footpaths and bridleways can be maintained.

If you are planning a club walk and on the pre-walk you find a problem, let me know and providing there is enough time (four weeks) we have a good chance to get it resolved.  In the case of crop obstruction, County Hall says that they may require four weeks to contact the landowner and get him to do something.  If they have to serve notice through the courts, the process can take six weeks or more.

My experience is that up to now, we have been getting good support from County Hall in respect of the maintenance of rights of way.  We can only hope that the funding that makes this possible remains in place.  In the next few months the budgets are prepared for the new accounting period at County Hall from April 2013 to April 2014.  The funding available for the budgets is heavily influenced by the funding obtained from the Treasury.  If the funding for the maintenance of rights of way were to be seriously cut, we have to consider taking cutters, choppers, pliers etc. out with us on walks.  This used to be quite common 15 years ago.

I welcome the initiative by David W to set up Leicestershire Round monitoring teams to report any problems they come across on their surveys.

Thank you to all those members, and in particular Ken B, who have sent in reports and please keep them coming during 2013.  It is much appreciated.

Finally my thanks to those who provide support in the Rights of Way team now part of the Travel and Access department at County Hall and also, the district inspectors who go out and look at the problems on the ground and organise the works that may be required.

Clive F

Treasurer’s Report

Increased interest from the public resulted in 42 new members joining us.

Membership stands at 329 (including 5 life members) and 57 Parish Councils (46) paid.
237 members subscribe to the Gift Aid Scheme which raised £344.63 this year.

The Accounts this year show a loss of £256.25p but we donated £1000 to the Diamond Jubilee Wood and £200 to the Air Ambulance.

Dave R has kindly volunteered to take over the position of Treasurer/Membership Secretary, the change of office will be recommended to the members at the AGM.  I will be stepping down due to family commitments and also I have done the job for four years.

The Barn Dance this year was very enjoyable but slightly untimely due to a clash with the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations.  Consequently there was a loss of £55.  The funds from the raffle of £180 went to LOROS sponsorship for Janet Angelinetta who did the coast to coast walk.

Membership subscriptions for 2013 will remain at £5.
Web-Master’s Report

At a recent committee meeting, although only one member uses it, we agreed to move into the modern age of communication and support the setting up of an LFA Facebook page.  We are looking to the time when the youngsters of today get old and start walking with the future LFA.  Thanks to Roy S the Facebook page should be up and running by the time you read this.  Thanks also to Neil B for our You Tube presence with a link from the web site and hopefully more moving pictures to come.  A member deep in mud might get us a better following, disasters get a good audience – any volunteers?

Yet again I invite you, yes I do mean you, to send in pictures on walks and a few words.  There is also a section for a favourite walk if you would like to send in a report. Favourite tea shops and pubs might also be useful for others to view, only good reports please.  There is a list of pubs we use, would someone like to update it? You send it and if it’s legal, decent and fairly honest I’ll post it on the site.

Not part of our own website but we will consider adding a link to the new Ramblers Routes site which offers members and perhaps non members a selection of walks throughout the country.  It should be launched by the time you read this see http://www.ramblersroutes.org

Ken B.
https://leicestershirefootpaths.wordpress.com/

Saturday walks

These walks continue to be well supported and we have an established band of regular walkers.  Low numbers now seem to be a thing of the past!

We have enjoyed a varied and interesting programme of walks going over the border into Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire.  We have been joined on John R’s and Gerald C’s walks by members of the Loughborough Ramblers, Coalville Ramblers, and Loughborough CHA.  Walks vary from 6 to 10 miles with a picnic lunch stop and often with a welcome pub drink at the end.  I have to thank Bob S who with his handy secateurs has allowed us to navigate some very overgrown stiles and keep to our route.

A new member to Saturday walking deserves a mention.  Esther K recently completed the 16 mile Wolds Challenge walk which started from Seagrave.  Well done.

Vanessa M

Monday Evening walks

We should have had one extra evening walk last year, but in the end we had one fewer as two never started due to downpours.  Another two were decidedly damp, but we persevered.  Here’s hoping we get some good weather this year.  We get a variety of
members in the evenings and it’s a chance to meet some people you don’t see otherwise.  Walks are 4-5 miles long and usually finish by 9.00 or soon afterwards.
Better than staying in and watching tele!

Chris M

Tuesday walks

The Tuesday group are going from strength to strength with many new members.  The recent soggy conditions have not dampened our spirits.  Thank you very much to all the leaders for the excellent walks.
On Jubilee day our walk was from Foxton.  We dressed in red, white and blue and tooted us to the sounds of Land Hope and Glory, coming from Ted and Betty’s car!
We had a fun skittles evening at Halloween complete with Witches hats and even a broomstick.
Thank you again to Judy for organising our Christmas meal which was a great success.  Instead of sending Christmas cards, the sum of £100 was collected for the Air Ambulance.
We have been pleased to welcome Eric Abel back on Tuesday walks but very sad at the loss of his dear Mary.
Thank you to all LFA friends for your cards and letters and flowers following the death of my husband Ken.  Your friendship and support means a lot.
Happy walking for 2013.

Jenny T

Tuesday short walks

Since the last AGM an alternative short walk of up to 3 miles has been offered on Tuesdays for those members, who for whatever reason, could not manage to walk 5 – 6 miles.  Some members have returned to walking after an operation, an injury or an illness and with increasing confidence have eventually re-joined the longer walks.  Others find the pace and or conditions of the shorter walk suit them better and continue with the shorter walk group.
Village trails, Country Parks, Nature trails and shorter versions of the regular walk (few hills and few stiles) have all been tried and enjoyed.  Sometimes both groups start together for a mile or two and other times the walks have been completely different but always starting and finishing at the same advertised village pub.  The short walks have been very successful.  They have enabled members to keep walking and still be able to socialise with other Tuesday walkers.
We go from strength to strength and the Tuesday short walks will be continuing for the foreseeable future!

Val W

Wednesday walks

With the introduction of a long walk on a Wednesday I felt it would be difficult finding volunteers to lead both walks.  However, between myself and Roger C, leaders were found for the walks which have proved successful with about equal numbers supporting each.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Anne C and friends for providing both Wednesday walking groups with mince-pies and mulled wine, they were much appreciated by all.

One particular walk is worthy of mention.  13 members walked from the Rose and Crown, Tilton on the 4th April in the cold and pouring rain. The rain turned to sleet and then freezing snow and the wind got stronger.  This proved to be the most challenging walk of the year.

Roger W

Thursday walks

Another year has gone by in a flash – it is quite frightening!  We Thursday walkers have been relatively lucky weather wise even though it has rained a lot over the year.
The last few weeks were, very soggy but nevertheless we soldiered on.  One of our wettest walks was one that I led in November but it was well-worth the effort because we ended it with a ‘bring and share’ lunch at Heather’s which went extremely well.

The Thursday walks were initiated by Heather in the summer of 2005 with a group of
About 5.  It has slowly grown since then and we are now numbering around 35.  Of course not all walk each week but we have about 15 to 20 persons on quite a regular basis. We do our best to encourage those that join us to learn, if they haven’t already, to read a map in the hope that they will be able and willing to lead a walk in the future.

Judy P-A.

October weekend

Sixteen members enjoyed our walking weekend at Ironbridge.  The weather was gloriously kind to us as we walked and enjoyed the excellent visitor attractions of this historic world heritage area.  Our arrival on Friday afternoon gave us time to visit the lovely town of Ironbridge with its gift shops, museums and cafeterias.  Some of our party continued to explore the delights of museums dedicated to our industrial heritage and Victorian life throughout the weekend whilst others donned walking boots and back packs to explore the natural beauty of the gorge.

Our 10 mile walk on Saturday through this lovely area presented us with a challenge to find our way around the flooded bank of the river Severn.  A local householder spotted our plight and directed us through his riverside garden up to the road and onwards past the obstruction.

Our 6 mile walk on Sunday morning was also victim of the recent wet weather as parts of the footpaths we had planned to walk were closed due to flooding.  Undaunted we consulted maps, talked to locals and found alternative routes.  Our thanks go to Brian H for his map reading skills and planning the walks along with Roger C and Barbara M who were pathfinders along the way ensuring that we found safe and occasionally challenging routes through woods and up hills in our quest to complete our lovely walks.

Cindy W.

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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at the Evangelical Baptist Church, Woodhouse Eaves at 10.15am on Saturday, 25th February, 2012.

1. Seventy-one people attended the meeting and the following apologies were received:  Dave R, Jennifer MacG, John R, Vanessa M,  Eric A, Melvyn D, Andrew P, Chris and Dave A.

Heather welcomed members to the meeting and outlined the mornings business, luncheon arrangements and afternoon walks.

2. Chris M presided over her first meeting as Chair and she thanked officers and committee members for the assistance given to her in the conduct of the affairs of the Association. The minutes of last years AGM, which had been circulated by inclusion at the back of the Annual Report were accepted as a true record of the meeting.  The only matter arising related to the early advice of Tuesday walk venues.  Neil B had dealt with this by placing these on our web-site to inform members where each Tuesday short walk starts.

3. The Officers reports were accepted subject to one amendment concerning the financial statement.  The last figure under “Other Income” should read £2990.47 and not £2,000.47.
A suggestion in the President’s remarks concerning not claiming Gift Aid in future years because of the extra work this places on the Treasurer, needed to be resolved.  Heather addressed the meeting on her personal views on this subject.
The Treasurer confirmed there had been additional work this year but this should not impact adversely on future years.  Following constructive comments from members it was decided by the Chairman to have a hand vote on continuance or discontinuance.  The vote supported continuance with the Gift Aid Scheme.

4. The election of Officers and Committee then followed on from a small gift being presented to Tim W who was standing down as Vice Chairman.
Neil B was proposed by Val W (seconded by Bob S) as our new Vice Chair.  Proposal carried by members.
There then followed a proposal by Les P (seconded by Peter B) for all other existing officers being re-elected for a further year. Proposal accepted.
A further proposal by Mary E (seconded by Roger C) for Dave R to be appointed to the committee was approved by members.
Peter B proposed continuance of existing committee members (seconded by Jim M) and this was also approved by members.
The membership was appraised by Jane D of her decision to relinquish the position of Treasurer at the 2013 AGM.  A successor needs therefore to be found.

5. The meeting then considered subscriptions to other organisations.  It was agreed to renew membership of the Ramblers Association, Open Spaces Society, Woodland Trust.  A discussion took place on the amount of the donation to the Air Ambulance.  Following a vote by a show of hands it was decided the donation this year will be Two Hundred Pounds.  It was reported the Tuesday group of walkers hold a collection each year and donate to the Air Ambulance.

A specific request by the Woodland Trust for a donation to their flagship Diamond Wood project was considered.  This new wood in the North West of our County will eventually cover 460 acres and be linked by rights of way to the villages of Normanton-le-Heath, Ravenstone and Heather.  The committee had suggested due to the importance of this project to our County, a contribution of One Thousand Pounds might be appropriate.  Tim W proposed this amount (seconded by Bob S) and the meeting approved this one-off contribution.

6. The meeting confirmed cheque signatories would remain with Heather MacD, Jane D and Brian J.  Any two from three to sign.

7. There then followed a discussion on sweat shirts.  Chris H has for a number of years managed the buying and sale of such shirts apparently funding this from her own money.  Sales have been slow over the last year due to a fall in demand from members.  It was agreed the Association must refund money due to Chris and be responsible for shirt orders in future.  To this end, it was further agreed members be sent with the Summer Walking programme/Spring Newsletter, a questionnaire concerning possible orders for shirts.  Depending on the response, appropriate action can then be taken.

8. Val W is interested in assisting walkers on Tuesdays, who for various reasons were unable to walk the full five or six miles.  Val was suggesting an alternative walk of two to three miles from the same venue.  It was suggested the “Parish short walk leaflets” issued by Leicestershire County Council could help in a suitable route being accommodated. Any such shorter walks to be arranged informally and be led by an LFA member. Interested elderly members to contact Val, please.

9. Jane D announced a Barn Dance on Saturday, 9th June, 2012 at High Lees Farm (Tickets priced £5).  Jane would appreciate early booking of tickets rather than a last minute scramble.

10. Clarke Rogerson (Chairman of the Peak & Northern Footpaths Society) PNFS then gave an illustrated lecture on the history of walking.  This included the formation of local preservation societies, the struggle for access to Kinder Scout and other high points, resulting in eventual success but also led to the imprisonment and loss of livelihood to some dedicated individuals.  In later years legislation guaranteed access to rights of way recorded on definitive maps and in more recent times to heathland and moorland.  PNFS are regionally based as opposed to LFA being County based.  The PNFS are active in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Staffordshire, South & West Yorkshire.  They organise two walks a month, which is small in comparision to the number of walks arranged by LFA.  PNFS erect many signposts to assist walkers and are very active in preservation work.

11. Following an excellent buffet lunch provided by Judy and her band of helpers, two walks were arranged.  Val W led a short walk supported by twenty-three members and Ken B led a longer walk supported by fourteen members.

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