Archive for the ‘Annual Reports’ Category

Annual report 2015

February 27, 2016

President’s Preamble

It has been a great honour for me to have been president of LFA for the last 13 years. I had been on active service on the committee in various roles since 1977 and appreciated the chance to keep in touch, without responsibility, when I retired as secretary in 2002!

Brian J and I both joined the committee in 1975, when Gilbert Odell had been secretary for 30 years. (Longevity of service was the norm!) Our founder member, A.J. Gimson, served as secretary and treasurer (simultaneously) for 25 years from 1887. A.W. Rippin was chairman for 33 years, during which time Harry Peach was secretary for 22 years and Sidney Pick was treasurer for 28 years, and then went on as chair from 1949 to 1976!!

Brian has been secretary on two occasions, the first from 1977 to 1983 and the second 2005 to 2015. I have moved around, Jack of all trades, as chair, secretary, diversions and closures secretary and rambles secretary etc. We have both worked harmoniously as representatives on official bodies and at public enquiries and played our parts in leading walks for the club, as well as giving talks on many occasions to spread the word about LFA and the importance of enjoying, and showing respect for, the countryside around us. Looking back on our achievements I feel I can retire, in the hope that Brian will take on the presidency

The highlights of LFA work in my lifetime centre on our centenary, celebrated in 1987. For this the committee planned a series of events.

Jack Garner, our rambles secretary planned the route for the Leicestershire Round, for 100 miles of our 100 years official existence! Four of us walked, wrote, edited and published it with support from LCC, who later way marked and maintained it.

Steve W, our chairman and later treasurer, organised our centenary summer rambles programme to cover the whole round in stages with a coach to transport us from the start and finishing points. Mary E organised a Victorian dress walk through Swithland Woods, with a Victorian tea party in Swithland village hall.

We had a dinner for about 80 people in Scraptoft college and there were various receptions and displays by the Leicester Mercury and at County Hall.

I wrote a history of LFA called “The Well Trodden Path”, (reprints available from Ken B and on-line, essential reading for members of LFA!!)

Three years ago LCC organised a 30th year birthday party for us to celebrate the production of the Leicestershire Round. We met in Bradgate Park on a beautiful day, with speeches by LCC officials and from LFA thanking one another for the part each played in this Long Distance route. The walk and the cake we provided were much appreciated by the large group who attended.

Jim Mason came in for much praise for his co-operation and his work for LFA. He had been our ‘Round Man’ employed by LCC for many years to install the waymark posts and to improve the safety of footplanks over ditches. He is, sadly, no longer with us (he died in September) and we miss his knowledge of all the paths in Leicestershire. He had originally walked our Leicestershire Round when it was first published, travelling from home by bus. Later he joined the committee and became rambles secretary for thirteen years. His three seats on the Round are suitable memorials to him, his work and his LFA friends.

Five years ago, in 2010, following our success with the LDR we decided to produce a book of shorter Country Park Walks. I enjoyed writing the book with the help of club members to fool-proof the walks and of LCC footpaths department to provide maps and photographs for illustration. This was a great success. Nearly all the 3000 copies have been sold. We only have about 100 copies left.

Changes and improvements:- Walking footpaths is much easier than it was when I started. In those days we were only a small group. We walked fortnightly travelling out and back by bus. There were no waymarks, few signposts from the road, many impassable fields, non-existent or broken stiles, and hostile farmers and landowners. Waymarks were introduced at about the time of our centenary celebrations and the success of the L.R has contributed to the improvement of paths, which are now usually visible on the ground. Many stiles have been replaced by gates and many of our reported obstructions have been cleared.

Mid week walks were introduced in 1990, initially on alternate Tuesday mornings. When the groups grew as large as forty, we expanded to weekly walks on Wednesdays and then Thursdays. We now have two walks of different lengths on most days and some groups are as large as forty! So many feet keep our paths well marked.

We have a website, thanks to Ken B, which helps us to keep us in touch and spreads information about our activities, our history and our achievements to others. And our numbers grow.

Next year Ken intends to re publish the Round, as copies are nearly all sold out. He has plans to re walk the route and make any necessary changes to bring the book up to date.

I leave the committee knowing it is in safe hands with a new generation of enthusiastic workers to fly the flag for LFA. I a proud to have been part of the work of protecting and improving the footpaths for healthy and responsible walking in lovely countryside.

Heather MacD.

Download the full report here Annual report 2015

Annual Report 2014

February 28, 2015

President’s Preamble

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!
Heather Macd

Chairman’s Remarks
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.
Neil B

Secretary’s report.
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.

Gating orders

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.
Brian J

Treasurer’s Report
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.

Dave R
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
Stiles  31
Electric and other fencing  6
Gates 10
Vegetation 21
Misleading notices 3
Crops 71
Waymarkers and finger posts  18
Others 16

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.
Cindy W

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 williamstrefonnen@btinternet.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
Webmaster’s Report
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.
Ken B

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.
Chris M
Tuesday walks
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.
Jenny T

Wednesday walks
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.
Roger W
Thursday 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.
Kate P
Saturday walks
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?
Bob S

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.
Cindy W

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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.

 

 

 

Minutes of 2014 AGM (Draft)

March 14, 2014

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 apologies were received:-

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 eected.

      Obstruction Secretary:- Clive Fproposed Cindy W 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 Tem 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 Brockway 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.

Annual Report 2013

February 23, 2014

President’s Preamble

One of the highlights of the past year was surely the 30th birthday celebration of the Leicestershire Round on the 3rd September.  This was proposed and instigated and arranged by Andrew P, Rights of Way Officer at County Hall, and welcomed as an idea by our committee.  The Tuesday walkers were able to arrange their walk to coincide with speeches and a Birthday cake at the Bradgate Park Ruins.  A separate walk was arranged from the Ruins based on the first walk in the short walks book on the Leicestershire Round.  A total of over seventy walkers taking part in those two walks.

I worked hard in the background, looking up the facts for the speeches.  Out of the blue I was asked for the exact date of the publication of volume 3 of the first edition of the Round, as it was not printed on the cover!  Now this is not a date I carry around in my head so I was obliged to read through my old diaries for 1982 and 83 and then to visit the Record Office in Wigston to search through our committee minutes for those years.  A fascinating experience and a walk down Memory Lane for me and a resulting set of facts for Chris, who agreed to make the speech.

The organisation was impeccable, the doors to the park were opened in time for us to arrange our display and for Judy S to deliver our cake, ready for cutting and serving, the speakers and supporters all came in time to be welcomed, the Tuesday walkers arrived en-masse part way through their programmed walk to hear speeches and taste the cake.  The LCC Chairman thanked LFA for our efforts in creating the Round and our Chairman thanked LCC for their enthusiasm in promoting and caring for it.  And passing pedestrians joined us. And we sold some of our books.  And the weather was perfect and the setting beautiful.

We have had many other happy meetings.  Like the opening ceremony for JIM’S SEAT, which he has bought and erected at the foot of the Punch Bowl, near Little Dalby on the Leicestershire Round.  He and Ken B worked very hard in choosing the seat and the site for it and obtaining the landowner’s permission to erect it and making the foundations for it.  The ‘launch’ was a very happy occasion, with golden ribbons to be cut and picnics to be eaten and ‘bubbly’ to be opened with a bang and consumed with amusement, while photos were taken (and shown on our website!)   It was an occasion for impromptu speeches showing love and gratitude to Jim for all his work as rambles secretary and for being our ‘Round man’ over so many years.  Thank you, Jim.  We hope that many future Round walkers will take advantage of your gift.

We have had less happy occasions for gathering, too, of course.  One of these was the funeral of Syd Marsden at Keyham Natural Burial Ground, a very moving occasion when we remembered his many services to LFA

We are blessed to have so many dedicated members in our association and our thanks go to all of them.  You will see from the following reports what a lot of work goes on behind the scenes.  And you will know from your experience of walking in our many groups how hard our walk leaders and group leaders work.  Thank you, everyone.

It is time for Chris M to step down as Chairman and I would like to offer special thanks to her for her excellent chairmanship over the last three years.  Her knowledge of footpaths and of work being done in other related areas has been of great value to our association.  We are pleased that she is willing to serve on the committee.

I have spent many happy hours this year, reading old newspaper cuttings about the beginnings of the footpath association movement in Leicester.  These date back to 1840 and were sent to us by Steve H, who has been studying John Flower, the Leicester artist who was for a while Chairman of an earlier LFA.  I have been invited by the committee to talk about these findings at our AGM so I hope that everyone attending will find it as interesting as I have done to discover what efforts were made to start an association for the preservation of footpath rights nearly two hundred years ago.

So it is thanks to all members, past and present, who do such good work in walking and clearing paths to make our county so pleasant to walk in.

Heather MacD

Chairman’s Remarks

So this is the last of my comments as Chair of LFA.  The last three years have passed very quickly – time really does seem to go faster as you get older.  It has been an interesting time and the role of Chair is not much more onerous than being a general member of the committee.  Perhaps serving on the committee is something you might consider yourself in the future.  You can see elsewhere reports of some of the committee’s work over the last year.  Although we do mention specific walks from time to time, committee meetings are largely spent looking at proposed diversions or closures and the impact that they might have

on the enjoyment of our own walks and on that of the public at large.  The Association remains grateful for the considerable work Brian J does in liaising with County Hall and others.  A lot of the proposed changes are minor and non-contentious; at the other extreme, in some cases communications can drag on for years and it needs Brian’s tenacity and thoroughness to ensure that an issue is not forgotten.

As well as a new Chair, this next year will see a new Obstructions Secretary.  Clive F has had this role for twelve years and feels that now is the time to step down.  We thank him for all that he has done.  When you find problems with stiles or other matters on a pre-walk, don’t just grumble – pass them on to the new Obstructions Secretary.  Even if there is insufficient time for the Rights of Way team to correct them before your real walk, you will be helping LFA to fulfil its aim of maintaining the county’s network of paths.

It was good last September to be able to pay a more public tribute to the Rights of Way team when we marked the 30th anniversary of the Leicestershire Round by the gathering in Bradgate Park.  In preparing for that, I learned something of the work that went into planning and creating the Round.  I had not realised that this coincided with a time when County Hall was making an effort to provide signage for its footpath network.  Indeed the work LFA did may well have had an influence in making that signage the exemplary model that we enjoy today.

The LFA is fortunate in having an active membership and it relies on that membership to remain the thriving organisation that it is.  Apart from the committee, to all of whom I offer my personal thanks, I would like to thank all of you who help in any way; walks organisers, social events organisers, Round wardens, and the many members who lead walks.  Without you, we could not enjoy this wonderful county in quite the same way.  If you want to know more about what other members are doing, can I reinforce Ken B’s suggestion that you ‘follow’ LFA?  All you need to do is go to the website and click on ‘follow’ at the bottom right of the screen.  Any new material added will then be sent direct to your email.

Have a good 2014, walking and otherwise.

Chris M

Secretary’s Report

Your committee has met on seven occasions during the year and discussed a wide variety of issues affecting rights of way within our County.  The Leicestershire Round walk was high on our agenda at more than one meeting for the following reasons:-

Shackerstone Railway Station

The now lengthy closure of the footbridge over the railway track at Shackerstone Station is a cause for concern.  The Saturday walkers on the 25th May visited the station and observed the closure was still in effect.  There were no notices explaining the diversionary route to be taken.  Correspondence with the County Council advised a structural engineer’s report has been commissioned to ascertain the best way of making the bridge safe.  In June the County Council advised the bridge could not be repaired and had to be taken down and replaced.  Due to the high cost of a replacement bridge, the County Council legal team are looking at a diversion of the footpath at the station.

Thorpe Satchville Church Yard

To our surprise it was learned there is no definitive right of way through the church yard. In the event of the church becoming redundant or the church sold for conversion into a dwelling, access could be obstructed.  Not waiting for either of the above to occur it was decided the Association should make application for a definitive map modification order, securing the way through the church yard.  Such application was sent to the County Council on the 25th July, 2013.  It seems there is now a possibility of a footpath dedication order by agreement with the Diocese of Leicester.

30th year of the celebration of publication of the Leicestershire Round walk.

In September, 1983 the Leicestershire Libraries finished the last one of three publications in book form of the Leicestershire Round walk.  It was therefore considered appropriate to mark this occasion by a walk and short ceremony at Lady Jane Grey’s house in Bradgate Park.  On Tuesday 3rd September, Ted and Betty S led a large number of members and friends from Cropston into Bradgate Park. I led a short circular walk based on the first short walk of walks based on the Leicestershire Round with over thirty people in attendance.

Wardens on the Leicestershire Round

David W’s request for wardens resulted in sufficient people agreeing to walk and monitor the surface conditions on the Leicestershire Round. An introductory letter was sent from the committee to all volunteer wardens thanking them for their endeavours in ensuring any difficulties were quickly reported.  David’s report can be read further on.

Fund Raising on the Leicestershire Round

Members will be aware the route of the Leicestershire Round is a tool in many charities fund raising ideas.  Sponsored walks and runs take place from time to time and reported in local newspapers.  One headline ‘Netwalking with Rupert’ caught Roger C’s attention.  Rupert invited sponsors to walk with him for a mile or more in return for a free consultation or just a chance to talk.  Monies raised went to MacMillan Cancer Support.

At the end of June, Richard P from Leesthorpe ran the Leicestershire Round in just over 33 hours.  Richard’s charity is Air Ambulance.

LOST WAYS PATHFINDER PROJECT

Members may be aware the Government introduced a “cut off” date in January, 2026 for claims in respect of possible rights of way not yet recorded on the definitive map for our County.  Provided applications are made by the “cut off” date then the route claimed will be protected until such time as the merits of the case can be determined.  It is therefore important if you know a route you walk is not on the definitive map to report this position to either myself or a committee member so this can be investigated.

The Leicestershire Local Access Forum have been asked to form a sub group to act as an applicant panel as the County Council are precluded from requesting such LOST WAYS for inclusion on the definitive map.

Our Association have two such applications in the queue as it were.

1) Addition of a restricted By-Way from Kirby Bellars to Sysonby and

2) Addition of public paths from Leicester Lane, Swithland and Bradgate Rd, Cropston.

Ken B has submitted independently of our organisation, a claim for a footpath from Langar Lane, Harby to Stathern Lodge Canal bridge.

Rights of way and draft deregulation bill 2013

On the 1st July, 2013 the above bill was published affecting the recording and modification of public rights of way.  This will result in certain powers being devolved to Local Authorities and would save the Government a considerable amount of money.  The main thrust of the bill is to speed up decisions being made on amendments to the definitive map.  This will result in consent orders where there is no objection.  Rights of appeal against orders not being progressed within three months may be made to the local Magistrates’ Court. The requirement to advertise modification orders in newspapers will finish and will instead appear on the Local Authority’s website. For full information the draft bill can be assessed on the internet at the following link:-https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-deregulation-bill

Local Green Space

It is now possible for communities, through local or neighbourhood plans, to submit applications for sites to have special protection.  New development is ruled out there, other than in limited circumstances.  The site must fulfil at least one of the characteristics below.

Beauty, Historical significance, Recreational value, Tranquillity and richness of wildlife. Land can only be designated where a local plan is being reviewed or a neighbourhood plan is being produced.  Green places in Leicestershire are shown on the website below:-http://www.leics.gov.uk/greenspaces

Bosworth Battlefield Conservation plan (the new location)

Part of the plan concentrates on the arrangement of access to the new location of the battlefield site and other sites associated with the battle. It is noted there is no access to Crown Hill which is under private ownership. There is poor provision for bridleways and the old disused railway line if turned into a multi user access route into the new location would be of immense value.  Unfortunately ownership of the route is not in single occupation and a great deal of expenditure and work would be needed to make such a route viable.

Objective 13 of the plan is to maintain and where possible enhance the accessibility of the Battlefield area for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, whilst safeguarding the valued characteristics of the area.

Diversions and Closures

Your committee has considered a total of Forty-six applications affecting public rights of way on the Definitive Map.  Network rail have adopted a policy of trying to eliminate ground crossings of their railway lines.  In particular the main line from London to Leicester has resulted in a number of applications and some bridges have been erected.  Applications have also been received for rights of way on the Leicester to Coventry line and the Melton to Leicester line.  I will deal with those applications which needed our involvement.

Diversion of footpaths A45 and A48 at Great Bowden

Footpath A48 leaves Langton Road opposite Langton Brook Farm crossing two fields before a ground crossing on the Midland mainline railway.  It then proceeds across a further field before crossing the Market Harborough By-pass and continuing to the West of Great Bowden and onto Market Harborough.  Footpath A45 leaves the Langton Road, crosses the mainline railway before joining A48 close to the By-Pass.  Following two site visits and one public meeting an area of agreement was reached resulting in the proposal for one crossing of the railway line at the position where A45 crossed the railway line and a footbridge would be built at that point.  Footpath A48 would be diverted to the same footbridge.

Diversion and part closure of footpath Z49 The Twitten crossing, Glen Parva

This ground level crossing is on the Leicester to Coventry railway line and on safety grounds Network rail asked for it to be closed and diverted  along the North side of the railway to join bridleway Z51.  The bridleway crosses underneath the railway and continues through a small housing estate before joining Little Glen Road.  Following a site visit your committee agreed to oppose this part closure on the following grounds:-

1) The historic nature and pleasantness of the right of way and its direct route from Featherstone Drive through to Little Glen Road and then onto Blaby.

2) Visibility at the railway crossing is very good looking both East and West along the line.

3) This route is regularly used by local people and is superior to the proposed diversion.

Closure of footpath I73 within the Parish of Rearsby

This is a relatively short footpath which leaves Broome Lane, crosses the railway at ground level and then joins footpath I72 and proceeding onto Rearsby.  The Saturday group walked footpath I73 in the winter of 2012 without any problem.  Objections were lodged against this closure on the following grounds:-

1) There was clear evidence of usage by local people thus satisfying the need to keep this right of way open.

2) Visibility is satisfactory for the speed of trains on this line.

3) When crossing the line, the road crossing on Broome Lane can be seen from the footpath and the road crossing gates can be clearly seen being activated.

4) No incidents of death or injury to pedestrians at this crossing have occurred.

At our October committee meeting a further proposal to divert a section of this footpath adjacent to the railway line was also not accepted as being in the best interests of walkers.

Diversion of footpaths M72, M59, M54 and M47A at Ginn Stables Farm, Coleorton

I now return to a number of diversions in the North West of our County at Ginn Stables.  The stables are situated off Outwoods Lane, Coleorton and your Association were consulted in 2012 to consider major alterations to the network of footpaths surrounding the stables.

Following a revised planning application the alteration to the network of footpaths have now been restricted to those which pass close to and through the complex.  Your committee is content with what is now being proposed and will agree to the diversions.

Proposed diversion of footpath H56 (Part) just to the North of Brooksby College

Your committee welcomed the movement of the start of this right of way from South of the railway line to the North of the line.  As a result the footpath will now commence and continue for one field along the banks of the river Wreake.  Certain suggestions were made about accessibility from the road to the new route as we considered people with disabilities would be at a disadvantage.  This diversion will eliminate a ground crossing of the railway.

Proposed stopping up of Footpaths N49 (Part) and O35 (Part) and temporary stopping up of

Footpaths O35 (Part) and O22 (Part) and creation of temporary alternative footpath N49 (Part), Bardon, Coalville and Markfield.

In order to facilitate the eastern extension of Bardon Hill quarry, the operating company have applied to divert, stop up or suspend a number of the public footpaths which cross the land in question.  Site work will not commence until April, 2014.  These proposals follow the grant of planning permission to mine.  Unfortunately this will have major consequences to walking in the area of the extended mining.  In particular the entrance from Copt Oak Road onto footpath N49 will be moved to a position opposite Old House Lane for a temporary period of 18 months.  Following eighteen months, the footpath will be stopped up for two years to allow excavation works to commence on the formation of the new quarry.

The most disappointing aspect of the extension of quarry mining is the Eastern closure of footpath O35 originally passing through Kellams Farm but now taking a route further to the East and emerging onto the Copt Oak to Abbott’s Oak road.  This will mean access to bridleway L24 on the Northern side of that road can only be accessed on foot along the road from either Copt Oak or Abbott’s Oak.  There is no footpath on either side of that road! Representations have been made to the County Council concerning providing a link and the exposure of walkers to traffic on the roads.  In October the County Council advised they had persuaded the Quarry Company to provide an alternative route to the North West of the quarry.  Footpath O22 leading to the top of Bardon Hill will remain open.  O22A can then be used to come down the hill on the North side and continuing on O22 into the housing estate at the bottom of the hill.  Half of route O22 around the hill will be closed for two years but the other half will now be part of the diverted footpath O35.

Deletion of footpath L98 (Part) at Isley Walton.

An application has been lodged to delete the section of footpath leaving footpath L98A to the farm just South of Isley Walton.  It is suggested an error was made when the first definitive Map for the County was published.  This is a dead end footpath as no right of way was recorded passing through the farm complex into the village of Isley Walton.  Only last year an Inspector ruled the footpath should not be extended because he was not satisfied this would add to the convenience or enjoyment of a substantial section of the public, or add to the convenience of persons resident in the area.  The applicant has to prove an error was made when the first definitive map was published and this will be quite a difficult task.

Bridleway I20 – Railway crossing at Barrow upon Soar.

In 2008 Network Rail applied for a temporary closure of the right of way over the six track railway line between Leicester and Loughborough on safety grounds.  Following various meetings and discussions a suitable diversion of the route was not identified.  However, a proposal for a footbridge at a position to the South of the existing crossing was a distinct possibility.  This would have meant bridleway users on cycles and horses would come to a dead end.

On the 14th August, 2013 County Hall sent our Association Network Rail’s new proposal to extinguish the bridleway at the rail crossing.  Your committee have objected to such proposal as have the Ramblers Association, the Bridleways Association and the Local Access Forum.

Dedication of Footpath N64 at Ibstock brickworks, Ibstock.

A path walked by local people at the back of houses on Leicester Road and WILSON HOUSE has now been dedicated as a right of way and will be marked on the definitive map of public rights of way for our County.  Extending from footpath Q90 where it turns Westwards (Grid Reference 44099 31097), N64 has a total distance of 660 metres and emerges on Leicester Road at Grid Reference 44139 31131.  The width of the path is 2 metres.

Brian J

Leicestershire Round Volunteer Wardens

The Leicestershire Round was devised in 1987 by members of the Leicestershire Footpath Association to celebrate what was then thought to be the Association’s centenary year and it is promoted by Leicestershire County Council.

The intention of seeking volunteer wardens was to help preserve and maintain the ease of Passage along the “Round” by checking one or part of one of the eleven nominated sections, once or twice a year and reporting any obstructions or damage to be later dealt with by the County Council.

The appeal for volunteer wardens was soon answered with seventeen LFA members and some non-members volunteering their services, covering the whole one hundred miles of the “Round”, with several others offering their services as reserves.

A number of incidents have been reported to County Hall of stiles and paths that have been obstructed by overgrown vegetation, missing waymarkers and footpaths not being re-instated etc.   Volunteer wardens have also responded and investigated reports by walkers who have experienced problems along the “Round” and have contacted either the LFA website or LFA committee members.

A lack of Leicestershire Round stickers normally sited on directional discs along the route will hopefully soon be rectified as County Hall is, at the time of writing, about to source another supplier and it is hoped that each volunteer warden will be able to have a supply to renew or replace the stickers on their section.

Most of the volunteer wardens have indicated their willingness to continue monitoring their sections next year, but should any LFA member wish to be added to the list of reserves, I’ll be grateful if they would contact me via the Secretary.

On behalf of the Chairman and LFA Committee, I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteer wardens for their time and efforts in helping keep the Leicestershire Round the premier walking route in the county.

David W

Obstruction Officer’s report

This year I am writing my last report as Obstructions Secretary, as I am resigning from this position at our AGM in February.

I have been doing this task on the committee since 2001.  During my first year, walking along rights of ways was severely curtailed by the Foot and Mouth outbreak which lasted from February to October, so I didn’t have a great deal of work to do.

Looking through my reports since then, there seems to be one common theme.  This is that the annual number of reports submitted to County Hall by us has fallen year by year.  I believe that over the years the continuous work done by County Hall to clear problems such as overgrown vegetation, fallen trees etc. will still happen but problems with the furniture of footpaths do appear to have lessened.  The introduction of metal gates instead of stiles has brought a major improvement but it will be a long time before all wooden stiles disappear.  Another factor could be where we walk.  If club walks often use the more commonly used paths then these walks will miss paths which could be in a real mess and need repairing.

Just to remind members of the kinds of problems for which we are looking.

1.  Where the footpath is physically blocked, e.g. by crops such as oilseed rape and beans etc. overgrown vegetation, building works, locked gates, barbed wire, electric fences, blocked footpaths, fallen trees etc.

2.  Where the passage of the footpath is affected by safety considerations, e.g. dodgy stiles, steps on steep slopes in a bad condition, ploughed up headlands, aggressive animals, dodgy footbridges, quagmires etc.

3.  Problems with the furniture of rights of way, e.g. finger posts, waymarks, waymark posts, gates, bridges etc.

Most of these problems used to be resolved fairly quickly by reporting them to the rights of way department at County Hall, who arranged for inspectors to check our reports on the ground.

The first two groups appear to get priority for attention.  The inspectors arrange with either farmers to clear crop obstructions or place orders with subcontractors to repair the furniture of rights of way.  County Hall has a system whereby they remind farmers during the growing season that fields containing cross field paths will need to have paths cleared through their crops.  The third group of problems appear to have a lower priority for action but they do get resolved in time.  However, recent conversations with County Hall tell me that because of manpower reductions, Highway Inspectors have a target of within ten days

to get out to look at a problem and subcontractors of within four weeks to complete the work.  This clearly has a bearing on the timing of pre-walks for leaders.  If there is a gang working on problems in the immediate area of a problem it is possible these targets could be beaten.

Cindy West has agreed to take over as Obstructions Secretary from the next AGM and I am sure you will give her full support.

Finally, thanks to those at County Hall who organise the maintenance of rights of ways, and of course members who have advised me of problems.

Clive F

Treasurer’s report

My first year in the role has proved to be both interesting and challenging, and as a ‘spreadsheet nerd’ who likes receiving lots of mail I have also found it most enjoyable!

My thanks must go firstly to Jane D for help with the hand-over, and also to Brian Jenkinson for his support during the early months.

During the year the popularity of walking with the LFA has continued to grow, with an overall increase in membership bringing our number to 338, including 5 life members and one person who paid their subs twice!  In addition, 6 parish councils paid their 2012 subs retrospectively and also renewed for 2013, whilst 5 decided not to renew, leaving us with 52 parish councils.

I am pleased to report that the LFA has recently joined The Walking Programme. This is a scheme operated by Ramblers Holidays whereby any member who books a holiday through the Ramblers can nominate us to receive a funding donation (at no extra cost to their own holiday).  The amount that we will receive can be as high as £30 per person for long haul holidays, and we already have 3 members whose holidays will create a combined income of £90 in coming months.  I would therefore ask any member who has a booking with Ramblers Holidays, or makes one in the future, to please ensure that before you actually take the holiday you nominate the LFA to receive the Walking Programme donation.

Reclaiming Gift Aid for 2012 has proved to be a difficult nut to crack.  HMRC have moved into the 21st Century and now require claims to be made on-line, which I have been unable to do as they have only just processed the change request from Jane to myself as the Authorised Person, leaving insufficient time for the claim to be submitted during this financial year.  Frustrating, although not catastrophic as 4 years is allowed for claims to be submitted, but it does mean that the 2012 Gift Aid amount of £297.50p cannot be included in the 2013 accounts.

As can be seen from the Financial Statement in the centre pages of the Annual Report, I am pleased to report that overall expenditure of £2,761.79 was comfortably less than the total income of £3,857.29, thereby producing a surplus of £1,095.50 in the year to leave us in a very strong financial position.  Membership subscription for 2014 has already been set at £5.00, and the committee has agreed that no increase should be recommended for 2015.

Dave R

Webmaster’s report

Over the last year the site had 19,100 views. This figure is steadily increasing year on year.  I can also report that over the past year the site had visitors from the USA (364 views), Australia (65), Canada (50) and many more.  The number of views has increased since the new style Google calendar was introduced.  While it might be a vanity thing for us to aim for more site visitors there is the concern that our provider might introduce adverts if the site became too popular.

I’m not a smart phone user but I was delighted to hear recently that our site, hosted free of charge by WordPress, can be viewed on a mobile device so no excuses for you not to stay in touch.

We have just 27 folk signed up to “Follow” so you could be missing out.  It’s easy to follow, just click on the ‘Follow’ button bottom right of the page.  You will then receive an email about the latest information as it’s posted on the site.

The site is constantly being changed and this year I added more links to other walking sites.  Some are what you might call recreational, something to look at or read while others are packed with useful information facts and links to other sites. I especially recommend the page on Geograph which lists and provides links to counties which have their Definitive Map online.

The great thing about being webmaster is that I can carry out the duties when the rain, wind or snow is beating against the window and here I sit in the warm comfort of my own home.  I await the flurry of reports and pictures from our frequent walks where interesting, amusing or unusual incidents occur.  I tidy these reports and pictures and upload them to our site for the whole wide world to see what a wonderful county Leicestershire is. I need never meet another soul and that is perhaps the downside of the web and may also explain why I don’t get many reports and pictures because members of the LFA are a very social lot, they don’t like sitting at home in front of a computer screen, they prefer to get out and meet other real folk.

My sincere thanks to those who have provided material including Brian, who now has his own ‘log in’ for uploading reports, to Vanessa for helping with the Google calendar by adding the Saturday walk details, to Roy for the Facebook page and to Neil for managing the Tuesday walks and posting another wonderful video.  Many hands make for lighter work.

Ken B

Saturday walks

The group have maintained good numbers over the year with some walks attracting up to 26 members.  We are becoming more adventurous with walks in the more unexplored areas of the county and going over the border into neighbouring counties.  We are now regularly walking longer distances of up to 10.5 miles especially during the summer months.

Many thanks to all our leaders and in particular to John R who led three walks which were combined with some members from the Loughborough Ramblers.  Most memorable was the combined walk in June from Lyndon, Rutland on a very hot day when we walked along the banks of Rutland water and viewed the prayer maze at Wing. Later some of us went for tea at Wing Hall.  Some members have developed a habit of visiting the local pub after the walk to put the world to rights – the most popular being those with their own brewery such as Church End Brewery!

In November a linear walk of over nine miles was undertaken on a lovely day. Members caught a bus from Syston to Frisby-on-the-Wreake.  We then walked back to Syston utilising footpaths along the Wreake valley and the Leicestershire Round. Many thanks for Ken for this different approach to our walking menu.

Vanessa M

Evening walks

We had a good summer of walks from ‘G and H’ villages – Groby, Gilmorton, Houghton, Hoby etc.  However, now that we do these every week, we have run out of letters that can cover a season, either singly or in pairs.  So don’t waste time trying to guess what they will be next year!  Instead, we are going to spend two summers going Around the Round, choosing start points on the Round and inevitably covering some of the Round on the walks.  Walks are on Monday evenings, starting at 7.00pm, and run from May 12th to August 11th.  Anyone is welcome to join just one of several walks.

Chris M

Tuesday walks

The Tuesday walks are still very well attended and some of our new members are becoming good leaders.  Many thanks to all the leaders throughout the year for some lovely walks.  Aren’t we lucky?

Our short walks are still going very well.  Its good to welcome Clive back after his knee operation.  Thank you Val for your continuing help with these walks.

Forty-three of us enjoyed a super Christmas meal at “The Shires”, Peatling Parva.  A collection was made for the Air Ambulance again.

Jenny T

Wednesday walks

Having to find volunteers for two walks is proving not to be as difficult as I first thought, our short walk winter programme was completed well in time and with help again from Roger C the long walk programme was also filled.

Wednesday walkers over past years have often boasted about having fine dry weather for our walks, unfortunately 2013 was not so good and we got pretty wet on a number of occasions, although the delayed summer improved matters somewhat.

Having been walking on Wednesdays for some years now (I won’t say how many) I am still surprised how leaders can still find pathways we have not walked before.  Many thanks to all those volunteers who have made our walks possible over the last year and keep up the good work.

I would like to thank Anne C and friends on behalf of all the Wednesday walkers for their magnificent buffet which was provided in place of the usual pub meal.  I am sure all the walkers would agree with me that it was a truly brilliant way to end the year.

Roger W

Thursday walks

This has been a year of contrasts for the group, from wading through field-sized snowdrifts with much laughter and not a little mucking about, to sweating through those summer days which led to dwindling numbers of walkers as the heat was too much for some. We have had a few eventful walks.  An early December walk was brought to a temporary halt when the path became impassable because two very large bulls were having a head-on fight, watched by a large herd of cows.  Fortunately for us, the cows got bored with watching these macho antics and moved to another field, and the bulls followed.  So we lived to tell the tale.

The group has grown over the last year.  There are now 54 people on our contacts list, although some rarely walk and of the regulars, not everyone walks every week.  If they did we would have traffic jams at stiles.  We are fortunate in that the solid core of regular walkers are happy to lead walks and are competent map-readers, so the responsibility is evenly shared throughout the year.  The walks have been very varied, through some lovely countryside and with lunches at some excellent pubs.  We have often learned a bit of history on the way (thanks to some of the leaders) and we are a happy and friendly band of walkers.

Kate P

LFA Weekend in August at Cromford.

A record twenty eight members took to the paths around Cromford in Derbyshire on our weekend this year.  For some this included lots of walking, for others a bit of walking, a bit of sight- seeing and shopping.  For everyone it included fun and friendship, some knowing everyone and others making new acquaintances.  Our accommodation was excellent and the weather glorious.  Our Saturday walks gave us a choice of twelve or six miles and Sunday’s walk saw us covering between four and six miles as two groups started out the same way and then parted to face varying challenges by choosing different terrain to conquer.  Thanks go to Chris B and Brian H for planning them and leading us through the lovely, sometimes testing countryside.

Thanks to Barbara M for taking on the mantle of “tour guide” for some of our group who completed the Cromford “Treasure Hunt” that Chris M provided for us.  This gave us opportunity to see bits of Cromford we would not have known existed.  Roger C showed his “tough guy” skills as he cleared our path of a tree that almost landed on his head as it fell along the Cromford canal.  We kept our brains well and truly active in the evenings thanks to quizzes provided by Glenyss H, Les P and Cindy W. 

Research is now underway to find a suitable area and venue for our 2014 venture.

Cindy W

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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at the Evangelical Baptist Church, Main Street,

Woodhouse Eaves at 10.15am on Saturday, 23rd February, 2013.

1.   Seventy-six people attended the meeting and the following apologies were received:-

Avril  B, Tom B, Sallie B, Gerald C, Ann C, Diana D, Jennifer McG, Colin H, Heather H, Linda, Althea, Lionel, John P, Judy P-A, Brian and Marjorie T, Martin and Kath W.

Heather welcomed members to the meeting and outlined the morning’s business, Luncheon arrangements and afternoon walks. 

Eric A outlined fire safety drill and spoke of his sad loss of his beloved Mary.

2.   Chris M presided over her second meeting as Chair and thanked members for their attendance.  The minutes of last years AGM had been circulated by inclusion at the back of the Annual Report and were accepted as a true record of the meeting.

      There were no matters arising from those minutes.

3.   David W addressed members on the introduction of wardens who will monitor sections of the Leicestershire Round.  There had been a good response by members and most of the sections have been covered by volunteers.  The main outstanding section for a member or members to cover is from Newtown Linford to Mountsorrel.  The wardens will walk their respective sections and ensure the way is clear.  Light maintenance on hedges can be undertaken.  Any major problem to be reported to David who will then  ass information onto Clive who will contact Leicestershire County Council. Bob S asked about insurance for members undertaking maintenance. They would be deemed to be in the employment of the Association and if injury was sustained when clearing a possible claim could be forthcoming against the Association.  After some discussion the Secretary was asked to make enquiries over this legitimate concern.

Roger W asked if existing stiles on the Leicestershire Round would be placed by metal gates.  This was unlikely due to cut backs on the LCC budget for maintenance work.

4.   The Officers’ reports were accepted subject to two amendments.  In the President’s preamble, in the first line at word eight, Substitute numbers for members.  In the Treasurer’s report the loss figure should read £265.25p. Jane D, our treasurer for the last four years has decided to relinquish her post and thanks were expressed for the work she had undertaken on behalf of the Association during that period.  Jane has also vacated her position on the committee.

5.   The election of Officers and the committee then took place.  In respect of the vacant Treasurer’s post, Dave R was proposed by Neil B and seconded by June B. Proposal carried by the meeting.

There then followed a proposal by Peter B (seconded by Bob S) for all other existing officers being re-elected for a further year.  Proposal carried by the meeting.

Tim W proposed continuance of existing committee members (seconded by Les P) and this was duly approved by the meeting.

The position of a Social Secretary was mentioned.  The meeting was of the opinion as no person had been nominated, social events would be arranged as and when needed by individual members of the Association.

6.   The meeting then considered subscriptions to other organisations.  It was agreed to renew membership of the Ramblers Association, Open Spaces Society and the Woodland Trust.

7.   The meeting confirmed three cheque signatories, any two to sign.  Heather MacD, Brian J and the newly elected treasurer Dave R.

8.   The Secretary advised members of the need to review the guidance to the walk leaders document.  This was last reviewed in 2011.  In particular there is no reference to a walk leader cancelling a walk due to bad weather.  Members present then contributed to a general discussion and raised the following matters:- the pace of walks, keeping the group together, back markers, stops on walks, appropriate footwear and mobile phones.

The Committee at its next meeting will review the guidance and amend where necessary.

9.  Under any other business, Chris M indicated a new Chairman would need to be appointed at the next AGM, due to her having completed three years in that position. 

Clive F has also given notice of his intention to relinquish the position of Obstruction Secretary, the duties of which he will have by then been doing for thirteen years.  The membership were asked to consider a possible candidate for that post and also for the vacant position on the committee.  Ken B said the membership must be mindful that the continuing existence of the Association is dependant on volunteers coming forward and filling positions. 

Steve K is arranging a quiz night (to include meal) for Saturday, 6th April, 2013, tickets priced at £7.50p.

Chris B and Dr. M R are arranging a treasure hunt on foot on the 23rd June. Further information will be in the Spring newsletter to members.

Chris H reported the sale of club sweat shirts had been poor with only two being sold during the last twelve months.  No new ones have been ordered and she is considering whether to continue with this task.

10.  Gerald P (volunteer with the Woodland Trust) then gave an illustrated talk on the work of that organisation.   Founded in 1972 and then becoming a National organisation within five to six years.  The Trust have Two Hundred Thousand members and are responsible for eleven hundred woodlands.  Interestingly hedgerows can also be classed as part of the woodland. Sheffield is the most wooded City.

Gerald then talked about the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood in Leicestershire which consists of 463 acres with a mixture of trees.  Much of the site was bought in 2012, previously having been a coal field.  There will be a number of pathways, linking with the rights of way system.  The wood can be accessed via a  car park on Heather  Lane. The wood is situated to the West of Ravenstone and there are links to Sence Valley park where there is ample car parking and toilets.

Gerald gave details of two websites which may interest our membership:-

visitwoods.org.uk and www.queenelizabethdiamondjubileewood.wordpress.com This website is for friends of the Jubilee wood project in Leicestershire. 

Chris M thanked the speaker for his presentation and closed the meeting at Twelve midday. 

11.  Chris M thanked Judy and her band of helpers in providing an excellent lunch.

Following lunch two walks were arranged with Val W leading a short walk of sixteen members and Chris M led a longer walk supported by eleven members.

Annual Report 2012

March 2, 2013

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.

_____________________________________________________

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.

Annual Report 2011

February 9, 2012

President’s preamble

It is pleasing to see the expanding numbers of walkers in LFA.   It does of course make for extra responsibility for leaders and extra pressure on pubs for lunch on mid week walks.  We are lucky to have sufficiently well trained and experienced leaders with walkers to help share the task of keeping the group together, welcoming newcomers, and making sure we all observe the countryside code of conduct.

We have had an interesting selection of walks of various lengths in all parts of the county prepared by Vanessa for Saturday walks.  Volunteers for mid-week walks choose their own walks, with pubs for mid-day meals.  Our thanks go to all these members.  We have participated in walks with other groups and organisations.  John R and Gerald C have arranged walks for us to share with Loughborough and Coalville groups and we have led walks for the festival of walks organised by LCC and the National Forest.  These all provide friendly occasions for us to meet and talk with people from other areas.

Car sharing.  I wonder if the increased price of petrol might indicate a need for meeting places for car-sharing.  We abandoned this process some years ago because it meant more work for rambles secretaries and took up more space on the programme and was not used sufficiently by members.  Are we all happy to make our own arrangements for car sharing or is it worth reconsidering the matter?  It would be a shame to omit distant villages just because driving solo to them would be too expensive.

Country Parks walks books.   Last year I reported that I held 24 boxes of books stored in my house, waiting for members to hold them for distribution.  That number has now been halved and volunteers have been selling books to their various outlets.  Sales of course are slowing down, now that every member has bought a copy and encouraged their friends and relatives to do so but with your perseverance all should be sold eventually.  Could we have a batch of volunteers to come forward to store a couple of boxes and/or to take responsibility for selling to any other outlets?

At present, Cordee press deliver to Waterstones and Smiths and other bookshops and to Amazon.   Our volunteers check up on garden centres at Wistow and country parks at Oadby Brocks Hill, the Tourist and Information centre in Leicester and Country parks like Bosworth and Sibson.  There are surely other places which would be happy to sell the book.  Any ideas?  Any volunteers to approach them?
Books are sold on sale or return basis with discounts on multiple copies, delivered by our volunteers when appropriate.  (After a while it becomes a habit to look in bookshops to see if our distinctive cover photo is being displayed and if managers need a quiet reminder!)  Pam G sends invoices and cheques are sent to Jane D as treasurer.

Charity status and Gift Aid.   We are very proud of our status as a charity for our work in encouraging walking in our beautiful countryside and in protecting the rights of way.  We make no charge for walks and our committee and organisers do not claim payment for services.  We make money from producing books and selling badges.  So can I make a plea for abandoning our use of Gift Aid for LFA?   It seems to me that it gives our treasurer a lot of extra work for a small amount of money which we do not need.  My personal feeling is that we are depriving the tax system of money which we do not need.  Would anyone like to comment?

Our thanks, as always to all the committee for their work, our Chairman, Chris M, has organised highly successful alliterative evening walks.  Brian J carries the burden of correspondence with the outside world along with an active involvement in all matters of rights of way.  We are particularly blessed to have the services of Ken B for producing such a comprehensive and informative website.  And to all the unsung heroes of our Association, thanks.

Heather MacD

Chairman’s remarks

It has been a good year, this 125th year of the LFA.  We have more members, now at 320, a net increase of 29 over the previous year.  We have more walks, with extra evening and longer Wednesday walks (is your LFA membership the best-value fiver of the whole year?).  We have more people actually walking, and estimate that most weeks we now have 100 people on a walk sometime in the week.

When I first started proper walking in Leicestershire (with Ramblers) about 15 years ago, I spent several years being amazed by what a lovely and varied county I had always lived in.  The amazement has inevitably faded, but the appreciation remains and I’m still finding bits that I’ve never walked before.  I’m sure we all also appreciate the way-marking and state of the paths in the county (particularly after any walks outside the county), and also the number of gates that have been put in over recent years.  We should be grateful for the work done by the Rights of Way team at County Hall.

And the other people we should be grateful to are the walk leaders.  All those walks don’t just happen and only continue because we can find willing leaders.  One of the good things about LFA is the way it encourages any member to lead a walk – I first led a walk for Ramblers last summer as no one ever asked me.  It’s not compulsory of course, but like most things, leading gets easier with practice.  Everyone is uncertain on the first walk they lead, but you can almost certainly find someone more experienced to do the pre-walk with you and you can start with somewhere that you know (and get more adventurous later).  So if you haven’t led a walk yet, think about it.  We can always arrange another training day if that would help.  My thanks to Ken B for leading a successful training day based at Ashby Folville village.

Enjoy your walks in the rest of 2012.

Chris M

Secretary’s report

Your committee has considered twenty-eight applications for diversions and closures of rights of way.  Many are non-contentious but in some cases we have made representations to the order-making authority.

The Latimer Primary School advised us of a possible application for a Gating Order at Anstey on part of footpath J84.  It was being proposed gates should be locked between the hours of 8.45am to 3.00pm, Monday to Friday during the 190 school days each year.  Such application was being considered under Section 129A of the Highways Act, 1980 which allows Gating of footpaths where premises adjoining or adjacent to the right of way are affected by crime or anti social behaviour.  The main ground for a possible order was due to the persistent dropping of hypodermic needles by drug users onto the footpath thereby putting children at risk during the school day. Having considered the legal requirement for Gating Orders the school was advised the Association were doubtful its application would be successful and would not therefore lend support to it.  Regular inspection of the footpath by staff would seem proportionate action to the mischief presented.

Walking Festivals

Walks were arranged as part of the Leicestershire Festival and the National Forest Festival.  In respect of the first festival, Liz M led a Tuesday  walk from Newtown Linford which attracted thirty-eight walkers, six of which were not members of our Association.  In respect of the second festival, Heather led a Thursday walk from Donington-Le-Heath Manor House and this attracted twelve walkers and I led a walk from Heather village attracting twenty-four walkers.  These events whilst not perhaps attracting many new members do advertise the existence and work of our Association.   The Tuesday walk introduced existing members and visitors to the new link footpath at Ulverscroft which is now well sign posted and used.

MIRA Technology Park

I was contacted by a Mrs Ann J of Higham-on-the-Hill concerning proposals by MIRA to construct a new technology park adjacent to the A5 trunk road.  I visited a presentation at Higham Community Centre on the 5th April and during discussions with management of the company it became apparent they were favourable to linking two dead end footpaths T49c and T49a.  As the Company owned the ground between the dead ends some form of dedication may follow.  The present position is the matter has been passed over to Geoff P at County Hall for further research and discussions with the Company.

In the new Technology Park, a cycleway will be made available for the public to use and will leave the present Weddington Way Cycle track and be routed through the new complex. The Weddington Way leaves Hinckley and passes underneath the A5 to just north of the A5 on an old railway track.  This track continues northwards but is the boundary of the Mira works and the Company are not prepared for security reasons to extend the Cycle Track on the line of the old railway any further.

Bosworth Battlefield Conservation Management Plan

On the 19th May I attended the Battlefield Centre to take part in discussions on a conservation management plan to take into account the new location of the main battlefield adjacent to Fenn Lane (an old Roman Road).  This is about one and a half miles South West of the existing battlefield site.
The present Bosworth Battlefield Centre has been transformed by a four year project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will not be moved.  The work covered by the 1.3 million lottery grant included a survey which identified the exact location of the 1485 battle. 
On a Saturday walk earlier in the year, it was noticed footpath T24A terminated at Foxcover Lane.  This meant for pedestrians local roads would have to be used to reach Stoke Golding.  Stoke Golding is the nearest village to the new battlefield site.  A new footpath is needed to take walkers through to Stoke Golding and this could be accommodated along the Parish boundary.  Stoke Golding church is 1.25 mile from Foxcover Lane.  It was also noted there is no access to Crown Hill (where the new King was crowned) and this lies just to the West of Stoke Golding village .
Information boards for visitors to the new battlefield site will need to be
erected and public access will need to be much improved.
The Conservation Management Plan process of consultation and discussion seeks to build partnerships and relationships.  It seeks to put parties in contact with each other and to find common ground to bring parties together.

I attended a second meeting on the 13th September 2011 and it seems unlikely footpaths will be linked to Stoke Golding or Crown Hill.  This is because of landowners objections.  It would seem some permissive footpaths will have to be created close to the new battlefield site to make it accessible.

Bardon Hill Quarry

Leicestershire County Council’s planning committee have approved the plan by Aggregate Industries to extend the quarry.  This will now secure the future of the quarry and provide jobs for some 300 people over the next 40 years.

Hundreds of local people had signed a petition against the proposal as this would ruin the countryside.  The extension to the quarry will affect public rights of way but the Company in a display two years ago indicated how they would manage access around the new extension.  A visitor centre is proposed which will show case wildlife and bio-diversity.  It is anticipated the car park at the visitor centre will provide a starting point for walks in the area.

Minorca opencast mine near Measham

In June Leicestershire County Council approved planning permission for UK coal to extract 1.5 million tonnes of coal and fireclay from the site.  This followed a three-year fight by some local people to stop this development.  This mine is in the area of the National Forest and will therefore impact on this but the firm have pledged £1 million pounds towards the project to restore a section of the Ashby canal.  94 conditions will govern the operation of the mine and its restoration. 

Permissive footpaths

Whilst walking in the countryside you occasionally come across a permissive footpath which a landowner has opened up to the public which is often funded by English Nature.  This was the position when on a Saturday walk near to Loddington Church a notice board had been erected indicating permissive access along the old railway line towards Loddington Lane.  The agreement with English Nature ends in August 2020.  In the meantime the public are invited to use it.  When reaching Loddington Lane, footpath B86 can be walked which will take you Southwards over the Eye Brook to a point where the old railway viaduct crossed the valley near what was East Norton Station.
The website for other permissive access is http://cwr.naturalengland.org.uk
And look for Educational access sites – defra UK – rural affairs.

New National Wood

The Woodland Trust have unveiled plans for this wood to be located in the National Forest near the villages of Ravenstone and Normanton-le-Heath.
This will be a national symbol to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond jubilee in 2012.  The land needs to be bought to accommodate the 460 acre wood and a £3.3 million fundraising appeal will follow.  It will take some ten years for the trees to become established but what an excellent area for walking in this will become and right on our doorstep!

Members will be interested to learn of a new seventy-three mile trail being developed by the National Forest Company.  Half of the proposed route is within Leicestershire.  This will become a challenge for some of our more active members to walk and enjoy.

Life membership

Your committee have granted life membership to Gerald C.  Gerald joined our Association in 1973 and has done and is continuing to do, valuable survey work on rights of way in North West Leicestershire.  His knowledge of routes and back alleys in that area is legendary.
Diversion and Closures Report

A temporary diversion order for six months from 15th December 2011 is in place on the Leicestershire Round at Shackerstone Station.  The footbridge over the railway lines has been deemed unsafe and will either have to be repaired or replaced.  Signs have been erected to advise users of the alternative route.  The County Council advise this will be an expensive project and a further closure order cannot be ruled out.

Addition  of public footpath X58 Wimborne Road, Knighton to public footpath
Z6 at Oadby

It was submitted by local residents the route claimed had been enjoyed by the public as of right and without interruption for a full period of twenty years as provided by Section 31 of the Highway’s Act, 1980.  A public inquiry took place on the 12th and 13th of January at Beauchamp College and I attended on the first day as an observer.
The objectors to the order were Oadby & Wigston Borough Council, Leicester Race course owners and Oadby Golf course.
There was sufficient evidence of use for the prescribed period to raise a presumption that it was dedicated as a public footpath.  There was conflicting evidence regarding actions taken on behalf of the landowner.  However, the Inspector conducting the inquiry was satisfied on balance of probability, there was sufficient evidence to negate the presumption in this case regarding the period claimed.  In particular it was found the gap alongside the Wimborne gate had been obstructed, locking the gates of the golf course car park on several days each year and challenging some path users, was sufficient indication of lack of intention to dedicate the route as a right of way.  Therefore the order was not confirmed.

Creation of footpath S90(Part) at Barton in the Beans

This interesting extension to what was a dead end footpath at the South of the village will now provide a link to a section of the Leicestershire Round between Carlton and Shackerstone at grid reference SK387056.  The initiative for the extension to the footpath was a joint application from Shackerstone. and Carlton Parish Councils.  The additional length of footpath being 575 metres.  This addition was formally opened on Sunday, 13th November.

Creation of footpath L98(Part) at Isley Walton

In 2004 an order was made by the County Council to extend the above footpath from Manor Farm for a distance of 120 metres northwards along the driveway to the Farm. This would then meet the A453 road at Walton Hill.
Apparently this short section was not claimed as a right of way when the Definitive Map was prepared.  The Parish Council, the farmer and some local people object to this section of the footpath being recognised and hence a public inquiry will now be held to decide the matter.  All parties now agree for an Inspector to decide the issue by way of written representations.

Bridleway I78(Part) at Coppice Farm, Queniborough

In 2007 objection was made to the diversion of the above right of way to the North of the farm on the ground of unsuitability of the ground.
New proposals have now been considered and a track has now been constructed.  Subject to a satisfactory top dressing to the surface of the track being applied then the new route would be acceptable.

Diversion of footpaths No. 10(Part) Parish of Shardlow and Great Wilne, Derbys and L91(Part) Parish of Lockington and Hemington, Leics.

Our Association was first consulted in April, 2000 over the diversion of these footpaths and again in October 2006.   “Long Horse Bridge”, crossed the River Trent at its mouth with the Trent and Mersey canal and connected these two footpaths but the bridge had been deemed structurally unsafe and was demolished by British Waterways (the owner) in 2003.  The centre of the Trent is the county boundary between Derbyshire and Leicestershire.  A new bridge has now been erected 140 metres upstream where the width of the river Trent is considerably less and a single span bridge can be accommodated.  A photograph of the new bridge, taken by Ken B, was shown on our web-site in November and the bridge was officially opened on the 12th November.  The new bridge and the 1.5km Greenway to connect Shardlow to Leicestershire was a  £1.4 million project.

Footpath Z44 – Countesthorpe (Linden Farm Drive to Winchester Road)

A small diversion of this right of way is taking place following the upgrading and fencing of an existing foul pumping station.  The footpath will be a “Community Link/Safer route to school and will have an all weather surface.

Brian J

Obstruction Officer’s report

My worries expressed in last year’s report concerning the rights of way department at County Hall have not yet become clear with respect to obstructions.  The majority of problems reported to ROW are being cleared up but it is not possible to forecast with any accuracy when they will be done.  To me as an outsider and user, the transfer of ROW to come under the management of the Highways Department has made little difference.

As it looks as though the elimination of the deficit is going to take longer than originally forecast by the Government, we may have shocks to come if overhead budgets at County Hall are reduced even more.  Fortunately Leicestershire does appear to come out well in budget allocations from the coalition government so far. 

The number of reported problems during 2011 by us remains at much the same level as in 2010.  As I reported last year, I believe that this is due to work done on footpaths in previous years in response to reports sent by us, the Ramblers, other walking groups and from individuals through the parish maintenance programme.

The best way to keep rights of way open is by walking them and reporting problems.  Thus, I make no apologies in reiterating the message on footpath problems to members.

Problems on rights of way can broadly be divided into three groups.

1. Where the footpath is physically blocked, e.g. by crops such as oilseed rape and beans etc., overgrown vegetation, building works, locked gates, barbed wire, electric fences and fallen trees etc.

2. Where our passage of the footpath is affected by safety considerations, 
e.g. rickety stiles, steps on steep slopes in a bad condition, ploughed up headlands, aggressive animals, defective footbridges, quagmires, and stepping stones etc.

3. Problems with the furniture of rights of way, e.g. finger posts, waymarks,
waymark posts, stiles, gates and footbridges.

Most of these problems can be resolved fairly quickly by reporting them to Rights of Way at County Hall who arrange for Inspectors to check our reports on the ground and then recommend action.

The first two groups appear to get priority for attention with now much emphasis on safety considerations.  County Hall either asks farmers to clear crop obstructions and quagmires or places orders with subcontractors to repair the right of way.  With respect of crop obstructions, County Hall has a system whereby they remind farmers during the growing season that fields containing cross-field paths will need to have paths cleared through crops.
However, some farmers can be forgetful in this respect so let me know of any paths not cleared through crops.

The third group of problems appear to have a lower priority for action but they do get resolved in time.

The most difficult situations to resolve that we come across, are where the right of way has been effectively closed to all but the intrepid and persistent walker.  The landowner is uncooperative to approaches by County Hall, so the issue results in a legal dispute taking years to resolve.

It is my belief that if we keep on reporting problems, this will keep the pressure on County Hall such that they cannot be ignored.  So keep your reports coming in and I will send them on to County Hall.  Thank you in anticipation!

We have been lucky sometimes when there is a subcontractor close to a problem we have reported and the subcontractor can pull our problem into their programme of works!

Finally our thanks should be given to those who have provided such helpful support, during 2011 and before, from the rights of way department at County Hall and also to the Highway Inspectors who go out and look at the problems on the ground.

Clive F
Treasurer’s report

2011 showed an increased interest from members of the public and we now have an additional 44 new members.
The accounts this year show a profit of £1917.52p.  We are considering donating to the Diamond Wood Appeal and this will be discussed at the AGM together with any other donations deemed worthy.

Membership stands at a healthy 320 members (15 members failed to renew their subs for various reasons).
There are 53 Parish Councils who are members (5 not paid)

195 members subscribe to Gift Aid Scheme (the more the merrier – please contact me if you are a tax payer and do not presently subscribe)

Ken B managed to find a new supplier for our Leicestershire Round badges and sales of such badges have increased due to the walk being completed by an increasing number of people.

Many thanks to all who helped with the Barn Dance and because it was such a success, I am hoping to hold another one on Saturday, 9th June 2012.  The date will be confirmed at the AGM so please pencil the date in your diary!

Membership’s subscription still remains at £5 – fantastic value for money.

Jane D

Webmaster’s report

Not the mega following of Tom Archer’s pigs playing footy which according to the everyday story of country folk went ‘viral’ but we are getting a steady stream of visits.  Looking at the statistics to prepare this report, I see that ‘contact us’ has recently had the most hits which hopefully will lead to new members.

During the year we were notified that the old site, provided by the owners of the Leicester Mercury, would be withdrawn.  This was expected and nothing had been added to the Beehive site since we moved to WordPress.  However, the old site remained top place in a Google search even after it had gone.  I’m pleased to say that it has now disappeared and a Google search for Leicestershire Footpath Association puts our new site at the top of the list.  That is on my computer, because they know what we are looking for. It could be different on yours.

Do you want to keep up to date with postings on the site?  You can by clicking on ‘Follow’ at the right hand foot of any of our site pages.  Complete the details and each time a new post is added to the site an email will be sent to you with details.

I’m grateful to Neil B for his input into the site and to Brian J for providing pictures and reports.  Both Neil and Brian had some training on accessing the site during the year.  While we maintain the site we do rely on external input so please email your pictures and reports to
leicestershire.footpaths@gmail.com  and we can make you famous for five minutes.
You can take a look again at last year’s Annual Report at https://leicestershirefootpaths.wordpress.com/annual-report-2009-10/

The wonders of the world wide web.  I note from my earlier reports that the theme remains much the same so perhaps in time I can re-cycle the report from the past.

Ken B

Monday evening walks

We had weekly evening walks for the first time last summer and they continued to be well attended, with an average of about sixteen, up a bit on the previous year.  I estimate we had at least seventy different people on walks, so you don’t have to be a regular.  Just turn up when you can.
Remember – summer is a time to take an evening walk.

Chris M

Tuesday walks

We have had another happy and successful year and again welcomed some new members.  The weekly number of walkers has been approximately thirty.
The walks have all been enjoyable and varied, covering most parts of the County.  May I thank all the leaders in providing the variety of walks for members to enjoy.

I am pleased to report, Val W and Neil B, joined the LFA committee.  Neil has also volunteered to post the starting point of our Tuesday walks on the website.

We all enjoyed the super summer barn dance held in Jane D’s barn.  Thank you to her and all her helpers.
Forty-four of us had a great Christmas meal at the “Golden Fleece”, South Croxton on December 13th.  Thanks to Judy and David S for organising this.
We collected £120.00p for the Air Ambulance again this Christmas.

Jenny T

Wednesday walks 

The Winter programme for 2011-12 was my first attempt to organise walks for the Wednesday group.  I took on the job thinking that it would be quite easy to find volunteers to lead the walks, but found that with the introduction of a long walk every other Wednesday more leaders would be required, this made the job more difficult than I thought.  With the Summer programme upon us, and a long walk being proposed every Wednesday, finding leaders is going to be even more challenging.

I would like to thank those members who volunteered to lead more than one walk on the Winter programme. Without their help we would have been struggling to organise all the walks.

Another year has flown by, fortunately with no accidents reported.  This  may be due to the fact that Wednesday mornings seem to be blessed with fine weather and with the introduction of more metal gates, the odds of falling off a stile have been reduced.

This year has seen a large number of new walkers joining the Wednesday group.  I would like to welcome them to the LFA and hope they enjoy our future walks. (Some, I hope will be able to volunteer as leaders.)

The Church Langton walk led by Peter R saw a record number of 45 walkers. Fortunately the pub was able to accommodate in one room all the people who stayed for lunch.

Roger W

Thursdays walks

Another year has gone by so quickly.  However, apart from the first couple of months when the snow was prolific, at lest for this part of the country, we have experienced what I think to have been ideal weather for walking.  Not too hot and not too cold.  Nevertheless, I do hope that we can look forward to a better Summer this coming year.

Once again we have ventured north, south, east and west of Leicester, in varied contrasting countryside.  We have welcomed new members to our Thursday walks and enjoyed the company of others who normally walk on different days of the week.  Relatively new members to our group have very successfully lead walks over the past year and I am hoping that, along with our regular leaders, they will continue to do so into the future.  We always support one another in this regard, so the task is one of companionship and achievement rather than a chore.

On behalf of everyone in the Thursday group, I would like to wish all members of the LFA a most enjoyable walking year.

Judy P-A

Saturday walks

This year our numbers have increased considerably thanks to several regular Saturday walkers who have joined us from Hinckley Ramblers.  Numbers have been in the high teens and sometimes past twenty during the Summer and continue now to be much higher than previous years.  We have enjoyed walks with Loughborough Ramblers on three occasions in the far corners of our county.  Our walks vary in length from 6 to 10 miles generally with picnic stop midway, which allows us real freedom to walk the county’s footpaths.  There is usually the option of a drink in the local pub at the end!

Vanessa M

October weekend

Fourteen members met at the Honiley Court Hotel and Conference Centre at Honiley, Warwickshire for my last October weekend.  We had been here two years ago and knew what to expect.   The complex has excellent facilities, good food and nearby there are pleasant countryside walks.  On Saturday, Brian and Glenys H led the long walk.  Three of us elected to walk a shorter distance with a pub stop for lunch.  Both walks were successful in decent weather.
Saturday night’s excellent dinner was enlivened by the now familiar quiz.  Afterwards we entertained ourselves with anecdotes and poetry.
I was presented with a lovely book of poetry to mark my involvement in organising the venues of the past few years, a task that I have enjoyed tremendously.  I hope that someone else will take up the baton for the future.

Tim W

——————————————————————————-

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at the Evangelical Baptist Church, Woodhouse Eaves at 10.15am on Saturday, 26th February, 2011.

1. Seventy people attended the meeting and apologies had been received from 16 members.  Heather welcomed members and expressed thanks for the help given in promoting the Country Park book of walks but was seeking volunteers to maintain momentum in sales at various outlets by checking and replacing stock.

2.  Chairman Peter B also welcomed members and thanked them for the   
     assistance he had received during his term in office.  Peter thanked
     the committee for their help in the successful conduct of business of the
     Association during such period.  The minutes of the last AGM, which had
     been circulated by inclusion at the back of the Annual Report were
     accepted as a true record of the meeting and there were no matters arising
     from those minutes. 

3.  Peter then introduced John S who had been invited to attend and
speak on the accommodation of footpaths over agricultural land and bulls
in footpath fields.  John has for many years farmed at Springbarrow Lodge, Grace Dieu and in particular takes great pride
in his herd of Longhorn cattle.  In what proved to be a humorous and interesting talk on his life with cattle, members were left in no uncertainty of the dangers of dairy bulls in footpath fields.  Interestingly we were told responsible farmers would not place such bulls in fields where footpaths were crossed and most such animals were kept in farm buildings.  Beef bulls did not pose such danger but no explanation could be given as to why they were less aggressive.  John said cows with very young calves can be very protective of their young and should be given a wide birth.  Always be on guard and do not assume a bull must be safe as a lot depends on the temperament of the animal. 

4. The meeting now considered the acceptance of Officers reports and
these were approved.  Arising from this some discussion took place on
Tuesday walks not having a destination on the walks programme necessitating a telephone call to discover this.  Tuesday rambles organiser
Jenny T said walk leaders on Tuesday preferred this but a record of where the walk is kept and could be submitted if this was essential.
There was no objection to Tuesday walks being placed on the website.
The Treasurer explained the reason for the deficit in the accounts for the year was due to the costs associated in producing the Country Walks booklet.  The Association does still have a healthy balance.  Bob S asked about insurance cover for the Association.  Jane D then read details of our cover and said we were adequately covered for any claim which may be made against us.  It is important to distinguish between personal insurance for a member who may be injured through no fault of the leader.  Such personal insurance can be expensive and needs to be taken out by a member separately.
It was suggested a leaders course would be useful for new members and the committee will try and organise this.  A copy of instructions for walk leaders can be obtained from the Treasurer. 
Ken B asked members to report any problems on pre-walks to Clive F, obstructions secretary.  This will then give time for the matter to be reported and for action possibly to be taken. The Association does not take part in erecting stiles, placing footbridges etc., as this is done by the Local Authority but simple hedge clipping is from time to time undertaken to make passage easier.
Roger W asked for a list of public houses used in villages to be placed on the website.

5.  The meeting then considered election of officers and members were
advised all officers wished to continue apart from Chairman.  Peter was
standing down and also leaving the committee.  Peter proposed and Ken
B seconded Christine M as our future Chairman.  No other nominations were made and Christine was duly elected.  Peter then produced the Chairman’s Cup which was now on a wood turned base with engravings on silver plate and passed this over to Christine.  The name of the first ever Chairman of the Association had been engraved with the names of other Chairman following on from our one hundredth year.
Existing committee members Ken B, David S, Roger C will remain and two new members were elected, Mrs Val W and Neil B. 

6.  The following subscriptions were authorised by members:- Ramblers
     Association, Open Spaces Society, Woodland Trust, Air Ambulance.  Ken
     B had noticed a donation had been made to the Ashby Canal 
     Association and asked if a subscription or donation could be made to the
     Grantham Canal Association because we walk from time to time along the
     canal towpath.  This was left open for the committee to consider at its next
     meeting when perhaps more information could be obtained.
     It was agreed cheque signatories would continue as follows, Jane, Brian
     and Heather, any two from three.

7.  The coach ramble for 2011 is in jeopardy due to the lack of a volunteer to
     organise.  This was regretted and unless a member or a number of
     members came together to rescue this annual event then it would not
     happen.

8. Members considered the venue for our 2012 Annual General Meeting and
and by a show of hands there was overwhelming support for us to remain
at the Woodhouse Eaves Baptist Church.

9. Jane D raised under any other business the shortage in stock of
Leicestershire Round badges and asked members if they knew where these had been obtained from.  It was suggested a firm in Melton Mowbray
was the original supplier and perhaps a search through our records would
reveal the contact name.
Jane D advised members of a barn dance at High Lees Farm which is to be arranged for Saturday, 4th June, 2011.  Members to bring food to be shared and any profit from this event to be donated to LOROS.

Vanessa gave details of the five mile walk and members were invited to attend after their luncheon.  18 members supported the afternoon walk.-

The meeting closed a few minutes before Twelve midday.

Annual Report for 2010

February 20, 2011

President’s preamble

Our rules specify that a chairman is to serve for only three years. Peter B has now completed his tour of duty, chairing our meetings very amiably and efficiently and taking a real interest in our LFA projects. We are grateful to him and hope that we can acquire an equally keen volunteer as his replacement at our AGM.

Each of our walking groups has gone from strength to strength. Those of us who are now older and less energetic regret that ‘you youngsters’ do not explore as much countryside as we did years ago and that walks are often cautiously chosen (to be less than 6 miles, based on a pub, in countryside not too far from home) but we are really pleased to see that this attracts newcomers and that our numbers have expanded. We note that spin-off groups for longer walks have recently been formed and all seem to be flourishing. Thanks to all walks organisers who manage so efficiently to get leaders for the extensive programme offered. It is good that we can provide so many competent leaders to take charge of groups to explore so many Leicestershire’s footpaths.

We can be pleased with the success so far of our Country Parks Walks book, which finally made it into print in June. My report last year was written when prospects were poor, and I certainly went through many nail-biting moments about publication but we can now report that the book has been well printed, well circulated, well received, well reviewed and well sold, thanks to the hard work of so many people.

The Thursday group members volunteered to take responsibility for publishing decisions and they visited Cordee Press, accompanied by Jennifer McG (as minutes secretary) and Peter as Chairman, to discover what actions were necessary and at what price we thought the book should sell. We agreed that £7.99p was a reasonable price for a book of this quality, to cover our costs. Jim G produced flyers for advertising and arranged for permission for reproduction of Ordnance Survey maps and for the use of their logo, as well as that of County Hall on the cover of the book. He also arranged for the bar code to appear and for the initial delivery of books to be stored temporarily in a warehouse.

Cordee agreed to act as wholesaler and to sell the book through bookshops and the internet while we sold through personal contacts, small outlet shops, post offices, garden centres and Country Parks, libraries and museums. Thanks to walk organisers and our walking members, we have sold a very large number. Special thanks to those members who have taken boxes of books to sell at local outlets (Ken B, Rosie C, Heather M, Christine S, Jennifer McG) and to those who have sold multiple copies to friends and family. This has made a significant reduction in the pile of boxes stored in the disused chimney breast in my office…but please can we have more volunteers to take the rest of the boxes? (It may be some time before we can sell the remaining copies)

We can, I think, take pride in the book and in the concept of encouraging people young and old to begin walking our well kept paths (and expand into walks further afield). Our Treasurer, can tell you how well we have done so far at recuperating costs, and paying for the necessary outlay expenses.
Thanks to all of you who have contributed to our enjoyment of our year’s walking.

Heather MacD.
Chairman’s remarks

This year seems to have passed me by without leaving any highlight to hang my boots on. Perhaps because all has been well and we have walked and walked and….

Unfortunately I realise I have failed to keep last years resolution to walk at least once with each group. I did lead twice on a Saturday and as a result met Ken Wadd who has recently died. He was not walking but was waiting with Martin at a point where we crossed a road. It was a nice encounter and showed a great determination by him not to lose interest in the LFA after over 60 years. A wonderful achievement – he will be missed.

The Wednesday group have started to do a 7/8 mile walk as an extra to the regular 5/6 miles. Initially we tested one a month which was a great success. The winter programme includes more and the next programme should have them fortnightly as they have established a good following. Our thanks go to Ray D for being Wednesday ramblers’ organiser for several years. He has done well and can now relax whilst Roger Whittle finds our leaders.

The LFA’s membership continues to grow and each walk seems to attract more walkers. This can cause a problem in selecting a pub as they can be overwhelmed if our group is larger than we implied at the time of the booking.
I had hoped during my term as Chairman to harmonise the programme format and convince our Tuesday group to list the starting point. They are still unwilling to do this after voting among their leaders so it will be left to my successor to continue to try and persuade them.

I suppose in financial terms the arrival of the Country walks book was the highlight I was looking for. Thanks to all who grasped the nettle and distributed them to our members and likely sales points. This was a great achievement with over 1000 sales.

Finally I must tell you how much I have enjoyed the last three years as your Chairman. Mainly because we have a wonderful committee who do the work entrusted to them and always attend meetings with a smile. These meetings are usually shorter than we allow time for and we leave knowing that the LFA is safe. Next year it will be interesting to see the extent of the Council cuts. Times are changing, departmental responsibility for footpaths is moving to Highways. I expect we will notice more after April when their new financial year starts. This will be a challenge. I wish my successor, together with all members, healthy walking in 2011.
Peter B
Secretary’s Report

I can report your committee has met on eight occasions throughout the year at Thurnby United Reform Church with good attendance. Many alterations to the footpath system have been considered, some controversial and others not so.

Travel, Choice and Access
You would be wrong in thinking this was an invitation to visit some foreign resort. Following a budget review of departments at County Hall, the above descriptive title is now the department responsible among other things for looking after rights of way in our County. The head of the department is Mr. Ian V and Eddie McW is dealing with rights of way. The budget for 2011 has not yet been determined but is bound to be cut and time will tell what effect this will have on the maintenance of rights of way in our County.

We are older than we thought!
Martin Wadd raised in correspondence with our Chairman the question of our foundation date. It was quite clear and recorded in “The Well Trodden Path”, page 9, the first meeting was held on the 9th July, 1886 and therefore this must be when our Association came into existence. There will be a 125th anniversary walk organised on Saturday, 9th July, 2011.

Wind farms
Wind farm developments have also been considered by your committee and where appropriate, representations have been made where the enjoyment of rights of way would be affected. In particular proposed sites near to Bottesford, Old Dalby, Queniborough and the old Asfordy Mine have been monitored during their course through planning application procedures. The Bottesford and Queniborough applications were refused, likewise at the Old Airfield at Market Harborough where three 410 ft turbines had been proposed. Melton Borough Council have given approval for a nine turbine wind farm near the A46 close to Old Dalby. The proposal is to build nine 259 feet turbines. Do not therefore be surprised in the coming years to see turbines in our countryside whilst on some walks.

Croft Quarry – review of mineral planning permission
The Association submitted the following representations: “Our Association are generally satisfied with the current quarry operations at Croft and are pleased with the artificial hill nearer Huncote and its screening and the nature reserve to the North of the hill and access provided.
It is realised this present application relates to a review of the quarry operations but in the long term we are anxious for the appropriate protection be given to access rights at Croft Hill. Footpath V67 which leaves the Fosse Way and links to the sidings at Croft is used by our Association from time to time and its retention is welcomed.”Croft Hill is approximately 128 metres high and is five miles from High Cross. Good views are afforded towards Leicester in the East and Hinckley to the West.

Rights of way at Huit Farm, Earl Shilton.
A section of Breach Lane which leads to the farm is not recorded on the definitive map of rights of way. Leicestershire County Council have asked ourselves and the Ramblers Association and the Bridleways Association to make claims for this to be rectified. However, user evidence has been hard to come by. Jenny B has very kindly completed a user form as has also a Mr. Freer of Earl Shilton. However, their use relates to foot passage only and does not deal with other rights such as vehicle traffic and horse riding. Vicky A of the Bridleways Association is making inquiries of their members and it is hoped a claim will be made in due course. When I walked Breach Lane, there were no notices indicating it was a private drive and it does seem there is ample evidence to claim rights of way on foot based on past usage. Saturday walkers used the lane on the 16th October.

Sponsored walks.
These type of events have proved very popular over many years now and monies raised are very valuable additions to the funds of charities. The Association were contacted by LASS (Responding to the challenges of HIV & AIDS) for assistance in planning routes for a fund raising event on the 31st July. I attended their headquarters
at the Michael Wood Centre on Regent Road and four walks of varying length were plotted from the “Wheel Inn” at Rearsby. It is hoped the satisfaction from doing walks in this way will lead to more members of the public exploring and enjoying our rights of way system.

Walking festivals
A walk for the National Forest Walking festival was arranged from Markfield on 22nd May when lovely weather helped to make this a memorable occasion. Seventeen people supported the walk and new contacts were made with members of the public. Later in the year it was reported in the Leicester Mercury, the National Forest are facing £160,000 budget cut this year because of Government cuts. It was announced in October the National Forest Company escaped the funding axe. Some 120 people are employed by the National Company in Moira. Let us hope this will now see the aim of converting one third of the land within the boundaries to wood completed and make the National Forest an important recreational area.
I attended with my wife and Heather at the launch of the Leicestershire Walking week on the 17th August, and a short health-boosting walk round King Lear’s Lake was organised. Rosemary C, Peter O, (County Council Chairman) and the Lord Mayor of Leicester supported the launch.
Heather led a Saturday walk from Markfield on the 4th September and this attracted five people.

Ashby Canal.
Many members will have enjoyed walks organised along our canals and you may be aware of the attempts by the Ashby Canal Association to complete the missing link from Snarestone to Moira Furnace. Some 44 years ago this section was closed due to subsidence. On the 5th August a small extension to the Pumping Station was filled with water. It is considered by your committee to be an excellent project which will benefit us on walks in that area and therefore a contribution to the cost of restoration has been approved from our funds in the amount of £100.00p.

New permissive bridleway at Lyddington
For those members who like to explore new walks then this may interest you but the access agreement ends on the 20th September, 2014. The agreement is between Lyddington farmers T.W. Brown & Sons with Natural England. The route commences at the South of the village adjacent to where the Rutland Round leaves the village in a Southerly direction. The circular route is 2.7 miles and there should be a notice board on site describing the route.
For other permissive access in Leicestershire and Rutland type in Google search engine http://cwr.naturalengland.org.uk/ and look for Educational access sites – defra UK – rural affairs.

Glen Parva Local Nature Reserve
Blaby District Council have declared that land containing 11 hectares situated at Glen Parva has been created a nature reserve under Section 16 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, 1949. This will ensure protection for the public to enjoy and can be approached from entry points at Needham Avenue, The Bridle and Glen Rise. The old Great Central Railway line and a Sustrans cycle route are partly encompassed within the reserve.

Leicestershire Access Forum Meeting – 23rd November.
Clive F and myself attended this meeting and met the Chairman Roy D. The Forum discusses rights of way issues among other factors affecting the countryside and has representatives from local organisations from within the County as members.
Particular matters discussed affecting rights of way were stiles that had replaced kissing gates on a crossing of the railway line by public footpath close to Frisby on the Wreake. It was agreed kissing gates were safer than stiles at such crossing and therefore were preferred and Network Rail would be so advised.
Stewardship schemes organised by Natural England will run their course but will not be renewed because of financial restraints. This was considered to be a loss to walkers, horse riders and cyclists in the Countryside.
Interestingly, a member of the British Mountaineering Council had attended the meeting seeking support in the opening up of old quarries to members of the public for recreational use such as climbing, walking, running and creating natures reserves. There is abundance of old quarries in Leicestershire. Whilst welcoming this type of initiative the forum members recognised difficulties in convincing landowners this would be a good idea.

Bulls On Public Footpaths
The legal position is covered by Section 59 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 which makes it an offence, subject to important exceptions, for the occupier of a field crossed by a right of way to cause or allow a bull to be at large in it. The exceptions are:-
a) bulls not more than ten months old, and
b) bulls which are not of a recognised dairy breed and which are at large with cows or heifers.
Dairy breeds are Ayrshire, British Friesian, British Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey, and Kerry.
Any bull over the age of ten months is prohibited on its own, and any such bull of a recognised dairy breed is prohibited even if accompanied by cows or heifers.
Generally speaking it is the dairy bulls which are the most aggressive and hence excluded. Beef bulls are less aggressive but must not be under estimated.
The full circumstances of the tragedy at Stanford on Soar have yet to be determined. The attack by a bull on a member of the public is rare but where a bull appears in a field it is important to recognise the possibility of risk and proceed with care. If in doubt, turn back or if possible a slight diversion can be done, then proceed in that way.
Statistics supplied to our Association by the National Farmer’s Union confirm on average, two people each year were killed by bulls.

Diversions and Closures Report


Your committee has considered thirty-eight applications for diversions and closures of rights of way. Many are small alterations to the rights of way and are non-contentious. However, in the following cases, objections or representations have been made to the order making authority.

Addition of footpath N108 Off St. George’s Hill, Swannington and extinguishment Of footpath N28.
There was also an application to divert part of footpath N28 but the Association’s efforts were concentrated on adding footpath N108 and written evidence was submitted in support of use of the footpath over the last thirty years. There then followed a two day hearing in February before an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment.
The applicant owner had acquired number 65, St. George’s Hill but following difficulties with path users had erected an electric fence at the entrance to his drive thus preventing access to the claimed footpath. N108 had been used by local people and rambling clubs for many years but on a slightly different route than was recorded on the definitive map of rights of way.
The Inspector confirmed the existence of the footpath with a small amendment. Therefore access will continue as before along the driveway of number 65, St. George’s Hill. The application to divert N28 failed because of the unsuitability for users of the suggested diversionary route.

Diversion of bridleway K57 at Pocket Gate Cottage, Woodhouse Eaves.
Application to divert this right of way commenced in 2005 and resulted in a failed Public Inquiry in 2007. Subsequently a further application has now been made to divert the bridleway in the interests of the landowner. Our Association, together with Woodhouse Eaves Parish Council, Bridleways Association and local people have maintained our objection to this diversion because we are satisfied there is a health and safety issue in relation to the diverted route suggested. The route takes users close to the bank of a stream and between a garage and the width of three metres is not sufficient in these circumstances for users to pass safely at this particular point.

Proposed Gating Orders on the Little Hill Estate, Wigston.
In 2006 our Association were consulted over proposals to make Gating Orders at Georgeham Close to Ambler Close, Crowan Drive to Kevern Close and Bodenham Close to Wellhouse Close on the Little Hill Estate under Section 129A of the Highways Act, 1980. Such orders were deemed necessary to curb anti-social behaviour, vandalism and hooliganism following complaints by local residents. In January 2010 formal notices were published whereby twenty-four hour closure orders were sought in respect of these connecting footpaths. A statement has been sent to the Local Authority opposing these orders as being too draconian. Such orders if necessary should be kept to a minimum and mirror
those days of the week and times when anti social behaviour or criminal behaviour has taken place.
At a meeting of the Development Control and Regulatory Board at County Hall in November, members approved a twenty-four hour, seven days a week order in respect of the footpath between Crowan Drive and Kevern Close only. The Council are required to review this from time to time.

Proposed extinguishment of footpath R91(Part) Glebe Farm, Lindridge Farm, Desford
This application came from the owner of the farm who was suggesting this footpath did not link to other rights of way on the Western side of Lindridge Lane and is not therefore needed by the public. It was also considered by the owner that pedestrians were unlikely to choose to walk alongside the carriageway of Lindridge Lane which is a narrow road with no pavement for the majority of its length.
Our Association have used this section of footpath and from further inquiries made of local people it would seem this footpath is used regularly by residents and a local walking group. In view of these facts notification has been sent to the Local Authority of our intention to object to such extinguishment.
In November an application was considered and approved to divert the footpath out of the farm yard to be moved further to the south east of the farm.

Addition of public footpath X58 from Wimbourne Road to footpath Z6 at Oadby.
Our Association were first consulted over this matter in June 2003. In April, 2008 County Hall, advised us the application is supported by evidence that the route has been used uninterrupted and without challenge by the public for more than twenty years. The addition proceeds Eastwards from Wimbourne Road and then between the Squash Club and Club House and then links Z6 just South of Palmerston Way (A563). Chris A of our Association had completed a user form. A public inquiry has now been arranged for Wednesday, 12th of January 2011.

Footpath W29 – The Pastures, Narborough – Conversion of footpath to shared cycle use.
Reference was made in last year’s Annual Report to these proposals. Local residents were most unhappy over these proposals and made objections to the order being made. The Leicestershire County Council advised in January 2010, the Order will not be made.

Treasurer’s Report

2010 was of course the launch of the Country Park Walks Book. Heather has not only produced the book but has also been the main advocate for the marketing, so much so that we have recouped a majority of the costs. It was never meant to be a profitable exercise and so we can feel very pleased with the early results. Congratulations Heather.

The accounts this year, therefore, show a deficit of £1150.20p but we still have a healthy Bank balance of £8531.44.

Individual membership stands at a healthy 300 members (21 members failed to renew their subs for various reasons) and 54 Parish Councils (4 not paid)

206 members subscribe to Gift Aid Scheme (the more the merrier – please contact me if you are a tax payer and do not presently subscribe)

Sales of the Leicestershire Round badges have increased.

Membership subscriptions still remain at £5 – fantastic value for money in this day and age.
Jane D
Obstruction Officer’s report

During 2010 the number of reports received from members concerning problems on rights of way has recovered from the low point of 2009. However, this is still much lower than numbers received say about ten years ago. In last year’s report, I went to some length to surmise what the reasons might be for this. I am now sure this is mostly due to the more active response by County Hall in recent years to the reports of our members and those reports by other walking groups and individuals.

The political scene has changed radically since last May and the drive to reduce the government’s deficit will have its effect at County Hall. I do not know the details of what is to come but spending budgets will be cut and I do not see much hope that the ROW budget will escape which will surely mean a reduction in the funds available to put ROW problems right.

In other parts of the country as examples – An entire ROW team is being made redundant – a ROW budget is being cut from between 50% and 75% this year – Over three years there will be an 85% cut in the ROW budget.

At the time of our next AGM we will know what is happening in Leicestershire and hopefully we can work out how to respond to changes in the ROW budget and what we need to do to support keeping the rights of way in a satisfactory state to walk. Maybe we should carry secateurs with us on our walks. Certain footpaths could quickly become virtually impassable.

We have rights of passage on rights of way entrenched in law and until these laws are repealed (which I think is most unlikely) we should do our utmost to use and maintain these rights.

It is my belief if we keep on reporting problems, this will keep the pressure on County Hall such that they cannot be ignored. So keep your reports rolling in and I will send them on to County Hall. However, I think it is likely putting problems right will take even longer in the future.

Finally our thanks should be given to those who have provided such helpful support, during 2010 and before, from the Rights of Way department at County Hall and also to the Highways Inspectors who go out and look at the problems on the ground. Although this organisation might well be recognised to become more efficient, it would be a shame if it were to be made so dysfunctional that the requirement to keep rights of way open becomes impaired.
Clive F
Webmaster’s Report

The Leicestershire Footpath Association is an organisation that is open for anyone to join. While we do welcome new members introduced by existing members it is important that we take steps to welcome the wider public to join us and one way of achieving this is through our web site. We therefore need to provide factual information about our activities and this is done by making the annual report, newsletters and perhaps most importantly the programme of walks available for potential new members to peruse before taking the plunge to make contact. Having taken a look over the site I realise that I need to improve its visual appeal. You will be well aware that I don’t get out on many walks, but when I do I try to take some pictures, but I need more. I invite you please to submit pictures with captions or even a short piece about the group enjoying a great walk. The site is getting a steady flow of visitors on average five a day, not a huge number but these could be five people who now know something of our activities who didn’t before they clicked on
https://leicestershirefootpaths.wordpress.com/ When did you last click?
Ken B
Monday evening walks

2010 saw more evening walks and generally higher numbers, averaging in the high teens. The record was at Countesthorpe, when there were about 8 present with ten minutes to go, but walkers kept coming from all directions, so that we finished with 29. Several new members have joined through the evening walks and we now have a smallish core walking regularly. Others have done individual walks for a variety of reasons: the walk being nearer their home, the weather being particularly nice, not being able to walk on their usual day that week. So it’s a chance to come along and meet other LFA members who don’t walk on ‘your’ day – and there will be more opportunities to do so this year as the walks will be weekly. Watch out for Summer walks 2011, starting on Monday 9th May!

Tuesday walks

The Tuesday group are still going strong with a good number of walkers every week. We have some new members who are now taking on the challenge of leading and doing a very good job. Our walks have been very enjoyable and varied. We have covered all areas of the County and only repeated two pubs. Well done and thanks to all the leaders.
Our most spectacular walk was from Thurcaston, December 7th, Leader John R. The fabulous hoare frost made for a winter wonderland.
A special thank you to John J for a super coach ramble to Malvern in August. Thanks also to Eric and Colin for their help. We are looking for a volunteer to organise next years coach ramble. May be a few people could get together to do this. Please think about it because it would be a pity to lose a good social occasion.
This Christmas we have collected £90 for the Air Ambulance instead of buying cards. Many thanks to John J for organising the Christmas lunch walk when 46 of us sat down at the Bosworth Hall Hotel for a most enjoyable meal.
Jenny T
Wednesday walks

The year started cold and finished cold, but we still had a good share of fine Wednesdays. Last year where an above average of accidents happened, illness and various operations took place, this year was more uneventful.
We still have the problem of pubs closing down making a last minute change of venue. This happened three or four times during the year, a sign of the times.
Average number of walkers are around twenty-five.
The new initiative of having longer walks on some Wednesdays has proved successful.
Ray D
Thursday walks

Until December, which was phenomenal to say the least, we have been extremely lucky with the weather contributing to us enjoying many glorious walks. Leicestershire, I’m sure you will agree, really is a surprisingly beautiful county. Our Numbers rarely fell below 10 and quite often considerably exceeded that total. The Leadership is widely shared amongst the members. We have tried to spread our walks over many parts of Leicestershire and, on one or two occasions, into Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire and this has enabled us to enjoy a broad cross-section of the area. However, with petrol prices rising, our wings may well be partially clipped in the future!
You may or may not be interested to know that all of us from the Thursday group who embarked on the Leicestershire Round last year successfully completed the venture and are soon to start on the Ivanhoe Way.
Here’s to another joyful year of walking to you all.
Judy P-A.
Saturday walks

The Saturday walks have been well supported during the last six months. Our numbers have improved with up to 15 walkers taking part. During the Summer we joined up with the Loughborough Ramblers and enjoyed excellent walks in all four corners of the county. On the 9th July 2011 there will be a short walk organised for the 125th anniversary of the LFA. Our walks vary in length from 5.5 to 10 miles so there is something for everyone.
Vanessa M
October Weekend

Sixteen members were present at Makenley Hall Hotel, Derbyshire for the October weekend, Friday 8th to Sunday 10th.
Two walks were arranged. Saturday was fine for the eight mile walk which took us through Belper, taking time to enjoy the scenery. After a leisurely lunch break we wound our way down from a high ridge back to Makenley. Dinner at night was excellent. Sunday dawned bright with some sunshine and a six mile walk from the hotel was accomplished with some effort, it being quite hilly.
Everyone expressed satisfaction with the arrangements and enquiries about 2011 were made. I will try to satisfy these expectations.
Tim W
In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we have received news that Ken Wadd, our oldest walking member has died. We have felt honoured to have his support over such a long time and pleased that he was able to join us for a couple of fields on Saturday walks until very recently, in his 94th year.
We have shared his and Kath’s landmark wedding anniversaries and birthday celebrations over the years when they were in their 70s, 80s, and 90s and it has become an established LFA tradition to be greeted on walks with a ‘Wadds Special’ portable birthday and wedding anniversary picnic. We shall miss him and send our condolences to Kath, Martin and Madeleine.


Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at the Evangelical Baptist Church, Woodhouse Eaves at 10.15 am on Saturday February 28th, 2010.

 Seventy four people attended the meeting and apologies had been received from at least 15 members. Heather welcomed everyone. She explained that the agenda had been altered so that Andrew Poole would be speaking at the end of the meeting. She also explained that she would be leading a short walk after lunch and invited everyone to join in even if they only completed the first section.
 Our Chairman Peter Butt then welcomed everyone and said how much he had enjoyed his second year in office. The Minutes of the last AGM, which had been circulated by inclusion at the back of the Annual Report, were accepted as a true record of the meeting and there were no matters arising from these minutes.
 All four Officers then spoke to underline the comments that they had made in their published reports in the Annual Report 2010. Jane D explained that she had produced an amended balance sheet as the one printed in the Report was not correct. This was due to Jane making adjustments concerning the recording of National Savings Bank interest received in 2009 of £204.56p, donation to LCC for waymarking (£300) and (£1500) transferred to Nat. Savings Bank Account. Thanks were made to all the people who organise and arranged the walks and put the programme together.
 As all the Officers had agreed to stand again a block vote was taken and all were re-elected. Our Chairman reminded the meeting that under the terms of our constitution he only has one more year to serve and we need to think about his successor. No one has come for ward to fill the vacant post of Social Secretary and we are still hoping to fill this post. No other new committee members were proposed.
 It was agreed that the Association would continue to subscribe to Ramblers, Open Spaces and the Woodland Trust and that we would make our contribution to the Air Ambulance a regular one too.
 A.O.B. There was a discussion about procedure in the event of bad weather. Some people felt that there should be a more definite plan of action if there is ice and snow on the morning of the walk. It was explained that a walk leader should make his own decision about cancelling if he felt walking (and driving) would be inadvisable. The groups do seem to be too large for any kind of telephone chain to be set up, although the Thursday group are all linked by email. It is really up to each individual to do what he feels is best in the circumstances.

There was a question from the floor about why we had such a large bank balance and this was answered by Heather’s report on the progress of her book. Although we had hoped that this would be ready by Easter this does not seem likely. Much progress has been made however and the main work now is being done by County Hall adding the maps and highlighting the routes and inserting references to the text. We will be spending about £5000 for 3000 copies and are now looking for someone who can handle the sales and money possibly with the help of a sub-committee. A price will need to be decided upon which will cover our expenditure remembering that we are a non profit making association.

John J has arranged a coach ramble for August 3rd 2010 to the Malvern Hills.
The formal part of the meeting closed at 11 am and the next hour was taken up with a most informative and interesting presentation by Andrew Poole from the Leicestershire County Council. This was a very detailed report about the changes which he is proposing to be able to make to the Leicestershire Round. He has been working closely with the LFA Committee and this was the first time that these proposals have been made public.
Lunch followed at 12 and Andrew made himself available then and at the walk in the afternoon for individual discussions with members on the suggested improvements to the Leicestershire Round. The morning closed with thanks to everyone who had been involved in the organisation of an excellent meeting.

Annual report for 2009

February 20, 2010

President’s Preamble

Last year began badly, as far as I was concerned.  My faith in the legal system was sadly dented with the news that we had lost our appeal for paths around Belvoir.  Fortunately the work involved in the production of the book of walks proposed at the AGM took my mind off my disappointment.  When I made the suggestion that I could resuscitate a book I had prepared, but not published, ten years previously, it was in response to the request for ideas for spending some of our money on projects that fitted in with our Charitable status.  I really didn’t envisage such enthusiastic agreement, nor did I realise what work would be involved!  I can now say with Mrs Beeton: “I must frankly own, that if I had known, beforehand, that this book would have cost me the labour which it has, I should never have been courageous enough to commence it”.

The trouble began when I discovered after a laborious search through old computer files that my script only existed in a paper print out, that the files had long been lost on an old computer and that the back up floppy discs were useless on its replacement.  It was then a case of LCC to the rescue!  The Rights of Way department have been very supportive of the project and when they were told of the problem offered the use of their OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to scan my copy and get it back onto my computer (not as easy as it sounds as you lose all formatting in the process).  As soon as the text was in a readable state, 20 pairs of volunteers were recruited to foolproof the text. They all returned their scripts by the allotted date.  Well done, foolproofers’!

It was interesting to see the changes that have occurred over the last ten years (awkward stiles had become metal hand gates, views had changed with plantations of trees in the National Forest, new surfaced paths had been laid, way marks had been added and in at least one case, a road had been built across the path).  The text has been amended to take account of these changes.

We have contacted the publisher (of our “Well Trodden” path book) and have received a printing estimate.  A book something like the size of the Leicestershire Round with a clear and readable font required a great deal of editing and cutting and space had to be left for maps and pictures.  Jennifer and I recently had a very busy day proof reading and the text is now ready.  We have applied for an OS licence for maps and the Rights of Way department has offered assistance for overdrawing and numbering our routes.  Hopefully, they will also provide us with the cover.  We are now waiting for this to be arranged. 

The next stage will be up to you.  We will need someone to organise a group for selling and distributing the book, as we want to keep prices down by working through local small shops and garden centres etc.  Cordee and County Council will help with their outlets.  Fingers crossed that we can get the book out into shops by Easter 2010.

Your committee has been busy keeping the home fires burning.  Some of the team have been working despite difficulties.  Clive has been struggling with his health and we are grateful for his continued work on obstructions.  It was sad that Tim was not able to join in the lovely walks he had planned for his arranged weekend near Kenilworth.  We were all grateful to Brian and Glenyss for stepping into that breach.  We have been fortunate in having Vanessa and Jane as additions to our team.  You can see from the following report how much work is done by members in running the association, but I would also like to thank also those ‘behind the scenes’ people who play their part in helping preserve our footpaths. 

Heather MacDermid.

Chairman’s remarks

My second year as Chairman has been notable for the injuries sustained by our members.

Many did not happen in the field but in the home – proving just how dangerous our homes can be.  We wish all who have suffered injury or had an operation a speedy recovery and return to full mobility.

This leads me to remind you about the first-aid course that Roger advertised in the winter walk programme.  Unfortunately after 17 members expressed interest only four people signed up to do the course.  This was too few to run it and the plug was pulled.  It was a shame as not only had a lot of work been put into arranging it but the LFA had offered to contribute to keep our costs reasonable.  I feel strongly that we should have a body of First-Aiders in our midst.  Hopefully we can try again another year. 

We have worked with Andrew P from the LCC to fix new “way-markers” along The Round.  This task was organised by Roger (ITMA) in 15/16 mile stretches and carried out by Brian, Glenyss, Roger and myself.  If you notice any unmarked posts whilst out walking The Round, please draw them to our attention. 

We have been talking to Andrew P regarding amendments to The Round’s route.  In its 25 years existence things have changed in many places.  Mountsorrel has a very busy by-pass and a new housing estate.  The A46 by Ratcliffe College is dangerous to cross.  Rutland removed all the markers although they should be back by now.  Other parts are in need of change for a variety of reasons.  This will not happen instantly but it is hoped our discussions will be finalised by 2010/11.

Heather has been actively working on her new project but I will leave her to explain all.  We hope to see the results about Easter time.

On a serious note it has been observed that on some occasions we do not always ensure that we stay together in the crocodile we often become.  Please watch when changing direction that those following you realise where you are going.  Having a back marker is essential but only fully effective if every one is following the leader. 

My thanks to all who have walked, the leaders of the walks, the programme organisers and Roger (ITMA) who collated and arranged the printing.  My thanks go also to your committee.  We meet every 6 weeks for less than 2 hours to ensure that the LFA runs smoothly, aspiring to be the leading local walking group.  Just a random thought whilst enjoying a brandy after a Christmas meal: the LFA members walked collectively a distance equal to going round the Equator during 2009.

Best wishes to all members for 2010 – Let’s hope it’s a good walking year.

Peter B

Secretary’s report

I am pleased to report your committee has met on eight occasions throughout the year at Thurnby United Reform Church with good attendance.  We have considered many alterations to the footpath network albeit of a minor nature, insurance cover for seats in the countryside, walking festivals, cycle tracks, wind farms, dogs and cattle in the countryside.  Let me start by mentioning “Arthur’s seat” which was erected in 2008 on Stafford Bank, near Fearn Farm in memory of Arthur Hopson.  An issue has arisen over who would be responsible for any injury caused to farm stock or persons using the seat. It has been agreed to arrange for an annual inspection of the seat to be made with a view to ascertaining its condition as two of our members erected the structure. 

Leicestershire Walking festival

Your Association was active in supporting this festival held from 19th to the 27th September.  Two walks were arranged, one for the first Saturday and the other for a Thursday.  The average attendance on all walks (79 advertised) was 14 per walk.  The nine days of available walks provided greater opportunity for the public to participate than the single day festival held in 2008.

Plans are now being made for the 2010 festival to be held in June.  This will allow for more use to be made of evening walks.  Your committee discussed our further involvement limited to short walks based around families and people considered to be “novice” walkers, ie. those with little experience of walking through the countryside.  It is hoped by targeting such people they will become regular walkers in Leicestershire and in other parts of the country.

 National Forest Walking festival

Your Association was active in providing three walks during this festival held in May.

37 walks were arranged over 10 days ranging from 0.5 miles to 12 miles.  Average attendance per walk was 17.  Our walks were all arranged from Thornton in what has become a particularly attractive part of the National Forest to walk in. 

Cycle Tracks Act, 1984

In July your committee considered an application for the conversion of a footpath to shared use cycle track between Forest Road and King Edward Avenue, Narborough.

We raised no objection during the time limit allowed; nor did the Ramblers Association and the Parish Council.  However, later it became apparent local residents had objected.  Public notice in a local paper had been given and notices erected at each end of the right of way.

As a cycle track is not a category of a way required to be shown on a definitive map, the effect of converting a footpath so shown into a cycle track, is to require its removal from the Definitive Map.  However, Section 36 of the Highways Act, 1980 provides on conversion the cycle track becomes a highway maintainable at public expense.

Where only part of the width of the footpath has been converted (this was not the case at Narborough) there will be two distinct but adjacent ways; a cycle track and a footpath. 

The latest position is that this application is with the promoters of the order, together with all objections received within time.  A decision will now have to be made whether a public inquiry will be held taking into account the cost and time of such a hearing bearing in mind the number of local objections from residents.

Wind Farms

The need to generate more renewable energy has resulted in planning applications for wind farm developments.  Wind turbines do make a significant impact on the appearance of landscapes and should it be argued developers must be expected to demonstrate that it is in the least harmful of locations. 

Your committee discussed whether the Association need to adopt a policy on applications for wind farms.  It was decided each application must be looked at and judged on its merits and where turbine development will damage the enjoyment of a particular right of way an objection would be justified. 

The Secretary of State, John Denham, ruled on the 4th December, 2009 that a controversial development on farmland at Swinford, near Lutterworth should go ahead.

The benefits apparently out weigh the limited impact the wind turbines, each 410 feet high, would have on the local landscape.  A further development at Gartree is being considered by district council planners, and if approved, will see three, 410 feet turbines set up between Foxton and Lubenham. 

Dogs and Cattle in the countryside

Litigation in the High Court this year has resulted in a large award for damages granted to  a walker seriously injured when out walking accompanied by a dog. This decision I understand will be subject to an appeal by the farmer and the National Farmers Union.

You may have noticed increased notices displayed on gates and fences advising walkers accompanied by dogs when stock are in the field and for dogs to be kept on leads.  Your committee would remind all leaders of walks when walking through fields where cattle are grazing, especially with young calves to be extra vigilant and give wide berth to them.

Diversions and Closures

Your committee have considered twenty-five applications for modification of rights of way.

Members will be aware of our lost claim for new rights of way at Belvoir.  Unfortunately the evidence which had been obtained was not sufficiently persuasive for the Inspector conducting the hearing to make the necessary orders.  A further set-back followed, when a different Inspector allowed the diversion of a footpath at Newtown Linford (J97).  The inspector found the diversion was in the interests of the landowner and the new route comparable with the existing one. 

On a more positive note, I can report on the successful opening of a through route for what was a dead end footpath.  J95 ended at Sandhills Lodge in the Parishes of Newtown Linford and Ulverscroft.  There is now a through route linking Ulverscroft Lane.  A donation of £300 by our Association assisted with the way marking of the footpath.  Saturday walkers joined with members of the CHA walking club on the 17th October and completed a circular walk utilising this new addition to the footpath network. 

Continuing with more good news, I can report on a new footpath Z113 at Carlton Park. Narborough Parish Council applied for this right of way and provided sufficient evidence through users to convince an Inspector, members of the public had walked between “Black Pad” footpath and “Ten Pound Lane”.  Our Chairman, Martin and other members have now walked this new addition. 

Footpath N108(Part) and N28(Part), St. George’s Hill, Swannington.

A public inquiry has been arranged for the 23rd October, 2010 at Coalville, into four orders which have been applied for.  I have submitted a statement of evidence concerning past use by members of our Association when walks took us along this right of way.

The true line of N28 can not be walked and the public in general had walked a short way up the drive of No. 65 St. George’s Hill and then joined the footpath.  The new owner of No. 65 has applied for the diversion of the right of way.  The diversion application is made in the interest of the landowner who keeps horses and to improve the security of his property.

Addition of bridleway E353 at Wood Lane, Wardley.

In March the above bridleway was added to the definitive map.  This route provides a link between Wardley village and Wardley wood.  The maintenance of the route leaves much to be desired particularly in summer months.  However, I was very pleased to lead a Wednesday walk in October when this bridleway was combined into a circular walk from Sweet Hedges farm.

Footpath B95 at Pine stud farm, Goadby

In last year’s report I said objection had been lodged provisionally against the diversion of this footpath.  Following a site visit and inspection of the new route it became apparent there were visual benefits on the diversionary route.  Consequently our objection was withdrawn.  The new route is now open and this takes you to the East of the farm.  Saturday walkers on the 7th November walked the diverted route and were satisfied with the way marking and enjoyable views.

Unclassfied County Road (D107, North of King’s Lane and Restricted By-way D74A,

Borrough on the Hill.

On the 5th August, Melton Mowbray Magistrates’ Court confirmed the above orders.  Preliminary negotiations commenced over nine years ago in attempt to downgrade these two routes to bridleway status.  Heather MacDermid and Ken Brockway attended the hearing as observers and spoke with County Hall officials.  Our Association were content with both routes becoming  bridleways but do have concerns with horses having to cross open cultivated fields, particularly when the ground is saturated. 

Proposed diversion of footpath U50(Part) and proposed extinguishment of  U50A at Elmesthorpe. 

In 2001 preliminaries inquiries commenced in attempts to regularise the position of these two paths.  U50A is a dead end but U50 has been obstructed for many years.

The owners of Billington Rough farm have constructed a series of fishing lakes to the South of the farm obstructed the true line of U50.  The footpath at its commencement to the north, leaves Elmesthorpe Lane (No signpost) through the garden of a house, at its junction with Bridlepath Road.  A series of planning applications has further complicated the situation.

The latest proposals are to divert the footpath to the West of the farm and at the North end to move the footpath from the garden of the house, some distance to the East, in order for the path to become more direct.   Your committee have agreed to support these proposals and hopefully a clear defined route will become operational sometime in the future! 

Kellams Farm, Bardon – footpath O35(Part) 

On the 23rd October 2009, a further extension for five years was confirmed by order.  Re-instatement of the footpath along its original line cannot take place due to infilling of a void.

Members may be aware Bardon Aggregates are making proposals for the extension of the existing quarry eastwards.  A few members of the Association visited a display at Copt Oak village hall at the beginning of the year to look at the proposals and the Company’s intentions with regards to rights of way.  Generally these are acceptable but we have supported a request made by the Rambler’s Association for provision to be made for a car park near to Copt Oak so as to allow members of the public to park their cars when visiting this part of the County to walk.

Addition of Restricted By-way, Washdyke Lane, Kirby Bellars.

In 1999 our Association applied for the route between Washdyke Lane, Kirby Bellars to Sysonby Grange to be recorded on the definitive map as a By-way open to all traffic.  Legal objections resulted in this not progressing.  However, in April following discussion with County Hall legal section, it was agreed an application for a restricted by-way can now be processed.  Further consultation is now taking place with landowners, parish councils etc.

Addition of Bridleway D106 Melton Road to Sandy Lane, Burton Lazars.

Following a hearing on the 29th September, an Inspector has confirmed the addition of this route as a restricted By-way.  This now provides a useful link for users on an East to West line, just to the North of the disused Burton Lazars Leper hospital.

Brian Jenkinson

Obstruction Officer’s Report

During 2009 the number of our reports submitted to County Hall has fallen off compared to previous years to such an extent that numbers per month are now in low single figures.  In December there have been none, with only 30 in the full year plus a handful for paths in Notts. and Northants.

Whether this is due to their being nothing to report during our association’s walks or whether problems are easily avoided and thus deemed not worthy of reporting, is not clear.  In the early 2000’s during the early days of my tenure of office, figures of more than a 100 per year were common and there were 162 reports in 2002.  Of course this could be a compliment to our colleagues at County Hall in their response to our reports and to those sent in by others who walk rights of way.  The footpaths could have been improved to such an extent by their efforts that there are only a few problems to report.  The new gates must have helped and the campaign on crossfield paths has transformed many walks, but brambles and nettles still grow and other little used paths must be affected by these and other factors.

Just to remind members of the kinds of problems for which we are looking:-

  1.  Where the footpath is physically blocked, e.g. by crops such as oilseed rape and beans,   etc.
  2. Where the passage of the footpath is affected by safety considerations, eg. Unsafe stiles, steps on steep slopes in a bad condition, ploughed up headlands, aggressive animals, unsafe footbridges, quagmires etc.
  3. Problems with furniture of rights of way, e.g. finger posts, way marks, way mark posts, gates, bridges etc.

 Most of these problems can be resolved fairly quickly by reporting them to the rights of way department at County Hall who arrange for inspectors to check our reports on the ground.

The first two groups appear to get priority for attention.  The inspectors arrange with farmers to clear crop obstructions or place orders with sub-contractors to repair the furniture of the rights of way.  County Hall has a system whereby they remind farmers during the growing season that fields containing cross field paths will need to have paths cleared through their crops. 

The third group seem to have a lower priority for action but they do get resolved in time.

The most difficult obstructions to resolve that we come across, are where the right of way has been effectively closed to all but the intrepid and persistent walker.  The landowner is uncooperative to approaches by County Hall, so the issue can result in a legal dispute taking years to resolve.

It is most important to make reports when problems of all kinds are found because the volume of reports received is used in part, as a basis for assessing the budget allowance at County Hall for the maintenance of rights of way.  Both the political parties who are likely to form the next government after the forthcoming election are inferring that there will be cuts in local government expenditure.

Thank you to all those members who have made me aware of problems and please keep your problems coming during 2010.  It is much appreciated.  You can telephone me, send me a letter or email, or just tell when you see me.  However, I appreciate that I haven’t been around as much as I used to, because the recovery from my knee operation has taken at least as three times long as I expected.  I hope to be more visible soon.

 90% of reports come from current or ex-members of the committee.  Could we get more response from a wider proportion of our membership?

Finally our thanks should be given to those who provide such helpful support from the Rights of Way department at County Hall and also to the Highways Inspectors who go out and look at the problems on the ground.

 Clive

 Webmaster’s Report

The current web-site, hosted by the Leicestershire Mercury at http://beehive.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/default.asp?WCISiteHome&ID=15690 provides the wider world with information about our Association.  The home page comes top of a Google search for ‘Leicestershire Footpath Association’ and for some unexplained reason the ‘Arthur’s Seat’ page also shows as a link.  I do wonder if those searching for the more famous Arthur’s seat occasionally find themselves in Leicestershire.

You are welcome to submit material for inclusion on the site.  I’m very careful to ensure that full names and telephone numbers are not included.  Reports of walks, outings, social events and pictures are more than welcome. 

Unfortunately we have no way of knowing how many people visit our site only perhaps from new members who tell us they found us on the web and there have been some.  The site is very restrictive in how we display the material and allows only one picture per page, hence my efforts on montage.  There is also concern because ‘This is Leicestershire’ no longer allows new subscribers, they may cease to host the site and our presence will disappear. 

With this in mind, I have been looking at alternative sites and some time back put some of the information on a blog at https://leicestershirefootpaths.wordpress.com  

Ken Brockway.

 Treasurer’s Report

The funds continue to increase this year despite the donation of £100 to the AirAmbulance and a £300 contribution to the Leicestershire County Council way marking at Ulverscroft.

I have had a difficult 1st year as Treasurer, taking over part way through the year and having more family commitments than anticipated.  Therefore I have not as yet applied for the Gift Aid but will be doing so shortly.

Again the interest statement on the National Savings Investment Account has not yet arrived and will be too late to include in this year’s financial accounts.  It will be interesting to see how it compares with last year’s figure.

Membership now stands at 267 and new enquiries are arriving regularly.

Many thanks to Jim G for his help with the mail merge and also to the Thursday group for their co-operation with the ‘postings’.

Jane Dewes.

Saturday walks

The walks vary in length from 5.5m to 9 miles and generally finish in time for you to have the afternoon free.  Attendance inexplicably varies a lot from as few as three to ten walkers, so navigating stiles is not too time consuming.  In the 2010 programme there are several interesting walks planned with either morning coffee, afternoon tea or lunch included.  We are also joining forces with two other rambling groups on some Saturdays.

We hope to see new faces this coming season.

Tuesday walks – Long and Short

We have had a really good year with an average of thirty walkers each week on the short walks.

The weather on Tuesdays has been excellent with very little rain.  I would like to thank all the Leaders for their time and effort put into this task.  A special thank you to John J for a super coach ramble in August.

We had a collection for the Air Ambulance at our Christmas meal on 15th December and the magnificent sum of £100 was raised.  Many thanks.

Tuesday long walks is a smaller group of ten regular walkers who meet fortnightly.  They are very keen and enjoy their walks of ten miles and upwards.

Vanessa

Wednesday walks

Welcome to all new members who have joined us in 2009.  We now have around twenty plus on most Wednesdays.

It becomes harder to find complete new walks but we did find two or three including, Sweet Hedges Farm and Rutland Water.  We even had rain on a couple of Wednesdays!

It has been an eventful year for some of our members who sustained injuries on walks or at home. I am glad to report most have returned.  Best wishes to all.

Finally, once again many thanks to Janice and Roger for the mince pies and hot wine on 16th December walk.  Also congratulations to Chris A for completing the Coast to Coast walk and raising £4500.00p for LOROS.

Ray

Thursday walks

It has been an interesting year in many ways.  Our numbers have increased to an average of 8 walkers per week and sometimes it has risen considerably higher.  On one occasion we had 22!

Since the setting up of the Thursday group, we have all learned how to map-read and are now leading walks throughout the year.  This can, for me at least, feel rather daunting but with the knowledge that there is the support of others on the actual walk, makes the task less stressful.

A number of us from the group have embarked on undertaking the Leicestershire Round which we hope to complete by the end of April.  We meet once a fortnight on a Saturday morning and are thoroughly enjoying the experience, although we do not always have a full complement and so some stretches will need to be completed at other times by those who have missed them.  Needless to say, no one will do their missing stretch(es) without being accompanied by others in the group.

Evening WalksThe evening walks went well in the Summer months, helped by managing to choose five fine evenings.  The lowest number of walkers was 11, averaging 13.6 people plus 1 or 2 dogs.  They were spread around the county starting from Barkby, Burton Overy, Blaby,

Botcheston and Barrow-upon-Soar.  It has been decided to arrange a few more evening walks in 2010 to be held fortnightly commencing on Monday, 10th May.  Look out for them on the new programme.

Chris M

 Autumn Weekend

21 members assembled at the Holiley Court Hotel, Nr. Kenilworth for our Autumn break. 17 of whom walked on Saturday and Sunday, with Brian deputising as Leader.  Three crocks and myself, hired a taxi on the Saturday and spent the day in Kenilworth on a sight visit to the town and its Castle. The weather was reasonably good but Sunday dawned misty and damp.  All members expressed satisfaction with the accommodation and food at the hotel.

I have made provisional arrangements for a similar break in 2010.  Hopefully, I will be in a physical condition to complete arrangements!

Tim

Annual Report for 2008

February 20, 2009

President’s Preamble

2008 was another successful year for us! Our walking groups flourished and our committee organised our affairs satisfactorily under the able Chairmanship of Peter. A great deal of work fell on the shoulders of Brian, as can be detected from his report. At one point he was doing the work of rambles secretary and leading many of the Saturday walks, as well as performing his normal secretarial roles plus dealing with diversions and modifications. We have fortunately made life a little easier for him in acquiring Vanessa to take on the job of rambles secretary. She has already produced a programme for the summer and practically completed her list of leaders. (Check with her if you wish to volunteer)

Clive has continued to do marathon work in reporting obstructions and path problems despite his hospitalisations this year.

We were sorry to hear that Eric has felt obliged to resign as treasurer. He has been in post for three years and managed our affairs with great energy and commitment. Fortunately for us, Jane has expressed interest in taking on the role and he has been showing her the ropes. We welcome her and wish him well in his various commitments and for his residence in Ireland.

As well as producing our newsletter Ken has provided us with a very attractive website, and we hope he will continue to be our webmaster to keep us up to date and to keep newcomers informed about our past and present achievements.

We hope that the AGM will bring us a new social secretary to replace Judy!
We have always been fortunate in having committed members to work for the
Association and it is always pleasant to see new faces on the committee.

Geoff and Shirley are now retiring from their self imposed task of leading New Year’s Day walks. We have enjoyed the festive start with their mulled wine and mince pies for the last ten years, followed by walks in beautiful countryside, usually with perfect wintry weather. Many thanks to them. I wonder if we will find a successor!

My own activities have been centred on the Belvoir Public Enquiry. Regular readers of this column will know that the battle for four footpaths to link Harston in Leicestershire with Woolsthorpe by Belvoir has been going on since 1994. And this year progress of a sort has been made! We managed to bring the case to public enquiry in December. We won’t know the results for some time but we certainly did our best to put our case, against strong opposition from Lincs CC and Belvoir estates. I was very grateful for the tremendous support given by Ken and Brian and by Leicestershire County Council. It will be a matter for general jubilation if we can have these paths put on the map to fill in a black hole in our network of paths for public enjoyment. (Unfortunately the inspector dismissed the appeal and the paths remain private Ed.)

Heather

Chairman’s remarks

I find it difficult to believe that my year as Chairman is nearly over. It has been a most interesting year and mainly an easy one thanks to all members of the committee and the walk and programme organisers.
I have I regret, been absent recently on far too many occasions owing to a dodgy leg but I hope to recommence walking in January. For the majority of our membership the committee work is unknown and in an attempt to remedy this, the AGM will have instead of a guest speaker a sample of the normal activities discussed. I hope you will come to the AGM to give support and to learn some of the hidden activities of your association.

Peter

Secretary’s Report

As I write this report, we eagerly wait to receive the results of the Belvoir Inquiry and
another public inquiry held at County Hall involving a footpath at Newtown Linford. Our
Association were also active in a court case lasting three days at Leicester Magistrates’
Court in attempting to preserve foot and cycle passage over the Bowstring Bridge
(which spans Western Boulevard) in Leicester. Your committee have also considered
many applications involving diversions of rights of way and made our representations
to the appropriate bodies.
Your committee has met on eight occasions during the year with good attendance by
members.

Leicester Local Access Forum

I attended a seminar at County Hall on the 26th March on the topic “green routes for new
urban growth”. Four speakers addressed issues such as ‘green space for good health’, ‘new growth in green infrastructure’, ‘encouraging green exercise’ and ‘green routes for Leicestershire’.
It was clear much is being done to create and promote routes but what appears to be lacking is people regularly exercising on such routes. Polls show across the country only 12% of the population take advantage of exercising in natural environments. The most alarming statistic was 62% of people reported that they would not be motivated to exercise even if their life depended on it! In Leicestershire we have 1800 miles of rights of way. The
Creation of the National Forest, together with other established woodland areas in our County, has resulted in 18% of woodland cover. 94% of people live in urban areas and nearly half of the network of paths etc. are within 1km of where these people live.
Physical activity, walking in particular, could make a significant difference to the health of the nation.
The challenge is how to get people into the countryside to enjoy the environment. No one seemed to have the answer. One good suggestion was for destination, time and distance to be information given on the footpath sign post. Our Association have in the past supported such suggestion but this has not been taken forward by Local Authorities because of the cost involved.

Walking Festivals

The Leicestershire walking festival was held on the 5th July at Snibston Discovery Centre and Country Park in Coalville. Despite extensive publicity, overall attendance was considerably
lower than in 2007. Our Association did not lead a walk but I conducted a map reading exercise for a group of five.
At a review meeting held later in the year, changes have been suggested to the event; in particular to move it closer to Leicester and to spread walks over eight days with perhaps a
final multi activity day.
The National Forest walking festival was held in May. There were 37 walks over a 10 day period. Our Association have been asked to become involved in the 2009 festival and we will
be putting forward three walks for consideration utilising the days we already walk, suggested dates being 19th,20th and 23rd May.

Bishop Tim Stevens Lent Pilgrimage.

In February I was privileged to lead Bishop Tim on this pilgrimage visiting local parishes in the South of the County. The weather was very kind to us and where possible footpaths and bridleways were used in linking up the various villages which were visited. As part of the pilgrimage, calls were made at Gartree Prison and the Care Home at Shangton. The Pilgrimage received considerable publicity in the press and on local radio.

Changing Landscapes.

Major extensions to Breedon and Bardon quarries will affect the countryside to North/North East of both. At Breedon planning permission has already been granted and footpath M14 will need to be diverted and a section of Wilson Road will have to be re-routed. Upon completion of the workings it is intended that the land will be restored to a lake.

At Bardon, informal consultation has taken place with planning permission being applied for in 2009. I attended an exhibition at Copt Oak Village Hall on the 3rd of December to consider the implications for user access. The Quarry company are receptive to ideas and seem to be
willing to ensure walkers in this area will not be disadvantaged by their operations. If quarry permission is given for extraction of the granite then Old Rise Rocks farm will disappear off the map and the outcrop of Rise Rocks will also no longer be seen. The Association together with other walking bodies have made representations to the quarry company.

No decision has been made by the Government on the proposed Eco-town on Co-op land to the East of the Gartree Road. Leicester City Council are in favour of the proposal subject to there being a certain percentage of affordable housing. Leicestershire County Council will decide early in the New Year whether they will support or oppose this project.

On the brightside the National Forest goes from strength to strength. Each year new woodland is planted with many permissive paths some of which link with existing rights of way. New rights of way have been dedicated at the former Hicks Lodge Opencast site, at Donisthorpe and Moira. These consist of bridleways and footpaths over restored land with some lakes to attract bird life. Footpath P38 links Ashby Canal with Measham Road and a new link on the East side of Measham Road now makes it possible to walk through to the Hicks Lodge site with a new footpath number P107.

Dogs and walkers.

Members will be aware of the increase in dogs guarding properties in rural locations. This is all well and good providing they are subject to adequate control. Unfortunately two of our
members have had unsettling experiences in being attacked by Alsatian dogs. In the first instance, John was attacked by three such dogs on the public highway outside Fox Covert farm, Bagworth Heath. In the second, Jim was bitten by such a dog on the driveway approaching Skeffington Vale Farm. Both instances have been reported to the police and owners visited by them.

Bridleway I20, (Mountsorrel Level Crossing)

An emergency stopping up order is currently in force preventing users crossing the main Leicester to Lougborough railway line(s). This right of way is just South of Barrow Upon Soar. There are six lines at this point, two fast lines in both directions, two slow lines and two shunting lines. On the 12th June a train driver reported a ‘near miss’ involving
a pedestrian using the crossing. Fast trains on this line have a permitted speed of 110mph. Whistle boards are provided in advance of the crossing on the two sets of running lines in both directions, but they do not provide pedestrian users with sufficient warning time of
trains particularly on the fast lines.
Network rail have completed a risk assessment and have decided a ground level crossing must be replaced by an overhead crossing. However, as this is a bridleway planning permission needs to be sought for an overhead crossing. At the same time a diversion of the
route is also being considered.

Our Web site.

A suggestion from Martin at last years AGM concerning our Association details be placed on the world wide web has been taken forward by Ken, who is now known as the web-Master. It was left to the committee to implement the suggestion so with a bit of brain storming Chris directed us to the ‘This is Leicestershire’ site run by the Leicester Mercury. For those who know little or nothing about the operation of the world wide web (www) it is a huge network of linked computers which have information on them that anyone in the world can access. We therefore needed to find a computer that would host our information. The Mercury provides space for local groups to publish information about themselves and they do not charge us for the service.

We are aware that members are rightly cautious about personal details being made widely available so we have limited contact details to Brian (Secretary) and Eric (Treasurer and Membership Secretary). From past experience I have found it best to produce a site of interest to avoid the need for constant updates so information tends to be historical. We have not added the programme as this would require regular updating and to have been of any benefit would have needed consent to add leaders contact details.

We invite you to take a look at the site. If you don’t have a computer at home then call at your library and book a session on theirs. For real beginners the start is made easier by using a search engine (Google). Type in “Leicestershire Footpath Association” and our site will be in the list of pages displayed to you. Please offer us feedback, what you like, don’t like, what could be added, what should not be on the site. Please email any news, information or pictures to me and I will pass the material on to Ken to add to the site.

Diversions and Closures

In last year’s report mention was made of our objection together with other organisations to the diversion of the footpath at Barratt Mill, Ashby Woulds. The order making authority refused to support the application and therefore no alteration will now be made.

Heather and I attended the public inquiry to the proposed Diversion of footpath J97(Part) Off Ulverscroft Lane, Newtown Linford on the 10th December. The Inspector’s result is expected in the New Year. The committee has agreed for a presentation to be given
on this right of way at the AGM on the procedures involved in objecting to diversion applications.

Bowstring Bridge, Great Central Way, Leicester.

Together with other organisations we made objection to the closure of the footpath and cycle route across this bridge. Following a three day hearing at Leicester Magistrates’ Court the District Judge granted Leicester City Council’s application to stop up the Northern section of the Great Central Way. The Judge placed great emphasis on the fact that the way was a recreational route and not a highway maintainable at public expense. What he did say was “that the alternative route was mundane and not so attractive as the high level route over the bridge. There was a strong case for retention on historical and aesthetic grounds”

Public bridleway crossing near Manton, Rutland (E190)

Objection has been made to a proposal to divert the above bridleway near Manton. Whilst accepting it would be advantageous to horse riders it would be to the detriment of walkers. It was clear from inspecting the ground there was no evidence of horses using the section proposed for diversion. This was, in my opinion, mainly due to a steep bank which had
to be negotiated and only an accomplished horse rider would be able to do so. The suggested route of the diversion entailed a much longer walk and it was not as interesting as the present route.
Members will be aware of reported accidents involving loss of life and personal injury to the public on unmanned railway crossings. We will have to wait and see whether a formal application is made to divert.

Bridleway K57 at Pocket Gate Cottage, Woodhouse Eaves.

Objection remains to the diversion of the above bridleway where the owner wishes to move the bridleway to the other side of a garage. The order making authority have approved the application and your committee whilst accepting benefits for walkers believes there is a
health and safety issue. The diverted route would pass between the garage and a stream with a width only of 3 metres. We believe, horses, cyclists and walkers cannot safely be accommodated within the width suggested and this situation is very likely to lead to a
serious accident occurring.

Public footpath B95 at Goadby.

Informal objection has been made to divert this right of way either side of “Pine Tree Stud”. The footpath has become obstructed in places by fenced off area, a small fishing lake and a plantation. Whilst accepting a diversion is needed we believe it should be accommodated much nearer to the existing route than what is being proposed by the owners.

Footpath N108(Part) & N28(Part), St. George’s Hill, Swannington.

This footpath leaves St. George’s Hill between houses 63 &67. Technically the definitive line
of the footpath is blocked but users for many years walked up the drive of house number 65.
The relatively new owner of No. 65 obstructed users by the erection of a gate/barrier. This
resulted in a formal application to divert the footpath along the northern perimeter boundary of house no. 81. There then followed objections from local people, The Ramblers Association and the Parish Council and the County Council are now making enquiries into promoting an order along the route local people have walked for many years.

Carlton Park footpath

A public inquiry has now been arranged for evidence to be heard on the claim for the addition of a public footpath Z113 at Carlton Hayes, Narborough. This will take place on Wednesday,
15th April, 2009 at 10.00am at Sparkenhoe Committee Room, County Hall, Glenfield. If the claim is successful, a link will come into operation between “Black Pad” footpath and “Ten Pound Lane”. We are not directly involved with this claim but Narborough Parish Council and
local residents will give evidence in support of the case for a link.

Public footpath R33(Part) off Stanton Lane, Stanton-under-Bardon

WE were initially consulted about a proposed diversion of this footpath in September, 2003. Formal order was made this year. Formal objection was lodged to the order on the 12th June, 2008. The diversion in the opinion of your committee is not in the interests of walkers in view of the increased distance being proposed to walk along Stanton Lane. The Ramblers Association have also lodged objection and a public inquiry will need to be held.

Public footpath J95(Part) at Sandhills Lodge, Parishes of Newtown Linford and Ulverscroft.

This footpath is at present a dead-end route at Sandhills Lodge. In December 2003 an
imaginative proposal was received to link this footpath with J96. The order to formalise this was made in November 2006. Problems have since arisen over clearing the route and
funding for waymarking. Your committee in the New Year will be asked to see if the Association can become involved in perhaps some financial contribution towards way-marking so as to accelerate the opening of the through route.

Obstructions Report

As I commented 12 months ago, the number of reports concerning problems on footpaths had diminished in frequency compared to that I found when I started in 2002. In 2008 there was much the same volume of reporting.
I hope that the reason for this is that the efforts put in by County Hall in response to the reports by us and others such as the Ramblers Association is making a difference to the ‘walkability’ of our rights of way and not that members are not reporting problems they find.
As we regularly use the footpaths and bridleways network as part of our walks programme,
we are in a good situation to find footpath problems.

Your reports to me or directly to County Hall are essential in advising them of problems on our footpaths and bridleways. They rely on us and other network users to keep them informed.

Problems on rights of way can broadly be divided into three groups.
1. Where the footpath is physically blocked, e.g. by crops such as oilseed rape and beans etc., overgrown vegetation, building works, locked gates, barbed wire, electric fences, blocked footpaths, fallen trees, fences etc.
2. Where our passage of the footpath is affected by safety considerations, e.g. rickety stiles,
steps on steep slopes in a bad condition, ploughed up headlands, aggressive animals, dodgy footbridges, stepping stones etc.

3. Problems with the furniture of rights of way, e.g. finger posts, waymarks, waymark posts,
Stiles, gates, footbridges etc.

Most of these problems can be resolved fairly quickly by reporting them to the Rights of Way department at County Hall who arrange for inspectors to check our reports on the ground and recommend action.

The first two groups appear to get priority for attention. County Hall asks either farmers to clear crop obstructions or the Inspector to place orders with subcontractors to repair the right of way.

With respect to crop obstructions, County Hall reminds farmers during the growing season that fields containing cross field paths will need to have paths cleared through crops.

There are some obstructions which take a long time to clear where there is an uncooperative farmer or landowner. These can end up in a legal dispute which can take years to resolve. We do not have many of these situations in Leicestershire.
Currently there are three oustanding issues.
Footpath I98 at Gaddesby which ought to be resolved in 2009.
Footpath V112 at High Cross which is overgrown and meets the boundary of the A5 trunk road managed by the Highways Agency. There appears to be some uncertainty as to where the boundary is and thus who is responsible for clearing the overgrown path.
Footpath U50 at Elmesthorpe which should be resolved by a public inquiry in 2009.

Group three problems appear to be given a much lower priority, and are longer to clear up but do get sorted our eventually. This is probably due to the use of subcontractors, and the need to use them efficiently.
When I send in a report, I usually use County Hall’s website http://www.leics.gov.uk where there is an option to ‘Report a problem on a footpath’. If you use this to send in reports, then include your email address and you will receive an acknowledgement and a copy of your submission.
The advantage of this approach is that your report will be directed by ROW through County Hall’s computer network to the appropriate Highways Inspector. It is his function to go out and assess the problem and decide what action to take.
Because of the temporary problem with my right knee, I have not been able to carry out much
follow up after submitting a report, although group one reports naturally have momentum of their own.
I have been asked if I get replies to reports of action taken. Well mostly I do not, but my experience is that the majority of problems do get cleared up and I refer you back to my opening remarks.
You will be glad to know (I hope?) that I am steadily making progress from my knee operation and will soon be able to pick up problems myself again by going on association walks.

Thank you to all those members who have made me aware of problems and please keep your problems coming during 2009. It is much appreciated. You can telephone me, send me a letter or email, just tell when you see me or use the County Hall website.

One definition of an obstruction is if the clear and safe passage of the right of way is affected.
We help to keep rights of way open by walking them.
Finally our thanks should be given to those who provide such helpful support from the Rights of Way Department at County Hall, and also to the Highways Inspectors who go out and look at the problems on the ground.

Clive

Treasurer’s Report

The accounts for the year show an excess of income over expenditure of £546.31p and therefore the committee agree member’s subscription should remain at £5 for 2009. The interest for the investment account was not available in time for printing this report but should be in excess of £200.

Refunds from the Inland Revenue through Gift Aid boost our reserves and I urge any taxpayer
not taking part to ask the Treasurer for a form.

Membership now stands at 258 personal members including 28 new members and 58 Parish
Councils/Clubs.

Having served as Treasurer and Membership Secretary for three years I shall be handing over the job, at the AGM, to Jane I trust you will give her the support and encouragement that I have received, for which thank you. I spend a lot of my time in Belfast these days and do not feel I can keep up with the job as I would like. I shall continue in membership.
Eric

Evening walks.

The support given to evening walks by members has been disappointing and at last year’s AGM several members volunteered to lead a reduced programme. Committee member Chris has agreed to arrange five evening walks, all on Mondays in 2009. Please give your support to her efforts and make these successful.

Tuesday walks

The Tuesday short walks are going very well with numbers most weeks between 25 – 35. We did reach 40 plus in July.
I would like to thank the Tuesday leaders who have all done a great job. Thank you also to
Glenys for arranging our Christmas lunch at Cosby Golf Club. It was so good we have booked again for 2009. A collection was made for Rainbows Children’s Hospice instead of sending Christmas cards to each other.
We have been pleased to welcome new members this year who all seem very keen. Several have commented on how friendly the group is.
The Tuesday long walks are still enjoyed by smaller numbers of members and will continue fortnightly.
Jenny

Wednesday walks

I would just like to say a few words about leaders.
Most leaders like to be out in front and not to be over-taken by any one. Sometimes this does not happen, much to the annoyance of the leader.
Other leaders sometimes like to drift up and down the line talking to various people. Some still wait at every stile until the last person is over, while others may go 3 or 4 stiles before letting every-one catch up.
All these ways seem acceptable to me, so just respect who-ever is leading, and hope we don’t get lost.
May we welcome all new members who have joined us during this last programme. Weather-wise we had a couple days of rain on the Wednesdays and I put this down to climate change.
Ray

Thursday walks

We have continued to flourish. Numbers on walks have risen to a maximum of 11 (from the lows of two and three in our early days). At our Bring and Share lunch after the walk from Great Glen, we seated 12, with two apologies, around one member’s kitchen table!

We have decided that we can now consider ourselves to be competent enough to plan our own walks, so will be producing our own programme instead of being dependent on the Weds walk meeting places. We hope this gives even more choice of walks for everyone.
Heather

Saturday walks

Many thanks to those leaders who have given up their time in pre-walking and leading allocated walks. Short walks of up to six miles have been reasonably well supported. However, longer walks only seem to attract a half dozen or so of members with two exceptions. A walk arranged in Northamptonshire only had two on and a walk from Old Dalby in atrocious weather in December had a similar number. Several walks in particular were pleasing. We explored new footpaths in the National Forest and at Wolvey in Warwickshire we finished with a strawberry tea and a figure of eight walk from the “John Thompson Inn” at Ingleby, South Derbyshire, where we sat down to a beef dinner. Enjoyable walks were led
From Misterton, Nether Broughton, and Congerstone.
I am resigning as Saturday rambles organiser at the AGM but I am pleased to advise members that Vanessa Moore will be taking over arranging walks in 2009. I wish her every success in this task.
Martin

Autumn Weekend

Fifteen members gathered at the “Bell Hotel”, Thetford, Norfolk where the accommodation and food was excellent.
Two walks were enjoyed in good weather. The town, with it s history was an added attraction.
Once again members support to me was gratifying.
Plans are in hand for 2009. I expect to be able to announce the venue at the AGM.

Tim