Newsletter Autumn 2015

New path at Brooksby

New path at Brooksby

In last autumn’s newsletter Neil explained the plans of Network Rail to reduce the number of level crossing. This remains an issue and we understand that Network Rail has unilaterally closed a footpath A117 at Little Bowden at SP742866 after LCC refused their requests for a temporary closure. Better news at Brooksby where H56 has been
diverted to take walkers over the light controlled road crossing just a few metres away. The new path is of a high standard, see picture right.

From our Chairman – Neil B
First just a brief reminder that we are halfway through the walking year and are still looking for volunteers for the roles of Secretary and a Diversions Secretary. Where are you?
We welcome and thank a new volunteer as Minutes Secretary – Jackie B. We must thank Jennifer Macg for the many years she admirably filled that role.
Am I a cynic or has Global Warming and Climate Change passed us by in Leicestershire? We had a very good April weather-wise but the media hyped 3 months of hot summer weather didn’t materialise. It turned out much
as usual – mixed. It was quite dry so it was good for we walkers.
I got my first muddy boots on September 1st. On the Tuesday walks Martin and Lynn are hoping they will soon be able to pass on the Mud Trophy as they have held it since 25th November 2014.
To new and old members, enjoy your winter walks and the camaraderie of the L.F.A.

Good news at Ratcliffe College
The Leicestershire Round at Ratcliffe College has been a bit messy for some years so we are delighted that the issues have been resolved and our warden has been able to waymark the route making clear where the path now leaves the track and heads off across the sports field towards the A46 Fosse Way.

Footpaths at Elmesthorpe
elmesthorpeAt the last committee meeting it was good to hear Roger C propose action on path U50 at Elmesthorpe south of Earl Shilton. A report from LCC offers a summary:-
Currently no route is available on the ground for the public to follow as this path has a long story of obstruction.
During the mid 1930s the Land Settlement Association purchased a large area of land and developed plots on it for “Homes fit For Heroes” (veterans of the First World War).
At this time they blocked off the footpath with various boundaries and the paths fell out of use. However it was realised that this was not acceptable and so in 1936 the Land Settlement Association applied for a diversion order to have
the footpath re-routed to avoid the obstructions. Unfortunately this order was never completed and the right of way
never formally diverted or even an alternative route provided. Then the Second World War came along and matters were forgotten about until 1950/51 when under national legislation Parish Councils were asked to survey the footpaths in their areas and submit plans and statements to the County Council for inclusion in the first Definitive Map.
Faced with a mess on the ground the Parish Council had no alternative other than to claim the pre First World War paths even though they were no longer available. The Parish Council made reference to the proposed diversion of 1936 in its submission but because the order had not been made or completed (Indeed now no trace of the draft order can be found) the County Council could not take any account of it when drawing up the Definitive Map.
From the 1950s to around 2000, members of the public made their best way through the area but never on the definitive line because it wasn’t available. In 2000 the County Council received complaints about the state of the path and since then it has been trying to come up with a solution. Enforcement action though an option, seems impractical given the fact that the footpath has been unavailable now since the 1930s and sadly even more physical obstacles have developed over the intervening years including lakes.

The difficulty the County Council has had is that whatever solution has been proposed one faction or other of the local community and landowners has vehemently objected and we are now looking at our 5th proposal (8th Plan) since 2000. I’m still plugging away at this case in the  background but I regret there is going to be no quick solution. I’m sorry to report this is the current situation. The County Council takes seriously its duty to assert and protect the publics’ right to the use and enjoyment of public rights of way but this case has sadly proved to be one of the most obstinate ones to resolve.
(Ed’s note) There is a route through the area that people on occasion still use. Take Bridleway U52 (Bridle Path Road) for around 350 metres then turn left into Billington Road East (not a public right of way). From this track we have, in the past, been able to access a version of the southern section of the path. Talk to Roger to help push the matter forward.

Walk Leaders please note.
If you are leading a walk for LFA you should be aware of our ‘Check List  and Information for Leaders’ it’s on the website, please download a copy  and read it.  Many of our walks have large numbers where the leader will lose sight of
the rear so it is essential that a back marker be appointed. Preferably  someone who knows the route but if not the leader should appoint  someone on the day. It might also be helpful for leader and back-marker
to exchange mobile numbers in case of an incident occurring.

LFA Needs YOU to Volunteer
It’s the job of a newsletter to be positive about the organisation it  represents but at times the editor finds this a challenge. Looking back at  the Spring edition I’m reminded of the requests for members to lend a  hand with little walking related tasks. While the usual stalwarts have  offered to help if they can fit more hours into their already overloaded  diary, we still have some jobs that need YOU to volunteer:-
● General Secretary
● Diversions Secretary
● Committee members
Unless a new secretary can be found and new committee members, the  future of the Association will be placed in jeopardy.

Leicestershire Round
We have become aware of short sections of the Round that are not on the  Definitive Map. This has the potential for these short paths to be  reclaimed back into private hands and walkers barred from using the path.  We ask you please to contact the secretary if you have walked the whole  route of the Round at any time and in particular sections at Thorpe  Langton, Thorpe Satchville and Leire.

Lost Ways
You should now be aware that as part of the extra access we were  granted under the Right to Roam legislation landowners were promised  an end date after which historical evidence could not be used to claim a  path across their land. This has created a huge task, much larger than  anyone expected, to trawl through old records searching for paths that  were missed off the original drawing up of the Definitive Map back in the  early 1950s. Leicestershire has potentially 1,500 or more unrecorded paths which will be lost after the cut off date of 2026. If you have an  interest in walking footpaths but perhaps can no longer get out in the  fields and would like to spend time in a warm dry office, then we need  YOU to volunteer to spend a few hours in the Records Office at Wigston.

Newsletter compiled for LFA by Ken B
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2 Responses to “Newsletter Autumn 2015”

  1. Alison Merricks Says:

    One of my bugbears is the closure of crossings without the provision of an alternate route. Is there anything we can do to pressurise the relevant authorities?

    • Boots Says:

      As our Chairman has said in recent newsletters, Network Rail are required to consult, however there have been some ’emergency closures’ on the grounds of safety but even here they are carried out by the Highway Authority not Network Rail. Best thing you can do is join your local walking group and keep an eye out for official notices and object if the proposal is detrimental to walkers.

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