Committee Meeting Minutes April 25th

East Cheshire Ramblers Group Minutes of the Committee meeting held on 25th April 2019

1. Present

Jane Gay – Chair

Sue Munslow – Membership Secretary

Kathryn Carty

Maggie Swindells – Social and Events Secretary

Keith Anderson

Adrian Flinn – Secretary

Neil Collie (for item 1 only)

Apologies: Colin Finlayson (Treasurer) and

Dave Barraclough (Footpath Committee Chairman)

1. RA General Council 2019 held in Manchester on 13/14th April . Feedback was given by Neil Collie who attended this meeting on behalf of the Area since the Congleton Group (whose turn was to represent the 3 groups in

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our area) were unable to attend (notes prepared by Neil are attached in Appendix 1). Key points relevant to ECR group were:

a) Priority to address the slow decline in membership. The Committee considered different ways that ECR can reach out and attract new members in our area. After considering several options (including publicity) it was agreed to explore links with other walkers (who may walk alone or in small groups) to explain the campaigning work of the Ramblers Association (RA) at a national level and the local work of ECR members inspecting and maintaining the local network of footpaths. This may encourage other walkers to join and support the RA. Action: All Committee members will attempt to make links with other walkers in our area and report back at the next meeting.

b) the work of our Footpath Committee will be explained in an article to be posted in our website for information to the wider membership/audience one of our key activity that benefits everyone walking in our patch

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whether an RA member or not. Action: Neil Collie

The Committee thanked Neil .

2. Matters arising from last meeting
2.1 Walk Leaders Training: arranged to take

place on 4 July (full with a waiting list).

2.2 Rainow FP28 (Harrop Brook bridge):

ECR contribution was actioned and we are now awaiting notification from Cheshire East Council (Evan Pedley) as to when the installation will commence so that we can take photos for our own publicity (see also 1 (a) above)

2.3 Lost Ways: No progress to report. Action: Colin Finlayson to report at next meeting on current situation and progress.

2.4 RA membership fees: the proposed motion to RA General Council 2019 regarding the freezing of subscriptions which could potentially help to entice more walkers joining the RA was circulated for discussion with the other Cheshire East groups (see also 1(a) above). It gained some support but not

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unanimous so it was not submitted to Central Office.

2.5 Frequently asked questions for new Walk Leaders: the Q&A is ready be posted in the website asap. (Post meeting note – the Q&A is available in the website now).

3. New Issues

3.1 Walk Register App: to be reviewed when version 2 of the App is released in the Autumn by RA.

3.2 Front cover to Ò6 monthÓ programme:

not an issue as most of the information that was proposed to be incorporated on a front page can be found in the website under the tab ÒAboutÓ.

4. Walks Programme

4.1 Routinely request a short report from Walk Coordinators on any significant points: this proposal was rejected by the Committee (put forward by Dave Barraclough) as it was felt the this would be an unnecessary burden placed on the Coordinators and, in any event, if a Coordinator needs to raise any issue can do so

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by approaching a Committee member as they do now.

5. Reports from Officers
5. 1 Chair
Report in Appendix 2. Noted.

Several names of experienced Walk Leaders were put forward as they may be willing to help with the training course (see item 2.1 above).

The Social Secretary will be given access to the website for posting information. The Chair and Secretary have access already.

5.2 Treasurer

Report in Appendix 3. Noted

5.3 Membership

Report in Appendix 4. Noted.

The new member Welcome Letter has been updated with the latest feedback from the Committee. This letter contains useful information to access the available resources provided by ECR and RA in their website. It was agreed to attach this letter to the minutes so

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that existing members have access to this very useful information as well (see Appendix 5)

5.4 Social & Events

Report in Appendix 6. Noted.

5.5 Footpaths

Report in Appendix 7. Noted.

5.6 Publicity

No report. The weekly walk reports are going into the Macclesfield Express on a regular basis.

6. Any other Business

6.1 Area Leadership Day – Crewe – Friday 26th April: this meeting was organized by the RA Northern Area Support Officer (Diane Simcoe) to give volunteers in the ECR and the other two groups in our area involved in Committee and other lead activities to meet area support staff and a Ramblers director and have an opportunity to network and learn about new staff and developments at Central Office. Unfortunately the Committee received notice of this meeting less than 24 hrs. of the date and no

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one in the Committee could attend as they had other commitments. Unfortunately, in addition, the notice was not sent to all the relevant people in our Committee. Action: Jane Gay will contact Diane Simcoe to ensure that she has all the relevant names/contact details in our Committee and explain the lack of participants from ECR.

6.2 Countryside Access Forum: John Handley has resigned and we recognize his contribution and thank him for all the work he has done on ECR behalf. Morris Palin is still a member of this forum.

6.3 Safeguarding information : will be added as an item for the agenda of our next meeting. Action: Adrian Flinn and Maggie Swindells will provide background information before the next meeting

Date of next meeting

Monday 24th June 2019 at 1.30 pm at Chair house

Adrian Flinn – Secretary (29.4.2019) 7

APPENDIX 1 Reflections on General Council, Manchester 2019

A highly organised and slick event. The staff, Trustees and the volunteers for the event were all wearing the same T shirts emphasising the One -Team-Approach. All the staff and Trustees sat along the front row of the auditorium. Senior staff members were called upon in turn to give their part of the presentation supported by the Trustee who had been involved with that topic.

‘Van’ (Vanessa) Griffiths the new Chief Executive appointed 2 years ago, emphasised we are all One Team, no more divisions, but embracing change and moving forward together. We were reminded that we didn’t belong to a walking club but to a movement. The Ramblers organisation is aspiring to become the ‘Go-To’ place for walking. Central office is listening and new methods would be modified in light of feedback. Local successes need to be shared with the Trustees and Central Office (CO).

First priority was to address the slow decline in membership over the last 15 years and there was a promise to achieve membership growth ‘within 3 years’. We needed to be a welcoming organisation reaching out to new members, and recognising that the majority of members do not go on organised walks.

The new IT Director spoke lucidly about the ‘Digital and Data Transformation’ going on and spoke about her priority to make it easier for everyone, The vision included new phone apps that would enhance your walking experience. The ambition was to build a system as good as Trip Adviser that would advise you about the local area –even tell you which path to take to avoid a muddy section? 5 databases have been combined into one and the new digital dashboard is there to be used. Walk leaders would zapp members cards at the start of walks so that CO could collect all sorts of lovely data about what we were doing. This data is useful to justify support from funders. In answer to a question, the director said that if ‘someone really didn’t want to be zapped it would not be compulsory’. More on the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) later…

The finances are in good order. £3.9 million surplus this year. But legacies contributed £1.6m and are notoriously unreliable. £250,000 is earmarked annually for legal fees opposing footpath changes – is this sufficient?

I didn’t stay for the dinner, apparently there was a quiz all about Manchester…. and guess which table won…… Greater Manchester & High Peak Area!

On the second day, there was the election of three new Trustees. All the candidates were passionate about walking….all embraced change and most were experienced in change management and knew it was difficult……

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Next was the consideration of the motions that had been put forward. Only seven this year including one to rename the Agenda Committee to be the Motions Review Committee. Did it need to be debated?……. Yes it did!
Next up was GDPR and a motion asking the Trustees to acknowledge that locally held databases were OK. Apparently not, and a Trustee threatened us with a one million euro (or was it ten million euro?) fine. CO have it in hand with a dashboard app where areas and groups will be able to access the information they need? No doubt our membership secretary has all this in hand.

Third was a motion asking for an increase in publicity for the work ‘we do in improving the quality of the Public Rights of Way and in campaigning for increased access’ We were told that two new posts have been created for two years: Local Advocacy Advisors, one in the south and one in the north, who would help with this. Fourth motion was asking for school packs to help recruit young people (and their parents) ‘who then stay with us for all their lives’.
Fifth motion was bemoaning the change of Policy by the Environment Agency (EA) towards maintenance of river banks where they impinge on rights of way. Apparently CO had been re-assured by the EA chief exec there was no change in policy with respect to river banks ‘on their land’. But most problems occurr not on EA land …….?
Sixth motion was on national planning guidance on green spaces and rights of way. Laudable stuff to press for strengthened guidance….
Seventh motion was an entertaining speaker on a motion to create a diverse and representative General Council (GC). She argued very persuasively that diverse organisations make better decisions and asked that Areas examine how they select there representatives to GC. Were there actual or perceived barriers that made participation by women more difficult? The Trustees to report back to 2020 GC which is to be held in Avon.
I can’t remember which motions were carried or defeated (except the first which, thankfully, was passed unanimously) but all the details of the motions and much more is on the Ramblers website.

Overall impression? For me it was exhausting (even without the evening dinner) but there is no doubt we are on the move and led by an impressive team – none of whom seemed to have been in post for more than one or possibly two years. Will the same team be there in five years time when it will be possible to assess the effectiveness of the changes which we are being asked to embrace? It was inspiring, almost evangelical at times. It is more than about led walks……. we are all One Team working together, and don’t forget the main message…. more members, more members, more members.

One final thought, are we missing out on conversations and consultations with CO as we have no area representatives? Are other areas better informed than we are? Maybe, just maybe, it is time to consider having an Area Chair – even if a ‘virtual’ one?

NSC 16.04.19

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APPENDIX 2

Well, itÕs been a busy time and IÕve done little walking!!

I have met with Maggie a couple of times re the Social SecretaryÕs role and feel very confident that she is going to do an excellent job.

I have attended a meeting at MelanieÕs house about walk leading for the Ilkly weekend away. I have attended the meal at the Gurkha restaurant in Macclesfield. I also attended the talk given by Duncan which was brilliantly supported and was MaggieÕs first event.

Cheshire East area volunteered to trial the national first aid training and we were selected. Eventually the date of the 20th of March was agreed. There were 11 places available in the morning and the same number in the afternoon. I advertised the course and had no problem filling our allotted 7 places. Eventually we had seven people who attended in the morning and three in the afternoon. We also have a waiting list of
2/3 people who would like to attend the next course we run. The course was excellent and I think everybody who went learnt something and came away feeling more confident about dealing with a serious emergency. This, I think, could become part of our annual program. John Kummer from North and Mid Cheshire wanted to send 2 participants so maybe we could turn to them if we were short of attendees.

I have met with Gillian Kay and Sue Munslow to organise the walk leader training. Much communication has gone on via email and we eventually have a program which is going to run on the 4th of July. I have two volunteers prepared to help at the moment. They are Michael Murphy and David Gylee. Frank and I are also prepared to help but we do need at least two more people so please rack your brainÔs and ask around amongst experienced leaders. I advertised the course on the 29th of March at about 5 pm and by the end of the evening I had 11 candidates with 6 reserves! Many of whom are new to me and hopefully also reasonably new to the Ramblers.

I have met with Roger on a couple of occasions to discuss the website. As a result of these meetings Frank is taking over circulating emails and I am posting information on the website. This is a short term solution and once we are both comfortable with the roles we will be looking for other people to take over. This must have happened by the time we go to Australia in September as the website does peculiar things due to the time difference!! Roger would like the committee to be able to post information onto the website. I feel that Maggie should certainly have access and anybody else who would like to. The more the merrier!

I will make it clear to members, if necessary, that information should not go out via the mid week coordinators as this causes confusion and results in some people receiving large number of emails about the same event.

It was brilliant that Neil Collie offered to attend conference, initially as an observer but when we realised that the area was not going to be represented he went as a delegate. He is attending our next meeting and I have circulated his report. Can I just say a massive massive thank you to Neil for attending.

We are still making a massive effort to ensure that everybody is carrying an ICE card. I think we probably need to circulate details of how to have your medical information on your phone.

I have been looking at the ramblers app for registering attendees at walks. I think one of the issues is that if the walk Is not on the national website then it doesnÕt appear on your phone. Perhaps a few of us could have a crack at this and see what we think.

I will handout a sheet at the meeting about contact numbers for Ramblers and also about grading walks. I think basically we are okay but maybe we need to re-circulate the information about our walks, the length and the grade perhaps need explaining on each 6 month program.

See you on Thursday Jane

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APPENDIX 3

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Membership report. April Total membership is steady Jan 576
Feb 577
March 575
April. 575

APPENDIX 4

Changes to ÔWelcome LetterÕ (already circulated) to encourage ICE details to be recorded on phone and 100 more ICE cards arrived to be given out by walk leaders.

Feedback already received ……also to include information on stroller walks and for new members to send emails addresses to walk leaders .

APPENDIX 5

Dear updated welcome letter

The Ramblers Central Office has recently sent me details of your new membership and I welcome you to our East Cheshire group. I hope you will enjoy walking with us in the future.
We offer a full programme of walks throughout the year, both at weekends (mainly Saturdays) and during the week on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Friday strollers. Walks are categorised as long, medium, short and stroller. The majority take place in Cheshire, Derbyshire and the Peak District, with some in Staffordshire.

Details of the walks for the week ahead can be found on the front news and information page of the East Cheshire Ramblers website- www.ramblerseastcheshire.org.uk . The walks are usually posted on the website from a week to a few days before they are due to take place. If bad weather is forecast it is advisable to check the website in case the walk has been cancelled or there is a new route and starting point. By clicking on the Full Programme above the Current Programme information and dates for weekend walks over the next six months will be displayed. Also, to be found on the website is information about the groupÕs social events, coach trips and walking weekends away.

Information about mid-week walks can be sent directly to your email address if you so require. If you would like to receive this information then please contact me on the walks you are interested in.

Long walks are 11 miles and over, but only very rarely go beyond 15 miles. Medium walks are between 8 and 10 miles, while short walks are between 4 and 7 miles, but usually averaging between 5 and 6.5 miles. All the walks are graded for their difficulty. These grades are easy, moderate, moderate/strenuous and, very occasionally, strenuous. An easy walk would be short in length with only minimal gradients. Moderate walks are of medium length involving some hill climbing. A moderate / strenuous walk would cover a longer distance combined with a number of steep ascents and descents.

Nearly every walk starts at 10am. We are disciplined at starting walks promptly at this time. It is necessary, therefore, to reach the starting point with enough time to park and

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put your boots on before the walk departs. We would recommend at least 15 minutes is necessary to get kitted out before the walk starts.

When going on your first walks please make yourself known to the walk leader so that he or she can introduce you to the other people on the walk. Your health and safety are very important to us so we would strongly encourage you to carry an ICE card at the top of your rucksack. You may ask the walk leader if they have a spare one available for you or/and an ICE card can be downloaded from here. https://www.ramblers.org.uk/~/media/Resources/Volunteer%20resources/Walk %20Leader%20toolkit/In%20Case%20of%20Emergency%20Card.pdf
As well as an ICE card an ICE app can be downloaded from google play onto an android phone. Information will appear on your locked screen.
On an Apple Phone the health app is on the phone when purchased. You just need to put your details into the app.

Please feel able to contact me if you have any queries about walking with our group and I will try to answer them.
I hope you will find us a welcoming, sociable group in which we all share an interest in exploring through walking our varied and beautiful area.

Yours sincerely

Sue Munslow
Membership Secretary – East Cheshire Group suemunslow@icloud.com

 

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APPENDIX 6

Social Secretary Report

As this is my first report IÕd like to thank Jane for her time, help and support in my new role. IÕm still getting to grips with how everything works and her help has been invaluable. IÕve also had support from other members too and IÕd like to thank them for their emails, positive suggestions and support. In addition like to thank all the East Cheshire Ramblers who have kindly offered their time to organise events. Their willingness to do so provides us all with an interesting and diverse programme which is much appreciated and enjoyed by us all.

We held a very successful talk in February, given by Duncan Learmond, about the Macclesfield Canal, its history and how it is currently managed, maintained and improved through the work of the Macclesfield Canal Society. Fifty five members attended and from the surplus we took from ticket sales we made a donation to the Macclesfield Canal Society of £50. The remaining surplus will be used to support future activities over the next twelve months. The Ôlight supperÕ was enjoyed by all! The Stroller Walks programme, organised by Tony Walker began on the 12th April and from all accounts has got off to a very good start.

I am currently building up a list of possible speakers for future events which could include:

The Clink

Walking through our industrial heritage

Alderley Edge

TeggÕs Nose
The Salt Beneath our Feet

A talk about the restaurant run by female inmates of Styal Prison

A talk about the industrial heritage of the Whaley Bridge, an area we use a lot for ECR walks

A history of the National Trust site at Alderley Edge

A talk by the CE Ranger at TeggÕs Nose

A talk about of the history and current work of Cheshire Salt Mines

Any other ideas or suggestions would be warmly welcomed!
Since the last meeting additional events have been added to the programme which is attached below.
Maggie Swindells
22nd April 2019

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East Cheshire Ramblers Social Calendar 2018-

2019

Thanks to all those involved in organising these events. Any ideas for the next programme please contact me as soon as possible. Maggie Swindells maggieswindells@gmail.com 07729327940 /01625 829671

UPDATES IN BLUE

  

Friday 8th March

Talk by Duncan Learmond ÒCanals our watery footpathsÓ at Macclesfield Tennis Club

    

20th March

RA National First Aid Training

St JohnÕs Centre, High Street,

  

Macclesfield

   

Friday 12Th April

Start of fortnightly StrollersÕ walking programme

    

Saturday/Sunday 13/14

April General Council in Manchester

   

26/28 April

Long Walkers Weekend away Thirsk. Organised by Colin Park

   

Thursday 2nd May

Start of evening walks organised by Steve Hull

   

Friday May 10th 2pm

Tour of the Air Raid Shelters, Stockport organised by Brian Griffiths

    

Saturday 8th June

Coach trip to Arnside area organised by Steve Hull

    

Thursday 20th June

Walk and meal in Monyash organised by Ann Thompson

   

15/16 June

Weekend away Ilkley organised by Melanie Davy

    

17th July

Visit to Blackden Trust

 

A six mile circular walk from Goostrey with 4/5 miles to

Blackden Trust and 1/2 miles back. Organised by Brian Griffiths

   

Saturday 29 June

Ramble with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay

    

4th July

Walk Leader Training (full with a waiting list)

  

2nd – 4th August

Long walkers weekend Kirby Stephen organised by Georgie and Peter Everson and Steve Hull
(may be an optional walk on the 2nd)

   

21st August

Visit to Blackden Trust organised by Colin Park

   

24th August

Visit to Blackden Trust organised by Colin Park

    

21st – 29th September

 

Saturday 28th September

Bollington Walking Festival

 

Coach trip to Conway organised by Annette Hurst, Gina Thompson and Maggie Swindells

   

18/20th October

Weekend away to Pickering organised by Ann Thompson

   

Saturday 23rd November

ECR AGM 2pm at Macclesfield Tennis Club
Please contact maggieswindells@gmail.com for more details

    

Saturday 14th December

Week End Christmas Lunch at The Windmill organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay.

     

Saturday 21st December

Christmas walk and meal organised by Georgie and Peter Everson

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APPENDIX 7

FOOTPATH COMMITTEE REPORT
TO THE MAIN COMMITTEE MEETING ON APRIL 25th 2019

There have been two meetings of note since the last ECR Committee Meeting – one Footpath Committee Meeting and the other the bi annual Cheshire East ROW Consultative Committee. In addition, we had held an informal meeting with Roger Fielding to discuss ideas for the continued improvement of the Footpath Database.

One important part of the Footpath Committee meeting was to receive details from Tony Battilana of the plans for the 2019 Footpath Inspections by our team of Footpath Inspectors. This is now well established and the guidance to all Footpath Inspectors has now been circulated. We are fortunate to have a full complement of Inspectors, with a few new ones. A letter of thanks will be sent to Norman Ridley, who retired after many years as an Inspector.

Other business included routine items of footpath problems and PROW diversions etc. There has been no communication with the Project Group (Brian Richardson) but Nick Brearley is identifying some potential paths for a Ôvegetation clearanceÕ working party. One footpath (Alderley FP2) in the Alderley Edge National Trust is being considered.

Neil Collie and Dave Barraclough attended the ROW Consultative Committee at Crewe. This is chaired by a Councillor member of the ROW Committee and is attended by the various Ôinterest groupsÕ (walkers, riders, cyclists) across Cheshire East. Points of note included:-

1.            Funding has been obtained for improved access to the new A6 MARR road. ECR requested to have input to the details of this. 


2.            The contract for the repair of the Harrop Brook bridge is in progress. Work may start soon and we have requested to be notified in order to take photographs for publicity purposes. 


3.            We in formed the meeting of our new Stroller Walk programme. PROW is helping us to promote this via the East Cheshire Rangers, although this is proving rather bureaucratic. 


4.            We met the two PROW Enforcement Officers to discuss the details and progress on our list of ÔProblem PathsÕ. 


Dave Barraclough 21st April 2019

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THE WORK OF THE EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS FOOTPATHS COMMITTEE

East Cheshire Ramblers ensure their footpaths are in good orderThe East Cheshire Group of the Ramblers is active in checking and inspecting the network of Public Rights of Way which exist across the splendid countryside in East Cheshire. There is a legal duty on the highway authority and on landowners to ensure that public footpaths are maintained in a walkable condition.

If you find a path in East Cheshire that is obstructed or want to report a fault to the Council go to the public rights of way page of the Cheshire East council web site – https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/leisure,_culture_and_tourism/public_rights_of_way/public_rights_of_way.aspx – where you will find a link to an online problem report form.

If, after submitting this form, you do not get a satisfactory response, please report the problem to us using the link at the end of this article and we will follow it up.

East Cheshire Ramblers cover an area of 33 parishes from Poynton in the north to Wincle in the south and, east to west, from Chelford to Rainow.  There are over 1270 paths which criss-cross the area and every path is surveyed annually by our volunteer inspectors. By far the majority of paths  are in good order, thanks to the co-operation of the landowners and the tireless work of Cheshire East Council Public Rights of Way (PROW) Unit.  Sometimes a path can be obstructed by a fallen tree, a newly erected fence or sometimes a stile or gate is damaged. Our inspectors report these faults to the PROW Unit who ensure the fault is rectified promptly.  Some inspectors also fix yellow waymarking signs to ensure walkers can keep to the correct line of the path. To cover such a large area, over 40 of our members are inspectors and we are always on the lookout for more volunteers.

In addition, we have a group of volunteers who undertake more practical tasks such as cutting back vegetation, repairing stiles and improving the path surfaces.

How is all this co-ordinated? Well, since 1986 East Cheshire Ramblers have organised a Footpaths Committee who meet regularly to discuss the latest problems and the progress with the annual path inspections. At this forum proposals for the legal diversion of the rights of way are debated and comments made to Cheshire East Council. We look after the interests of all walkers and we will not agree to any proposal that significantly reduces the enjoyment of the path.  If necessary, but rarely, we will make a formal objection and argue our case at a Public Inquiry. In such cases we are able to draw on the legal expertise of the Ramblers Central Office in London. If you enjoy walking, please join the Ramblers organisation and help to support this vital work.

Here are some photographs to illustrate the group’s work


The footpath goes under the bridge. This obstruction was reported by our footpaths inspector and Cheshire East Council ensured it was removed.

The footpath goes under the bridge. This obstruction was reported by our footpaths inspector and Cheshire East Council ensured it was removed.
A memorial bench was installed some years ago by the East Cheshire Ramblers Group on the Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail in Poynton. Rest a While!

A memorial bench was installed some years ago by the East Cheshire Ramblers Group on the Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail in Poynton. Rest a While!
The path has been eroded by the stream over a number of years. A temporary diversion of the footpath has been implemented.

The path has been eroded by the stream over a number of years. A temporary diversion of the footpath has been implemented.
A fallen tree is blocking the footpath beyond the kissing gate. It is the responsibility of the landowner to remove the obstruction, but if they do not act then Cheshire East Council can remove the obstruction and charge the cost to the landowner.

A fallen tree is blocking the footpath beyond the kissing gate. It is the responsibility of the landowner to remove the obstruction, but if they do not act then Cheshire East Council can remove the obstruction and charge the cost to the landowner.
This has now been replaced by a kissing gate.

This has now been replaced by a kissing gate.
Our footpaths inspector reported this problem and it was dealt with promptly by Cheshire East Council.

Our footpaths inspector reported this problem and it was dealt with promptly by Cheshire East Council.

Here are some links which will be useful to obtain further information on footpaths and rambling in our area

Neil Collie


Weekend Away to Pickering October 18 – 20 2019

Featured


Pickering is an ancient market town  in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England, on the border of the North York Moors National ParkHistorically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, it sits at the foot of the moors, overlooking the Vale of Pickering to the south. The town as it exists today is of medieval origin.  From Pickering there is easy access to the North Yorkshire Moors by road, bus or train.

Walks

I hope to offer the 3 grades of walks on both days and would be grateful of offers to lead walks. I know the area quite well and will be able to help with suggested walks.

Saturday Group Evening meal

This will be at the Forest and Vale Hotel. We shall have sole use of their attractive dining room.  I will circulate a meal choice form in due course, the cost being around £26 for 3 courses and tea/coffee.

Friday evening meal

There are many pubs in Pickering plus other places to eat but I can organise a group meal in the Forest and Vale hotel which will be simple. E.g. Pie and chips or Fish and Chips details to follow later.

Sunday evening meal

The hotel does meals in the brasserie/bar and it will be possible to arrange tables and times to eat.

Accommodation

Forest and Vale Hotel – this is a very pleasant hotel situated on the roundabout between of the A170 and A169 close to the town centre with parking. They require us to occupy a reasonable number of rooms in order to have the main dining room on the Saturday evening.

Cost of rooms is for Bed and Breakfast with Tea/Cake on arrival and is as follows

Standard                         £230 2 nights                        £345 for 3 nights

Executive                        £261                                        £391.50

Superior                        £290                                        £453

A double room for single occupancy is £20 a night cheaper per room.

To book please contact the hotel 01751 472722 and mention ECR as they reserved rooms until the end of January for us to book. You will be asked for a deposit.

Other accommodation

Looking on the Internet you will find plenty of B and B’s plus self-catering accommodation. Pickering is a popular town and so much of it is of a high standard but not cheap. I visited nearby places

1. Black Swan – close by 9 rooms well reviewed and looked pleasant. Have a single at £70/ night or single use of double for £85.

2.Cawthorne House – £75single/night £85 double

3.Grindale House – also have cheaper single rooms

4.Bramwood Guest house – fairly close slightly cheaper than hotel.

Please let me know:
1.      if you will be coming
2.      where you will be staying

3.   your email or other contact details so that I can send you the updates on the walks and the Meal.

Ann Thompson,  email: athompson@email.com

Weekend Away To Ilkley 14 – 16 June 2019

Organiser’s Contact Details
The weekend is being run by Melanie Davy, Brooke Cottage, Church Road, Handforth Cheshire SK9 3LT

m.davy2906@gmail.com 01625 536511 / 07854 093785

Location
Ilkley is a spa town approximately 12 miles north of Bradford and 17 miles northwest of Leeds. The town lies mainly on the south bank of the River Wharfe in Wharfedale, one of the Yorkshire Dales. The town centre is characterised by Victorian architecture, wide streets and floral displays and it has a high number of small independent shops. It is also one of five towns to feature a Betty’s Tea room. Ilkley Moor, which overlooks the town, is part of Rombald’s Moor, which has the second highest concentration of ancient carved stones in Europe.

Hotel
Craiglands Hotel,Cowpasture Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8RQ (01943 430001) www.craiglands.co.uk
Set in 6 acres of beautiful, landscaped grounds and woodland, Craiglands is just a short walk from the town and the famous Ilkley Moor.
I have visited the hotel and reserved 28 of the best rooms overlooking the valley.
Please don’t believe all the reviews on some of the review sites!

Hotel Cost

2 Nights (for Friday & Saturday night)

Single occupancy room: 2 night stay Dinner, B&B = £180

Double occupancy room: 2 night stay Dinner, B&B = £260

3 Nights (for Friday,Saturday & Sunday nights)

Single occupancy room: 2 night stay Dinner, B&B = £270

Double occupancy room: 2 night stay Dinner, B&B = £390

Hotel Booking

  • Reserve your hotel room through me using the attached form.

  • Deposit: Pay £25 deposit per person: £20 non-refundable deposit for the hotel and £5 recce fee per person.

  • Balance: must be paid to ECR by Wednesday 1st May. I will remind you a couple of weeks before this is due.

Please complete the attached form and pay your deposit and recce expenses as soon as possible. The hotel “rooms with a view” will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and will be held for ECR by the hotel until 5th April However, once the 28 rooms have gone, I cannot guarantee what rooms will be available, if any.

Non residents
If you don’t want to stay in the hotel, you are still very welcome to join us. Please complete the attached form as I will need your contact and emergency contact details and £5 recce expense payment. The hotel is very happy for you to join us for any of the evening meals at a cost of £25 per head. We hope that everyone will join us for the traditional Saturday night get together meal.

Payment Details
Click here to download a booking form

Walks
We hope to offer short, medium and long/long-medium walks on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June. This will be confirmed once walk leaders have been identified.

If anyone is interested in leading a walk, please let me know. I’m looking for short and long leaders.

A Talk About Canals By Duncan Learmond

CANALS – OUR ‘WATERY’ FOOTPATHS

A talk on the local canals by Duncan Learmond

FRIDAY MARCH 8TH 2019

7pm for 7-30pm at Macclesfield Tennis Club SK11 8LF

Duncan is an East Cheshire Ramblers Walk Leader, Secretary of Macclesfield Canal Society, a Boater and a Canal Adoption Work Party Leader ……….

Please support this event and maybe bring along a few friends.

Tickets £6, which includes a light supper, a licensed pay bar is available.

TICKETS CAN BE BOUGHT FROM
Jane Gay, Colin Finlayson, Sue Munslow, Kathryn Carty, Adrian Flinn, Dave Barraclough or Keith Anderson Maggie Swindells
16 Castle Hill Court
Prestbury
SK104UT
maggieswindells@gmail.com
07729 327 940
Cheques Online Payment
RA East Cheshire Group Bank : Unity Trust
Sort Code : 60:83:01
Account Number : 20229929
Event Reference : TLK

TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR COLLECTION AT THE DOOR

East Cheshire Ramblers Weekend Away to Coniston

The group of long walkers at Wetherlam having completed the Coniston Horseshoe

One of the many highlights of the East Cheshire Ramblers’ programme is their regular weekends away. This year the group went to Coniston for the weekend. It is a fascinating area with old copper mines and slate quarries. The majority stayed at the excellent Waterhead Hotel with beautiful views of the lake and a few others found their own accommodation. Three walks were organised on both Saturday and Sunday of varying lengths and difficulty to cater for everyone’s requirements. Much to everyone’s delight and relief, the weather was absolutely wonderful all weekend.

On the Saturday, 16 intrepid walkers set off to climb the Old Man of Coniston. Rather having an immediate ascent they walked along an old railway line above the Lake before walking gently upwards through fields of pasture and eventually meeting the Walna Scar Road. There are several routes to walk up Coniston Old Man (803m) and they choose a path leading us to Low Water a glacial basin, before completing the final ascent. They enjoyed stunning views, stopping for lunch above Levers Water with distant views of the Fairfield Horseshoe, the coast and estuaries. Taking an easy path along the top they reached Swirl How with more views of the mountain tops of Bowfell and Scarfel, from here they started their descent using a rocky path before reaching Wetherlam and walking down a long grassy slope back to the Miners Bridge and Coniston.

Twelve walkers set off up Walna Scar road, which climbs steeply to a remote car park used by walkers wanting to climb the Old Man, but without the initial slog! They then had a beautifully scenic walk back down to Coniston via Torver Beck, Torver Village (with its bizarre phone box converted into a fish tank) and along the lake. The final 10 caught an early bus to Blawith, and ascended via Beacon Tarn to Blawith Fell (820ft) and then descended and walked the path along the whole length of Coniston. They too had panoramic views and finished their walk following the lakeshore path into Coniston where they stopped for tea at the Bluebird Café by the lake.

On the way up the Old Man of Coniston near Low Water. View of the town of Coniston and Lake

Descending from Blawith Fell on the short walk on Saturday.

As well as being exhilarated by the panoramic views the long walk participants were able to inspect evidence of the area’s industrial past and discover a link with our home town of Macclesfield. In the 18th century there were three areas of copper mining which employed 600 men, women and children. The ore was transported to smelters In St Helens and Swansea by horse and cart and boat and finally rail. In 18th century Charles Roe formed the Macclesfield Copper Company and worked on the rich ‘Bonsor’ vein in Red Dell above Levers Water taking it below 150ft of the previous German workings. Gunpowder was used for blasting and by 1795 the workings were more than 330ft deep. The company also managed other mines at Parys Mountain in Anglesey and Charles Roe built a copper smelter on Macclesfield Common.

The view of Tarn Hows from the east side of the Tarn taken during the short walk on Sunday

On Sunday, 12 walkers took advantage of the spectacular weather to walk through Coppermines valley and then climb up to Swirl Hawse, Swirl How, Great Carrs and the Wet Side Edge, returning to Coniston via Little Langdale and Higher Tilberthwaite. They covered 13 miles and 2800 ft of ascent. The remaining walkers set off from the main car park at Tarn Hows. Eight walkers did the 8 mile “Fell Sandwich” walk ascending Holme Fell and Black Crag with Tarn Hows sandwiched in-between and 18 walkers did a gentler 6 mile circular walk from Tarn Hows via Low Yewdale Farm, Harry Guards Wood and High Oxen Fell and back to Tarn Hows, where 3 people ascended Tom Heights for the amazing 360o views. Much to everyone’s delight, on returning to the car park, the ice cream van had arrived. Flavour of the day was “Thunder and Lightning”! Couldn’t be further from the weather. What a perfect end to a perfect weekend!

Melanie Davy & Sue Munslow

Lunch stop at Torver jetty on the Saturday medium walk

Macclesfield Forest Paths Closed

United Utilities, the owners of Macclesfield Forest, have closed the forest to visitors while their staff make safe the large number of trees which were blown over by the recent high winds.  More information can be found at https://www.unitedutilities.com/help-and-support/about-us/recreation-sites/

A week in Devon 3-8th September

This five day break was very different to the Ramblers’ normal trip away and thus I was concerned as to whether it would work well or be fraught with difficulties. I can say that it worked well and everybody seemed to enjoy it. Can I just say that this was the nicest group I have ever had the pleasure of being involved with.

Six of us went down a day early to reccie our walks and did eventually manage to stay in the Manor House, no mean feat. On the Sunday the weather was atrocious and did not bode well for the rest of the week. John Handley had to buy an extra layer before he even set off!! I have to say there is no way, under normal circumstances, I would have gone out in that weather. We returned with everything soaked and we hadn’t even started the trip. We did have a good evening meal and chat which made it all worthwhile.

We walked on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with Wednesday off to either visit the area or take part in the wide variety of activities. Golf and tennis were taken up by a number of the group.

Evening activities hey, when I discussed this idea with Frank we decided that nobody would be interested but we booked 10 pin bowling on the first night, just in case. Almost everybody turned up and really enjoyed themselves with Dave Gibson being the winner. The second night Ruth organised a fun table tennis tournament and again it was a great success. Frank being the winner, perhaps due to many years being spent in the youth club. The third night we were tutored in short mat bowling by Chris and Sue Munslow and again had a fun evening. The final evening there were several things on offer, including a 60/70 night which several people took part in. So not your normal ECR trip!!

Frank and I led the Meldon Quarry circuit on the Monday described as “a stunning walk, taking in fantastic moorland fringe scenery with views of the high moors and passing under the striking Meldon Viaduct”.

Monday’s other walk was led by Martin who is a walk leader at the hotel, and we started our walk from ‘The Warren’ pub close to Postbridge .  Martin was a mine of information (pun not intended) as he told us about the history of mining in the area and of medieval and earlier remains.  We looked at areas where miners would stay over the summer and saw where they would have grown vegetables and where they would have had rabbit warrens (hence the name of the pub) to supply meat on site.  The moor was beautiful providing a splendid air of isolation and moody rolling views.

A short walk was also led with by a leader from the centre. The weather was kind to us and everybody seemed to have had a good day when we met for dinner.

Tuesday’s long walk was led by Lyn, another walk leader from the hotel, and we started from Belstone.  We did an 11 mile tour of the Tors (pun intended) including Hounds Tor, connected to the famous Sherlock Holmes mystery ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’.  There was lots of climbing and we had constant rain in the morning, adding up to a tough walk.  However, we did not let it dampen our spirits and really enjoyed the 7 tors we climbed, and the views of Dartmoor when we did finally get them in the afternoon.

Laura Hall

Epiphytes in Wistmans Wood

On Tuesday John Handley led a walk to Wistmans wood. What an experience; see his description below. A short walk was also led from the hotel.

This ‘ecological ramble’ began beside a quarry which revealed the granite architecture of Dartmoor. From here we walked along a rough track into the moor. Beside the track gorse had been burnt to provide a flush of mineral nutrients for the sheep. We reflected on a Welsh saying – ‘Bronze under heather, silver under gorse and gold under bracken’.

Next came Crockern Tor, the open-air meeting place of the Stannary Parliament where Devonshire tin mining was adjudicated from the 14th to the 18th century, and where Sir Walter Raleigh himself presided on October 27th, 1600.

From here we followed a ridge, each tor more impressive than the last. Less impressive for the sheep. Up here, where the rainfall exceeds 2,000 mm, the growing season for grass is only 175 days compared to 300 days on Devon’s south coast.

Hence the tree line in western Britain is depressed and Wistman’s Wood at around 400m is one of the highest oak woods in England. It is a vestige of the wildwood that clothed Britain in early prehistoric times. The ancient gnarled oak trees have survived because the granite boulders between which they grow, known as ‘clatter’, are impenetrable to grazing animals – and not much better for ramblers! They are festooned with lichens and ferns and this is a truly atmospheric place.

After lunch we followed the Cowslic River to join the Devonport Leat. This beautifully engineered channel was constructed in the 1790s to carry drinking water to the expanding Plymouth dockyards. The leat brought us to the edge of the West Dart valley from where we looked down on Crockern farm. The landscape was grey and drab except for a bright green field beside the farm where animals had been regularly folded. We then looked at the grass beneath our feet and saw that it too was a healthy green and full of herbs. We were standing in a medieval enclosure where the ecological memory went back at least 500 years. Dartmoor may be a forbidding place but its landscape history is something to behold.

John Handley

On Thursday 7th September the walk started in the village of Gidleigh. The focal point of the village is the Holy Trinity Church which dates from the late 15th century and nearby are the remains of Gidleigh Castle which is a much earlier building.

From the village the route took us southwards through the densely forested area of Gidleigh Tor to cross the cascading Teign River. The path joined the Two Moors Way leading us through flowering pasture meadows of the lower slopes of Dartmoor.

At French Beer we left the path walking up on the moorlands and shortly reached the remains of Bronze Age hut circles.

Crossing the valley we climbed the slopes up to Thornworthy Tor. Dartmoor is covered with numerous Tors which are the remains of the granite plugs from volcanic activity nearly 30 million years ago. This high point gave us views of the moors and low lying land all round with Thornworthy Reservoir below.

Lunch was at another Tor, Kestor Rock. We sheltered from the prevailing wind surrounded by unconcerned Dartmoor ponies and their foals.

We headed again for distant slopes towards the ‘Long Stone’, three metres tall with initials carved into one face having a more modern use as a boundary stone.

We were now on Shovel Down which has an impressive range of remains dating from the Bronze Age including field systems, stone rows, stone huts, a cairn and the standing stone.

We hadn’t seen stone rows before so they were of special interest to us, being made up of stones which run about a metre apart roughly in a north south direction for a length of up to 180 metres including a Y shape where two rows meet. These may have had a ceremonial purpose.

We continued to walk along the stone rows towards an ancient Clapper Bridge then climbing to a higher point where we came across the impressive Scorhill Circle, before returning to Gidleigh.

Sue Munslow

And the rest of our time????

Diana Beech, in writing about the activities available, said:

The activities enjoyed by the “Gay” group included: archery, tennis (indoor and outdoor), long and short mat bowling, ten-pin bowling, table tennis, swimming, golf, adventure golf, dancing at a 60s/70s night and relaxing in the hydro spa.

Table tennis and bowling brought out the competitive side of many ramblers, creating much amusement for all. The swimming pools and hydro spa provided welcome relaxation after the walks.

Two members of the group didn’t walk but took part in crafts during the day. They sampled enamelling, patchwork and creative embroidery and really enjoyed them, paying about £3 each session for materials used. Pauline tried jewellery making and now is the proud owner of a necklace.

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This just leaves me to thank Sue and Chris Munslow and John Handley for leading walks as well as Martin and Lynn from the centre. Frank for his support throughout the planning stage and during the week. Also thanks to Louise for the amazing cream tea. Most of all thanks to all who attended for making it such a pleasurable experience.

Jane Gay

Reconstruction of Footpath 22 at Bollington by ECR Volunteers

Before we started

Before we started

After we finished

After we finished

Sometime before October 2015 Evan Pedley of PROW, Crewe, asked me if our project team would repair a flight of wooden steps on Bollington FP22, which climbs from Ingersley Road up to Shrigley Rise. This seemed feasible at the time, because we could collect new wood for the steps as a contribution by PROW Department from its depot at Winsford; and Bollington Town Council would contribute up to £500 (plus VAT) towards materials.

The path climbed over fourteen metres in height over a length of 69 metres from its start in the field below a bottom kissing gate. The path was a surface drain for regular rain run-off from the impermeable surfacing of Shrigley Fold, and even off the main Shrigley Road in heavy rains, at the top of the path. It formed a deep gulch (a word chosen conservatively) and walkers were required to straddle the hollow and walk the haunches when the surface was wet and slippery. It held twenty-four rotting wooden steps.

Evan requested that precast concrete (p.c.) highway kerbs are deployed to resist the waters and to provide more durability than wood on this frequently used urban path. The prospect of me asking a voluntary project team of predominantly senior citizens who, with respect, are past their prime, to manoeuvre 70+ kg kerbs for 60 metres along the path, and up to 14 metres down the steps, was daunting. So, despite spending time on several occasions surveying the existing eroded wooden steps with my family’s help, I deferred the work to a future suitable period. Gradually, a sense of obligation took control and triggered me to allocate June through August this year, pending team support, to ‘fit’ the steps into the diary.

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Ken in an overgrown section of the path before work started

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Rainwater run off had undermined the path

Shrigley Rise neighbours have been very accepting of our disruption, allowing me to park as many as four bulk bags of gravel and two pallets of kerbstones on their private driveways on several deliveries, and special thanks go to Siobhan and Max for allowing us to store large tools and two wheelbarrows in their rear garden, Sarah for passing Ice cold drinks through the hedge and Rob for his oil for the wheelbarrows! Additionally, the team was given enthusiastic encouragement by path users.

To create a safe and durable working/walking space, we started by clearing vegetation, predominantly of naturally established, but badly located, trees and branches. We next repaired two wooden steps and added a third step in the field approach from Ingersley Road, below a bottom kissing gate. Higher up, two existing p.c. highway kerb steps were relocated, and the 24 existing wood steps were replaced by 47 new p.c. bull-nosed (rounded top corner) highway kerbs. Some steps were constructed full width of the space between walls to reduce erosion. We have placed twice as many steps (52 instead of 28) and a more even gradient between step rises in our construction. There are important benefits in that both of the latter measures dissipate the energy in rainwater flows down the path and steps and minimise erosion; and the threshold of difficulty for locals in scaling the steps has been considerably reduced,

We commenced step building, by progressively removing old steps, excavating for the new ones, placing them to line and level, and constraining their facing lower edge by steel pins. For safe working we spread ourselves in pairs up the path, but inevitably found coordination and cooperation between the teams was essential to enable materials to be moved across each of the work fronts. As the workdays passed, the shape of the stairflights crystalised, and a bulge in the slope was reduced by excavating for, and lowering, some steps. The bulk of our fill material is 40mm sized limestone aggregate, which allows water to pass in a restrained manner, but is firmly positioned. A surface skim of 14mm limestone chips is gentle underfoot and knits the surface together.

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Ian tipping a barrow load of limestone chippings as Nick is poised to spread them out

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Mike and Alan at work. Kerbs ready to be laid on the right

Several thoughts disturbed my sleep prior to starting on site: I dreaded finding we could not drive 16mm dia. steel pins 400mm into the underlying ground, to hold the kerbs in place, due to being rebutted by solid rock here and there. Such rebuttals occurred only once or twice. I was majorly concerned about moving the 70+ kg kerb units along the path and down the steps. I purchased a two-wheeled bag trolley to park them next to their final resting place, and two proprietary lifting tongs for multiple lifting to place them on a trolley and at each temporary and final accurately allocated placement. My overall concern, of course, was whether sufficient team support members would declare themselves willing to carry out this very heavy labour. But, as always, a team performed on each day.

We completed the project on 9th August. On which occasion two walking groups of eight and twelve persons coincidentally chose to pass respectively up and down the path!

Between two and six team members have attended on seventeen occasions between 26th June and 9th August, (generating 62 volunteer-attendance days) and served 296 man-hours of labour (excluding lunch breaks). During this project, 13.5 tonnes of limestone have been shovelled, and accepting that each pc concrete kerbstone has been lifted and transported twice, 8 tonnes of pc concrete has been lifted and placed. Also, a large amount of soil has been dug, moved and reprofiled during the scheme.

ECR Group have purchased £1792 (Vat Incl.) of materials, and Bollington Town Council have contributed £558 (Vat incl.) of that total.

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The bottom end of the path as completed

For the success of this project, my thanks go to Janet Allen, David Bates, Helen Battilana, Ian Black, Nick Brearley, Mike Collins, Roger Fielding, Adrian Flinn, Barbara Hare, Ken Hobbs, Philip Hodgkinson, David James, Roger Jubb, Gillian and Tom North, Ian Wasson, Nick Wild, Alan Wilson, my wife Helen and son Damian (as surveying assistants).

Brian Richardson

Some of the team

Some of the team – Adrian, Mike, Ken and Roger