Newsletter Autumn 2013

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Leicestershire Round 30th birthday event

The cheering crowd at Bradgate Park

The cheering crowd at Bradgate Park

The Leicestershire Round celebration party click here for more met in perfect weather on Tuesday 3rd September at the Lady Jane Grey’s ruins in the beautiful Bradgate Park. The Tuesday group walkers came en masse, in a pause on their walk from Badgers Sett, and a group of about 30 joined Brian J for a 6 mile walk* via Woodhouse as advertised by flyers and by notices on Radio Leicester arranged by LCC’s Andrew Poole.

Speeches were made by the chairman of the County Council, praising the work of LFA in producing the Round and by LFA chairman, Chris M, giving the history of the progress of the Round’s first 30 years in conjunction with the county council’s rights of way department. Both speakers praised the beautiful Leicestershire countryside and the best waymarked paths, with cheers of agreement from the audience of over 100 people!

Praise was given to Jim M for his work in waymarking and maintaining the whole route for so many years and mention was made of our current scheme of wardening the route.

The excellently decorated cake was cut by Judy S and helpers and at least 100 portions were devoured, with great pleasure.

The Leicestershire Round was created to celebrate the centenary of the Leicestershire Footpath Association, hale and hearty since 1887. So why celebrate in 2013?

The original idea was for the Leicestershire Round to be launched in our centenary year. However, such was the enthusiasm shown for the project, the Leicestershire Round booklets were produced by the Leicestershire Libraries in 1983 four years before our centenary. In the centenary year of 1987 members walked on a succession of Saturdays in the Summer months sections of the Leicestershire Round. There was a short ceremony before the first walk at Bradgate Park extolling the virtues of the walk.

So in answer to the question above this was technically the celebration of the publication of the guides being available and route becoming walkable.

*Brian’s walk of six miles was based on a walk from 32 Short Walks on the Leicestershire Round, now out of print but available on line at http://systemed.co.uk/roundwalks/

From the Access Forum

Brian attended, as a member of the public, the Leicestershire Access Forum at County Hall on Wednesday 14th August and two items were of particular interest.

LCC are now looking at diverting the footpath at Shackerstone Station which takes the Leicestershire Round on a bridge over the station. The bridge is currently closed having been deemed unsafe. The cost of repairs cannot be met by the Railway Trust. The Forum was very supportive in requesting the route to be quite near the station and access to continue through the station complex.

Shackerstone station footbridge

Shackerstone station footbridge

And on the big railway, Network rail have abandoned the footbridge idea to carry Barrow upon Soar – bridleway I20 over the six lines of the railway and have applied for extinguishment in the interests of safety for pedestrians. We have now received a copy of the Forum’s response:-

The proposal was discussed at length by The Local Access Forum. The membership of the forum are completely opposed to this application. We all accept the very dangerous situation caused by the increased speed of trains over this crossing but reject the proposition that there is no solution to the problem. It is merely a matter of cost which should not take precedence over the public’s historic right of way using this still valuable link for non motorised traffic.

The first obvious solution is to reduce the speed of the trains past this point. We accept that in the national transport ambition a higher speed link is advisable but in the greater scheme of things the cost of an adequate bridge, whist substantial, is not prohibitive.

A more lengthy diversion for horses etc. might be possible, to maintain their links, whereas the distances involved would be unacceptable to pedestrians.

The Forum has offered an invitation for Network Rail to attend a meeting with them to discuss all options to resolve the problem of ever faster trains while maintaining a link in the Rights of Way network.

Bits and pieces

Mapping on the web. Leicestershire and Rutland now both offer a map of the footpath network using Google maps. Most counties have access to a footpath map on line, they vary considerably and can be difficult to find so here’s a useful site that makes the search easy.
http://www.geograph.org.uk/article/Definitive-maps-online

The Leicestershire version at http://www.leics.gov.uk/pathsmap  is not a reproduction of the Definitive Map but it does have the advantage that it can be viewed over the satellite view. This can be interesting as a well used path will show up on the ground or perhaps if locals have created an alternative route this will also be apparent. It offers the path numbers by clicking on the path in question so no excuses if you need to report a problem. The window available to view is much larger and much easier and quicker to scan around the network.

Obstructions Secretary – you may have heard that Clive is standing down after many years in post so we are seeking a volunteer to fill this position which is also a committee position. On earlier occasions we have reminded members that for £5 / year a lot is on offer from the Association so serving for a short while in a post to put a little back is part of the membership deal. Next meetings are 16th October and 4th December, if you would like to come along and observe please contact Brian J. Our thanks to Clive for doing his bit and for his speedy recovery.

Thanks to Cindy W who at the meeting on Wednesday 4th September was co-opted onto the committee and to Kate P who has taken over as Thursday rambles organiser.

Membership growing. The Treasurer reported that in September we have 321 members plus another 53 parish councils. We did loose a few due to the automatic disqualification when subs have not been paid by September, lets hope that was not an oversight. Even if you can no longer join our walks we do value your membership as the Association also speaks on footpath issues so supporter numbers are important.

Crich Tram stop

Crich Tram stop

The weekend away at Willersley Castle read more here was a great success and reported to have been very enjoyable. Twenty nine folk attended, enjoying the Derbyshire countryside and industrial archaeology around Cromford. There were some steep climbs on the walks but all returned safely. Thanks to Cindy for organising a good event which no doubt means members will be happy for you
to do it again!!!

A RAMBLER’S TALE recalled by Mary E

Ramblers know that every walk is an adventure with something memorable about
it. Sometimes a small thing like a walker leaving a boot in the mud or feeding a goat with an apple core.

Cheerful autumn morning, leaves turning gold, air sharp and clear, fifteen ramblers with rucksacks and boots, climbing the stile near Bruntingthorpe into the green field at the start of a six mile walk.

Then we saw it, a huge sheep tangled up in the bramble hedge, struggling with alarm at our approach.

“Fetch Jim,” somebody called. Jim was the farmer in the group and knew how to talk to animals. Ordering us all to be quiet he stood about a yard from the sheep and chatted. The sheep listened. “Now what have you been up to?
Dear, dear, dear, what a mess! Have you been in this bush all night? We’ll see what we can do.” “Steve, Alan, bring your clippers. Come to the front, let her look at you before you go round the hind.”

While the rest of us sat on the grass the two men set to work separating long strands of dead blackberry twigs tangled up with thick pinkish curly fur from sheep’s back. Sometimes the fur had to be clipped off to release the stems before passing them across to a waiting rambler.

The sheep kept very still listening to Jim telling her about the route ahead.

After about half an hour came the order, “Stand well back she’s nearly free and could knock you over,” One push of her bottom and out she rushed. Open mouthed we watched her leap up into the air higher than our heads then rush up the field to join the rest of the flock.

What an amazing sight, we had heard of jumping for joy, now we saw it. What a reward.

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