ECR Stockport History Walk



Led by Judith Wilshaw

Local history is an engrossing subject, always something new to discover, never an end in sight.”

FRIDAY 20th March 2020

Start time 1.30 pm at The Plaza Theatre, Mersey Square,

 Stockport SK1 1SP

Going at a reasonable easy pace Judith’s three mile history walk round Stockport town centre will take about two and a half hours.  Judith will make frequent stops to explain significant features. The itinerary features traces of the early history of Stockport, which was the focus of Judith’s talk to ECR in October, and follows through to modern times.  As you would expect, we will be looking at things in geographical, not chronological order.



Numbers will be limited to 25


Early booking is recommended


Minutes of ECR committee held Monday 3 February at 1.30pm


Jane Gay – chair

Dave Barraclough – footpath committee chair

Maggie Swindells – social secretary

Colin Finlayson – treasurer

Kathryn Carty – secretary


Sue Munslow – membership secretary

Keith Anderson

Actions / discussions

  1. Minutes of previous meeting of 11 November 2019 approved.
  • Maggie has already put an entry for safeguarding information (children and vulnerable adults) in FAQ’s and this will shortly go onto the website.
  • The walk grade descriptions will be updated on the following lines (not verbatim)

Short – 5 to 7+ miles approximately

Medium – 8 to 10+ miles approximately

Long – 11 miles plus

Easy – moderately flat walking on good paths

Moderate – Generally on good paths in undulating terrain but with some steep inclines

Strenuous – expect a fair bit of ascent and possibly some mild scrambling.  Route may take open country rather than trodden paths.

Stroller – 3 to 4 miles on even ground with little ascent and few easy stiles.

  • Recce charges

A charge of £5 per head is suggested to event organisers and if costs are not covered, this will be mopped up by surpluses on other events.  Prior to publishing the event organisers are advised to discuss with Colin F costings of an event and the reimbursement of reasonable expenses.  The amounts claimable are not fixed and will vary according to the event. It was felt that amounts should not be prescribed as a non-standard set of circumstances always arises.

  • Value for cost of subscription.  Colin had spoken to the FC at Ramblers but there has since been a staffing change so this will be mentioned to HO again.  It was felt that the competition from low annual fee walking groups, which are affiliated with national Ramblers for a small charge, is not recognised by HO.  The affiliated groups benefit from Ramblers insurance and our footpath maintenance. HO needs to publicise the footpath work which Ramblers members do in order to generate new members.
  • Walk programme This was considered to be holding up well and, as agreed at the AGM, walks will continue as before.  Some gaps are unavoidable without new younger members coming on the scene.  Members of other Ramblers groups have been taking advantage of ECR’s extensive programme.  Walk leaders need gently reminding to put their walks on the notice board two weeks before the date of leading so that they get posted in good time onto the national website. The stroller walks are going ahead.

The new system “what three words” was briefly discussed.  It is another way of locating a walk starting point with a phone app.

  •  Footpath maintenance work as reported in Dave’s footpath committee meeting of January 2020 below.
  • Planning for the 2020 Footpath Inspections is going ahead smoothly by Tony Battilana. He may have a small shortfall in inspector numbers and no longer has a reserve list. In due course we may request that the Committee approves a request to circulate the membership for new volunteers. (This might be combined with information to members on how to report path problems to PROW and a request from PROW for more volunteer involvement – see other points).
  • Routine business  is working normally on footpath problems, PROW Diversions and comments on road schemes. There are a couple of problems that we are pressing PROW for better attention, including footpaths on the   new airpath link road.
  • In the absence of much new initiative for maintenance work from the Projects Group, Nick Brearley is starting to identify ‘minor maintenance’ tasks from the past footpath inspections, with the intention of discussing these with Brian Richardson. This is exactly the purpose of the historical footpath inspection results. Nick was the organiser of the working party to clear undergrowth on the National Trust path at Alderley Edge and has personally cleared an overgrown path by the Airport Hotel, Altrincham Road.

Basically we still need new volunteers for the committee and footpath maintenance work.

  • Since the FP Meeting, Neil Collie and I have met the new PROW Enforcement Officer – Nicola Swinnerton –  (half time, covering half of Evan Pedley’s parishes). She is very enthusiastic (it was her proposal to have the introductory meeting). She is keen to make maximum use of volunteers, using the PROW list of ECR volunteers authorised to carry out minor work on footpaths. This might involve more frequent work than the annual inspection by volunteers and we are discussing the best level of collaboration to encourage/authorise contact with our members. I can report more details to the main ECR Committee.
  • We understand that the long awaited repair of the ‘Donkey Bridge’ at Pott Shrigley has been completed within the last week and the footpath re-opened. ECR contributed funds towards this repair. Although this has been long delayed, it is a fully satisfactory outcome of our support. It might be a suitable topic for a publicity article.

8.Lost Ways

This is very specialist area and there is no-one willing to take over the project, much to Colin Park’s disappointment after all his good work. We have  a shortlist of 5 lost ways which is currently in abeyance.  Costs of taking this forward are not yet being considered.  Dave’s footpath committee considered the subject in his report

Lost Ways – the FPC noted that the AGM had not found a replacement for Colin Park. It remains my view that the FPC already has plenty of work and should not add this to their responsibility. It is my personal view that the existing network of paths in Cheshire East is better than most and extra work on Lost Ways has limited value – given the long and tedious process to make the claims. However, the Committee is reviewing the merits of a small number (5) of potential claims from the Lost Ways list for comparison with a couple of potential new paths that we have already identified.

In Colin’s publicity report he commented about lost ways as follows

The other point I wish to raise is ‘Lost Ways’. Since standing down from the position of co-ordinator, no one has come forward to take on the position. It would be a pity if all the hours of work I undertook on researching this project was to go to waste. There are definitely some paths in our area worthy of saving.

9 Footpath Inspector social

The suggestion for a social event was approved by the committee but it was suggested that catering could be done in-house by buying sandwich platters and by volunteers baking.  There will be a maximum of probably 50 to 60 people probably on a Friday afternoon sometime in July.  There will be a walk put on beforehand. Those invited will include partners of FP inspectors as they often do the work alongside them.  Committee members will also be included.

The suggestion for this is included in Dave’s FP committee report.  Dave will develop these proposals and report to the next Committee Meeting.

We would like to organise a ‘Footpath Inspectors Meeting’ in the summer–the last was several years ago. The objectives are

  1. A ‘thank you’ meeting for their efforts
    1. To communicate and ‘train’ the inspectors to encourage consistency. (There have been a number of inconsistent and ‘over enthusiastic’ reports in the last couple of years!!)
    1. Obtain feedback and suggestions on the Inspection programme

We suggest inviting the Inspectors (about 39 in total) plus partners (who often help with inspections plus the Footpath Committee and Main Committee. The expected number might be 50 to 60 people. After discussion it was felt that widening the invitees to others (such as project group volunteers, walk coordinators, walk  leaders, social organisers etc) would be too large and would dilute the purpose of the meeting. Possible venues are Macclesfield Tennis Club or the Wizard Tearooms at Alderley National Trust, with light refreshments provided. We propose that the cost of this (for room hire, tea and cakes) should be covered by ECR at about £10 to £15 per head. Colin Finlayson considers that we have the funds. It  is a matter for the ECR Meeting to discuss and approve.

10.   Social secretary’s report

        Maggie’s report below summarises the progress she has made.

        As always fresh members need to come forward to volunteer to put on trips.

Thanks go to all our fellow ramblers who continue to co-ordinate walks, lead walks and provide social events for our group. Their continued support and enthusiasm is much appreciated.

The Social Calendar for 2020 is filling up nicely. We have, in addition to an excellent walking programme, an additional event in the calendar for most months throughout the year. 2020 was kicked off with Keith’s Sherry Walk organised by Lorraine and Melanie. Thanks go to both of them for organising this event. In February we will host a talk from a representative from Styal Prison about The Clink and the positive impact it has had on reducing reoffending rates. On the 20th March Judith Wilshaw will lead a guided history walk in Stockport and we hope to end the walk with afternoon tea at the Plaza in Stockport.

Members of ECR have very kindly volunteered to organise four weekends away for members. Thanks go to Jane Gay, Steve Hull, Colin Park and Andy Davies. These events require a great deal of planning and organisation and I’m very grateful to all of them for giving up their time to put these events on.

Ann Thompson is organising a coach trip to Settle in June and Gina Thompson and I are organising another coach trip in September. We’re meeting in February to agree where to go!

I’m hoping to book another event in late October, possibly a talk, Barn Dance and or quiz, and a second history walk in the summer with Rodney Hughes. In addition I will investigate further First Aid training which was requested at the AGM.

A ceilidh organised by Tony B has now been fixed for 31 October 2020 and Jane has also organised a short walk with Martin the Ranger for 12 September 2020.

11.  Treasurer’s report

As at 31 January the bank balance stands at £6353.11.  The Christmas lunches (weekend and mid week) were well attended and broke even.

12.  Membership secretary’s report

January 2020

At the end of December the total membership was slightly down again to 553 with only 2 joining.

However, in January we have already 5 new members this month.  Four live in Macclesfield and one lives in Crewe.

Another trend is having more members from other Cheshire groups walking with us particularly on our longer walks. A few of them have said they are attracted to our programme because of the number of walks we put on , and long walks which are at a good pace. 

13 Publicity report

Colin needs people to write up articles of their walks and send them to him along with a photo or two for entry in the paper and for our website.

There is little to add to the Publicity Report other than I am still writing articles which are published in the Macclesfield Express each week. I continue to write up article on group walks. It would be great if more people provided short article on walks which could go on our website.

14. Format of minutes

It was suggested that the members’ reports could be copied and pasted into the minutes rather than included as attachments.

15.  Website discussion

The current website was discussed from the viewpoint of new / potential members alighting on it.  Some parties felt that the walks within the next 7 days page which comes up would be exactly what potential members would want to see.  Some felt the About page was the better home page.  Both are easy to locate.

16. National Conference

Jane would be going to this along with Steve Butterfield who is Area Secretary.

17.  Chair’s report

It is ECRs  turn to attend National Conference which is on the fourth and fifth of April. I have circulated the committee and nobody has come forward to say they would like to attend. I am attending and have invited Steve to attend with me as I think it would be a good opportunity to discuss the future of the area. I think I might have to be nominated to attend but not sure perhaps we can do that anyway!

I think some of you will have noticed that we were asked to complete a group walks survey in one of the bulletins that came out from central office. Roger has completed this and for that I thank him. He did mention in communication that he would like a password protected area on the website. He has talked to me about this and we both think it would be a good idea and then things like the minutes of meeting could go in that area and not be available to anybody else to read. 

We are still in need of 2 committee members and someone to take charge of Lost Ways. 

18.  Diary dates

  • ECR AGM Saturday 14 November
  • Area AGM Saturday 30 November
  • Next meeting at Jane’s Tuesday 5 May at 1.30pm.

19.  Future action points

  • First Aid training to be booked through HO though actual training is done by St John’s Ambulance. (MS)
  • Gillian Kaye to be asked about repeating walk leader training as her previous training was excellent. (MS)
  • All to pursue new committee members (preferably two)
  • FP committee needs at least one new member.  A female on the committee may be a good thing.
  • More volunteers needed for footpath maintenance
  • Colin to pursue value for cost of subscription.
  • Volunteers to be pursued (by all!) for organising social events.  (Brian Griffiths will be great loss to the group.)
  • Walk leaders to be encouraged to write a report for Colin’s publicity as this may attract new members. 
  • Walk co-ordinators to remind leaders to put walks on website two weeks in advance.

Kathryn Carty – secretary

Frequently Asked Questions For New Walk Leaders

Frequently Asked Questions for New Walk Leaders  

The following Questions and Answers supplements the information provided for Walk Leaders published by the Ramblers Association. Walk Leaders Check List

I would like to find out more about leading a walk. Who do I contact?
ECR has a named coordinator for all the following programmes: Short Midweek Walks, Medium Midweek Walks, Weekend Short Walks, Weekend Medium Walks, Weekend Long Walks, Midweek Long Walks, Stroller Walks and Evening Walks. Each coordinator welcomes contacts from walkers who are willing to organise a walk. If you contact the Chair she will put you in touch with the organiser.
Will anyone help me with my first walk?
ECR have a number of volunteers who would be happy to work with you on your first walk. Please contact the Chair, Jane Gay, and she will put you in touch. 
Do I need to be able to read maps?
Being able to read a map is useful but not essential. There are lots of walks which provide pictures and descriptions of walks which are a really useful source for walk leaders. The Ramblers do provide Map Reading training if you wish to attend. This is advertised on the website and via email.
Where can I find a walk?
The Cheshire East Ramblers website under the Walks Planner Tab Walks Planner  provides a number of ideas for walks. There are also a range of books and other websites which are also a useful source.
Where do I find grid references and post codes for the start of my walk?
You can find this information on the ECR website under the Start Point tab. You can also look them up on the internet.
Do I need to recce my walk?
Yes this is essential.  It’s a good idea to ask a buddy to go with you.  It gives you the opportunity to check parking availability, the accuracy of the walk description, spot any potential hazards, timings and distance. 
Can I ask people to use public transport for my walk?
Yes. Walks can involve trains, buses and or trams. Include the information in your walk description and suggest that walkers bring money, bus passes, and railcards.
How do I advertise my walk and what information do I include?
You post details of your walk on the ECR website at LEAST TWO WEEKS before your walk. You click on the Notice Board Tab and click to post details of your walk. It is an easy programme to use. You need to include: the date, the length, the level of difficulty (easy, moderate, strenuous) the starting point including the post code and grid reference, parking costs if any, toilets if any,  a brief description of the route and any specific points about gradient, mud, etc. It’s helpful to look at others descriptions before you write yours.    
How do I grade my walk?             Walk leaders are asked to provide sufficient detail about their walk when they post                     it on the Notice Board so that potential walkers are aware of the level difficulty of the walk. For example; height gain, conditions underfoot or any potentially challenging terrain.
           Walks are graded as follows:                       Length: Short: approx. 5 – 7+ milesMedium: 8 – 10+  milesLong: 11+                     Degree of difficulty: Easy – mostly flat walking on good pathsModerate – this covers the majority of walks; there might well be a steep hill or two but it   will generally be on good paths in undulating terrainStrenuous – expect a fair bit of uphill walking, maybe even some mild scrambling.  We might leave paths for open country but not invariably             Stroller Walks:           These walks are: 3 – 4 miles on even ground with very limited ascents or descents and very few stiles
Can people take dogs on the walk?
It is the decision of the walk leader. If you feel that it is safe for people to do so, no live stock on the walk, then indicate this in your information. If you feel it would be a risk then state this clearly when you post your walk on the notice board.
Do I need a backmarker?
Yes you do need someone to walk at the back of the walkers to make sure the group doesn’t get lost.  It’s a good idea to share phone numbers if you can. When you’re walking you need to keep the backmarker in sight. You may need to stop until they come into view. It’s essential to make sure the backmarker knows when you turn off the path or cross roads. If you have a large group 30+ it’s a good idea to have a middle marker too.
Who do I ask to be a backmarker?
If the person who recced the walk with you is walking they are an ideal backmarker. If not then ask at the start of your walk. Someone will always volunteer. 
What equipment should I take on my walk?
Take a first aid kit, whistle, water, phone, map, walk instructions, plastic bag, emergency services contact numbers, the contact number for the Ramblers Association +44 (0)20 3961 3300.
What happens at the beginning of the walk?
Walks usually start at 10am. It’s a good idea to get there early.  Walkers generally gather well before the start time.  Gather walkers together at 9.50ish and introduce yourself. Give a brief verbal description of where you’re going.  Ask for someone to be a backmarker.  Count the group before you set off!
Should I have emergency contact numbers for all the walkers?
Walkers are encouraged to complete an In Case of an Emergency (ICE) card and carry it with them on their walks. You can have a set of these cards to give out at the beginning of your walks.
What do I do if someone turns up who hasn’t walked with ECR before?
It’s always helpful to ask at the beginning of the walk if there are any walkers new to ECR. Please ask them to introduce themselves to the group and give them a warm welcome. It’s worth checking in with them when you stop at any point. At the end of the walk ask them how they are and that you hope they manage to come on more walks.
What happens if no one turns up?
You can go home. Let the walk organiser for the walks know.
What happens if one or two people turn up?
You do the walk unless everyone else wants to go home.
Do walkers need to be members?
We don’t check membership cards. Members may bring a friend to try a walk or they can bring a visitor. The general rule of thumb is new walkers can try three walks before they join.
Do people take refreshments on a walk?
Leaders usually stop for coffee for 15 mins an hour after the start of the walk. Long and medium walkers take a packed lunch.  Build in a stop at a suitable place for each when you recce your walk.
Do I have to organise lunch for walkers?
Medium and long walkers take a packed lunch. Traditionally, the midweek short walkers like to go for a pub lunch after their walk.  If you can identify a pub as a starting point that’s ideal. Contact the pub to let them know you will be bringing a party in at lunchtime. Check either at the beginning of your walk or at coffee time who would like lunch and phone the pub with the numbers.
What happens if someone needs a comfort break?
If a walker needs a comfort break they need to let the backmarker or leader know when they step off the walk and return to the walk.
What happens if someone is ill on the walk?
If the person feels able to walk back to the beginning ask another member of the group to go with them and ask them to call you when they get back to the car. If someone is seriously ill contact the emergency services and report back to the walk co-ordinator.
What happens if I am ill on the walk?
You will have many experienced walkers on your walk who would be willing to lead the rest of the walk for you if they have your map and or written directions. It would be a good idea if someone walked back with you to the car or, in the event of a serious illness, calls the emergency services.
What happens if I have to cancel the walk on the day?
Log on to the ECR website – Notice Board Tab – click on the date and post cancelled.
What happens if I have to cancel the walk well ahead of the date?
Contact the walk organiser for the walk programme and they will try to find someone else to lead a walk.
What happens if I have to change the walk?
It may be necessary to change the details of an already posted walk,  maybe due to snowfall making road travel risky or because the leader is ill.  In this case a new message should be posted on the notice board making it clear that it replaces the original posting for that walk.  The programme coordinator will get an automatic email notification of the new posting and he will then liaise with the webmaster to alter the programme on the web site to indicate that the walk is either cancelled or changed and include the new details.  If midweek walk is involved the new details should also be emailed to appropriate walks coordinator, short, medium or long, so that they can circulate the message to their address lists.
What happens if someone has an accident on my walk?
Notify the ECR Secretary as soon as possible and complete an incident form within a maximum of 10 days. The form is sent to the ECR Secretary and they send the form to the Ramblers Association.
What do I do if someone leaves the walk?
Occasionally walkers may wish to leave the walk. They must let the walk leader know. If they walk on ahead of the leader they may also be deemed to have left the walk.
Who is insured on the walk?
For detailed information about insurance please visit the Ramblers Association website Insurance Toolkit
What do I do if I lose someone?
It is very rare to lose someone on a walk. The requirement to have a backmarker, and middle marker for a large group, should ensure that no one gets lost. If you do lose a member of your group you could ask for volunteers to walk back to the start to try to find the individual while you stay with the main party and continue with the walk. Ensure you have shared mobile numbers with the individuals who have agreed to walk back.  
What do I do at the end of my walk?
Ensure everyone gets to the end and thank people for coming. Text/email the walk organiser the number of people who attended your walk.
Can I share my experience with anyone? ECR encourages walk leaders to do a ‘write up’ for the local press and the website. Colin Park manages this process and his email is available from one of the committee members. The article needs to be 250-350 words with a photograph taken on the walk in a JPEG format. If you are unable to attach a photograph or if no photographs were taken Colin Park can add one from my library of pictures.
How do I access training and what is available?
Training events are provided by ECR and the Ramblers Association. The events are advertised on the website and circulated via email.
 Can I take photographs of my fellow walkers?
It is polite to ask walkers before you photograph them whether they wish to be included in your photo. If you intend to use your photo for publicity, or on social media, you should  let the walkers in your group know BEFORE you take the photo.
The Ramblers Association has a Safeguarding Young People and Adults Policy which can be accessed hereSafeguarding


Thank you to all those involved in organising these events, any suggestions or ideas about an event would be warmly welcomed. Please don’t hesitate to contact me on:

Maggie Swindells  07729327940 /01625 829671

Friday 21st February A talk about ‘The Clink’ – the story behind the restaurant at Styal Prison. at Macclesfield Tennis Club
Friday 20th March 1.30 pm Stockport Guided Walk with Judith Wilshaw followed by afternoon tea organised by Maggie Swindells
Friday 24th April to Sunday 26th April Long Walkers Weekend – Aberystwyth to be organised by Colin Park
 4th and 5th April   National Conference  Bristol
Friday 12Th April  Start of fortnightly Strollers’ walking programme
Thursday 14th May Provisional start of evening walks organised by Steve Hull
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June Weekend Away  Patterdale organised by Jane Gay
Thursday 25th June Coach Trip Settle organised by Anne Thompson
Saturday 4th July Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay
Friday 7th August to Sunday 9th August Long Walkers Weekend – Anglesey (exact location to be decided) to be organised by Steve Hull
Thursday 20th August Meal following final evening walk provisional booking at Farm Made, Rainow organised by Nick Wild
Saturday September 5th Coach Trip organised by Gina Thompson and Maggie Swindells
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th Sep Ambleside Weekend away – Andy Davies
Saturday 12th September (date change) Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay
26th September – 4th October Bollington Walking Festival
Saturday 31st October Ceilidh and Supper at the Victory Hall Mobberley  organised by Tony Battilana
Saturday 14th November 2020 ECR AGM Macclesfield Tennis Club
30th November 2020 Ramblers Association Area AGM
Saturday 5th December Christmas Carol short walk – Jenny Bordoli
Saturday 12th December Week End Christmas Lunch at The Windmill organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay.

‘The Clink’ a Talk for Members and Friends


A Talk for Members and Friends


“…serving thyme reduces reoffending…” 

The Clink Restaurant Styal (voted charity of the year in North East Cheshire), will talk about how the restaurant reduces reoffending rates with training and support, changing attitudes, transforming lives and creating second chances


 Macclesfield Tennis Club SK11 8LF

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, Keith Anderson

Maggie Swindells 16, Castle Hill Court, Prestbury, SK10 4UT  07729327940


Cheques made payable to RA East Cheshire Group

Online Payment     Event Ref: CLK

Bank: Unity Trust      Account Code: 20129929     Sort Code: 60-83-01


Free Leadership Training


Walk Leadership Essentials is a full-day FREE course for volunteer walk leaders – helping you to develop the skills and confidence you need to plan and lead inspiring group walks. 

The course covers the roles and responsibilities of a walk leader, the practicalities of planning and leading a walk, and some of the scenarios you may encounter when out leading group walks. We will run through everything you need to know about insurance and safeguarding to ensure that your walks are safe and enjoyable for all.  And there will be plenty of time to ask questions, and share experiences and ideas with your fellow walk leaders!

Both new and existing walk leaders are welcome to attend – no prior knowledge or experience is necessary.

For further information click Leadership Training Ramblers Association

There are two training sessions in Manchester this January. To book click this link BOOKING

Ramblers East Cheshire Group Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 23rd November 2019 at Macclesfield Tennis Club (subject to approval at the AGM 2020)

There were 40 members that signed the attendance register.  Welcome  The chair welcomed members to the AGM and thanked them for attending. 

1. Apologies for absence  The following members sent their apologies: Audrey Sheen, John Edwards, David Gylee, Dave Barraclough, Judith Anderson, Andy Davies, Alan Catherall and Michael Murphy.  

2. Minutes of the AGM held on 24tth November 2018 The minutes were accepted unanimously as a true and fair record of this meeting (proposed by Helen Richardson and seconded by Sue Munslow) 

3. Matters arising from the AGM held on 24th November 2018

To clarify the question asked regarding the insurance provided by the Ramblers. All ramblers are covered by what is known as liability insurance when on an ECR group walk. Further information can be found at the Ramblers website ( where there is an Insurance Guide (Login in your Account and go to Home >Volunteer zone >Support & Development alphabetically sorted > volunteer toolkits > Insurance toolkit and download the latest Insurance Guide)

4. Annual Reports from Officers (posted in the website for reference) 

4.1 Chair 

During her address to the meeting the Chair highlighted:  a) Walk programme: this year the Stroller Walks have become very successful and well attended. However, the midweek and weekend walks have run with radical variations in the number of walkers. There has been much discussion about this at the Committee and amongst the members. In the light of the statistical data gathered in 2019 so far the Committee decided to leave the programme unchanged as there was a diversity of opinions that no clear way forward has evolved.

 All the volunteers were thanked for their contribution to this amazing and varied programme of walks. The Walk Coordinators are always looking for new volunteers to lead walks (see (d) below). b) The work carried out by the Footpath Committee was highlighted and thanked for the work they do. c) There has been a change in the responsibility for posting information in the ECR Website (Maggie Swindells) and for circulating communications as bulk emails to the membership (Steve Hull). The Committee are looking for volunteers with Facebook, WhatsApp and/or Instagram knowledge so that we can make use of these media in our means of communication to help to attract younger members. d) Several social and training events were organized during 2019. The walk Leader introductory course run in July was a success and the Committee may run another course in 2020 and depending on demand will run them annually. e) The Committee are looking to co-opt two volunteers to join. f) Finally, everyone who have volunteered and contributed to make a success of ECR were acknowledged and appreciated very much. There were no questions from the floor.

4.2 Treasurer 

Key points made during the address were:  a) A surplus of £1082.47 with our bank balance standing at £5882.48 which is up on last year figure of £4801. ECR remains in a robust financial position and has sufficient provision available to invest in footpath improvement schemes once they have been identified. b) Our funding for the year from Ramblers was £1200 (up from £800 requested last year) c) Our self-funded activities generated a surplus of £63 d) ECR received £610 in commissions from Ramblers Holidays which is a sizeable increase from previous years. Donations totalling £200 were made to our local Mountain Rescue Teams (Kinder, Buxton, Glossop and Oldham). ECR also donated £500 to Cheshire East Council to help fund the repair of Harrop Bridge. e) The vast majority of members are now using internet payments. A question from a member was asked relating to expenses incurred by walk leaders at weekend away events (ie. Recce charges). A rough framework was discussed at the last Committee meeting in November and details will be finalized at the next Committee meeting due in February 2020.

4.3 Membership Secretary 

The following members that had passed away in the past year were remembered with a minute silence: Derek Thornley, Nora Shercliff and Gabriel Drew.

 Since the last AGM our membership numbers have gone down from 593 to 566 in line with national figures. Our group are actively trying to recruit new members by leaving publicity leaflets in local leisure centres, medical centres and libraries. Central Office have started a campaign to keep new members by providing guidance to the local groups in the country (see report in the website for details).  The need for members to keep their personal details up to date was emphasised to ensure that the ECR group members list which is issued monthly by Central Office is up to date – changers can only be done by the individual login into his/her Account in the Ramblers website. It is important to update any change in an email address immediately so that the change appears in the monthly membership list as the list is used to update the bulk email service (used to send ECR communications to our members) on a monthly basis. There were no questions from the floor.

4.4 Social & Events Secretary 

A full and varied programme of events was provided to our members, which were well supported. Our social programme depends so much on the generosity of members who are prepared to give up their time to provide events for all of us and they were thanked on behalf of all the membership for their time, enthusiasm,             imagination and continued support. We are looking for volunteers to run a Weekend Away in 2020. There were no questions from the floor. 

4.5 Footpath Committee Chairman

 In the absence of Dave Barraclough, Neil Collie stood in his place to answer any questions arising from the report (posted in the website for reference). This year has been an active but fairly routine year for the Footpath Committee activities. The significant work done by Colin Park in the listing of potential Lost Ways across Cheshire was acknowledged as he is now standing down from managing this project on behalf of ECR. There were no questions from the floor.

4.6 Publicity Officer

This year has seen walk articles appearing in the Macclesfield Express on all but one week. Walk articles from anyone leading walks are welcome, especially if it is a new or unfamiliar area (instructions on the format of an article are given in the report posted in the website). In addition, walk articles are now posted in our website for those members that do not have access to the newspaper. There were no questions from the floor.  

5. Other Reports 

5.1 Footpath Maintenance Projects Team (coordinated by Brian Richardson)

The Team has carried out one project during this year – a major path re-instatement on National Trust land in Alderley Edge. The Coordinator hopes to engage the Team in several tasks in 2020.  There were no questions from the floor. 5.2 ECR Walk Statistics (posted in the website for reference)   In the light of the statistical analysis available for 2019 the Committee have decided to leave our extensive and varied Walk Programme format unchanged – see 4.1 (a) above. The work done by Ralph Atherton and Andy Davies was acknowledged and appreciated. Ralph will not be involved in the collection and data crunching anymore and this task will be done by Andy from now on.

6. Election of Officers and Committee

The following stood for re-election and were elected unopposed in block by a show of hands: Jane Gay (Chair), Colin Finlayson (Treasurer), Sue Munslow (Membership Secretary), Maggie Swindells (Social & Events Secretary), Dave Barraclough (Footpath Committee representative), Colin Park (Publicity Officer) and Keith Anderson (Committee Member). Kathryn Carty put forward her name for election to the vacant position of Secretary (duly proposed and seconded). There were no other nominations received by the cut-off date so Kathryn was unanimously elected by a show of hands. The Committee are seeking to co-opt two additional volunteers to join.  In addition, there is a vacancy for a volunteer to take on the management of the Lost Ways project. The Chair thanked the outgoing Secretary for the work done during the last 3 years.

7. Appointment of Independent Examiner (Auditor of Accounts)

Ken Hobbs was reappointed unanimously by a show of hands.

8. Motions None

9. Any other Business None

The meeting closed at 3 pm. 

Adrian Flinn – ECR Committee Secretary 9th December 2019 

Dates of meetings to be held in 2020 (venues to be confirmed in late summer):

ECR 2020 AGM – date to be confirmed

The Area 2020 AGM –      date to be confirmed

Long Walkers Weekend Away – Aberystwyth – 25th/26th April 2020

For the fourth year running I will be leading a ‘Long Walkers’ weekend and next year I am using Aberystwyth as a base.

Two linear walks will be on offer and details are as follows.

Saturday 25th April.

We catch the bus (either Trawscymru 1 or 5) from close to Aberystwyth Railway Station southwards along the coast to Llanon (Central Hotel) where we will return to Aberystwyth by following a lovely section of the Wales Coast Path. Distance 12 miles; grade moderate.

Sunday 26th April.

Our walk will start in Aberystwyth and follow the Wales Coast Path north to the edge of Borth where we will turn inland to follow quiet lanes, tracks and paths via Llandre to Bow Street. Distance 10.5 miles; grade moderate. (This walk will require a ‘car drivers only’ car shuttle of approximately 4 miles between Aberystwyth and Bow Street prior to the walk starting).

For anyone who prefers a ‘medium length walk’. Both these walks are tailored to suit anyone wishing not to walk the full distance. On the Saturday walk, buses can be caught back to Aberystwyth from the village of Blaenplwyf which lies about one mile from the coastal path via field paths or alternately the long walk can by joined from Llanrhystud. On Sunday, a train can be caught back from Borth Station to Aberystwyth.

I will have all bus and train timings prior to each walk.


Please book your own accommodation for the weekend and when this is done please advise Colin Park – E-mail

I will need to know where you are staying and for how many nights.

There is not a vast amount of accommodation in Aberystwyth but details can be found on, and Airbnb. There is a Premier Inn in the town centre and Park Lodge Hotel on the outskirts of the town.


We can decide this nearer the time. Some of you may want to go to an ‘Indian Restaurant’ or similar. This can be discussed when I know who is going.

Thank you

Colin Park

East Cheshire Ramblers Group Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Monday 11th November 2019

East Cheshire Ramblers Group Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Monday 11th November 2019

1. Present

Jane Gay – Chair

Colin Finlayson – Treasurer

Sue Munslow – Membership Secretary

Kathryn Carty

Keith Anderson

Adrian Flinn – Secretary

David Barraclough and Maggie Swindells

2. Matters arising from last meeting (held on 2 September 2019)

2.1 The “value for the cost of the subscription”. Not yet raised with Central Office. Action: Colin Finlayson to report at next meeting

2.2 Sharing car usage through a dedicated App created by RA. Not a Central Office priority as they have other more important IT projects on going.  The Committee will encourage groups of individuals to set up WhatsApp groups to contact each other and arrange lifts to the walks starting points. Action: Jane Gay will raise at the forthcoming 2019 AGM

2.3 Safeguarding Information (children and vulnerable adults). Pending – forward to next meeting. Action: Secretary to add to agenda

2.4 Walk grade descriptions (given in our ECR website under “About “ tab and FAQ’s document to be updated to reflect any changes). Not implemented yet to allow for further discussions to take place and to be finalized at next Committee meeting. Action: Jane Gay

2.5 Continuity of future Footpath Maintenance project work. No contact with the Project Coordinator yet and this matter will be discussed at the next Committee meeting following the AGM. Action: Jane Gay

2.6 Contact with Central Office on Lost Ways.No contact with Jack Cornish made yet. Action: Dave Barraclough to make contact and report at next Committee meeting

In addition, the Committee will request the outgoing Project Coordinator of our ECR Lost Ways project to set out the next steps needed to take the project forward and help to recruit a replacement. Action: Adrian Flinn to contact Colin Park with this request

3. New Issues

3.1 Review and finalise arrangements for the 2019 AGM. Everything is ready for the AGM on 23rd November 2019.

3.2 Review of Recce charges. A rough framework was discussed and final details will be finalized/approved at the next Committee meeting. Action: Colin Finlayson /Jane Gay

3.3 Fundraising activities for charities under the banner of ECR. Two members want to independently organize sponsor walks next summer to raise money for The Christie to build an annex in Macclesfield to serve cancer patients in East Cheshire and other surrounding counties. The Secretary contacted Central Office (CO) for advice on what ECR can or cannot do to help under the Rambles Association (RA) rules on fund raising for other charities. The questions posed to RA and their response in given in the Appendix. The Committee discussed the advice and agreed that the guidelines given were very clear. Action: Adrian Flinn will forward the information in the Appendix to the two members for their information and so they can understand the scope of the support that ECR can provide to the two individuals to raise money through sponsor walks for this very worthy cause.

Date of next meeting

Monday 3rd February 2020 at 1.30 pm at Chair house

Adrian Flinn – Secretary (12.11.2019)


From: Adrian Flinn <>

Subject: East Cheshire Ramblers – Fund raising 

Date: 31 October 2019 at 16:28:48 GMT



I would be grateful if you could provide advice on a question of sponsored walks . Our Committee would like to know for the avoidance of doubt whether under the rules of the Ramblers Association (RA)  we can support two of our members that they want to organise independently a series of sponsored walks next summer to raise money for a very worthy cause (not RA). The organisers wish to advertise these walks under the banner of our East Cheshire Ramblers Group (ECR) and use our bulk email system to inform our members and post the walks details in our website. If this is not permitted under the RA rules what are we allowed to do to help the organisers to raise money for a worthy cause not related to the RA.

I look forward to receiving your response on this matter.


Adrian Flinn

ECR Committee Secretary 

James Austin (Ramblers)  Nov 6, 11:17 GMT  Hi Adrian,

Thanks for your email. 

These situations are always tricky – we always want to support good causes but as a charity we are tightly bound by the charity commissions rules on fundraising for other charities.

The charity commissions rules state the the Ramblers state that we can only fund-raise for other charities provided that it helps deliver our own mission – so you need to consider the objectives of the charity that you’re planning to raise funds for.  If their objectives are consistent with ours, then it is appropriate to fund-raise for them (an example would be raising funds for the South West Coast Path Association to maintain the coastal path).  However if the charity’s objectives are different, it isn’t appropriate to raise funds for them.  This applies to all fundraising, regardless of the scale or activity.

We can also help charities who do not share our charitable objectives to put on events – but we’d urge caution.  For example, we can share our expertise (by organising walks), as this is part of our role in providing information, advice and guidance to enable people to go walking.  However any such events must be covered by the insurance of other charity.

If the organisers in this case wish to advertise the walk under the banner of ‘East Cheshire Ramblers’ and run the event under Ramblers insurance etc. then I believe this would be in contravension of the charity commission rules. If they chose to run the walks seperately, but you wanted to advertise the event (but not insure, run or organise it) then I believe that this would be allowed within the charity commission rules. Alternatively, you could organise a joint fundraising event – for example with 50% of proceeds would be donated to the Ramblers, and 50% to your partner charity – and this would be fine of the Ramblers to promote and organise.

I hope that helps? If you have any questions or issues do let us know.

Best Wishes,

James James Austin
Delivery Officer

East Cheshire Ramblers Group Minutes of the Committee meeting held on 2 September 2019

East Cheshire Ramblers Group Minutes of the Committee meeting held on 2 September  2019

1. Present

Jane Gay – Chair

Dave Barraclough – Footpath Committee Chairman

Sue Munslow – Membership Secretary

Kathryn Carty

Maggie Swindells – Social and Events Secretary

Adrian Flinn – Secretary

 Colin Finlayson and Keith Anderson

2. Matters arising from last meeting

All outstanding issues have been completed except:

2.1 The “value for the cost of the subscription”. Not raised with Central Office yet. Action: Colin Finlayson to report at next meeting

2.2 Sharing Car usage. Central Office contacted with the proposal and await a response. Action: Jane Gay will report to Committee

3. New Issues

3.1 Safeguarding information (children and vulnerable adults): The guidance for walk leaders available in the RA website was discussed and noted as we need to be familiar with this guidance and ensure that it is implemented in the walks organized by ECR if there are young people under 18 and/or vulnerable adults in a walk. The existence/access of the guidance documents will be incorporated in the “Frequently asked questions” posted in our website. Action: Maggie Swindells will amend the FAQ’s document.

Also Walk Coordinators will be informed about the existence of the guidance and how to access the information in the RA website and to let their Walk Leaders know as well so that they can become familiar with the guidance in the rare occasion that it may apply during a walk. Action: Jane Gay

4. Walks Programme

4.1 Walk grade descriptions (given in our ECR website under “About” tab). After some discussion it was agreed to update the definitions to bring them in line with current practice. The Stroller walks description is required as well. The new descriptions will be:


  • Short: 5-7 miles (approx.)
  • Medium: 7-10 miles (approx.)
  • Long: 11+ miles


  • Easy: Walks on paths which are reasonably level with an easy pace. No great ascents or descents
  • Moderate: Walks on paths that involve rougher ground and there are some ascents and height gained
  • Strenuous: Walks on rough ground with possible strenuous climbs and/or descents with a faster pace

Stroller Walks

3- 4 miles on even ground with very limited ascents or descents and very few stiles

Action: (1) Maggie Swindells will add the revised descriptions in the FAQ’s document that is posted in our website. Also, in this document Walk Leaders will be encouraged to put a description of the terrain and ascents in feet that are likely to be encountered in their walk. (2) Jane Gay will ask the webmaster to amend the current descriptions to reflect the agreed changes and include Stroller Walks

4.2 Midweek Medium Walks. Further discussions took place in the light of new/latest statistical data provided by the Walk Coordinator regarding attendance on these walks that we offer twice weekly to our membership.  The Committee agreed that we should consider this issue again in the light of the figures for the whole of this year and in the meantime the frequency of these walks remain as they are. It was noted that volunteers offering to lead these medium midweek walks are not coming forward and there are some gaps in the 2nd half of this year programme. Action: Jane Gay will ask the Walk Coordinator to record as part of the statistical analysis the number of cancelled walks because of lack of leaders during 2019

5. Reports from Officers

5. 1 Chair

Noted. The Walk Leaders training course (basic) will be repeated next year (date to be decided) to encourage new volunteers to come forward. See Appendix 1

5.2 Treasurer

Noted. See Appendix 2

5.3 Membership

Noted. See Appendix 3

5.4 Social & Events

Noted. The Social Programme draft for the 1H 2020 was circulated for information. See Appendix 4

5.5 Footpaths

Noted. Two items raised were discussed under 7 below. See Appendix 5

5.6 Publicity

An article is being put in the Macclesfield Express each week. No update on Lost Paths project. The Committee would like to have the articles published in the Macc Express posted in our website regularly on a weekly basis.  Action: Adrian Flinn will contact Colin Park.

6. Any other Business

6.1 Continuity of future Footpath Maintenance project work. The Committee agreed that continuity of this essential work was essential and provided a valuable service to our membership and wider walking public, in particular, the vegetation clearance of the footpaths in our patch. Action: Jane Gay will contact the Footpath Maintenance Project Coordinator to discuss some of the ideas  which came out of the Committee discussion and to ascertain the Coordinator views as to how we can achieve this aim

6.2 Newspaper articles on (a) Lost Ways and (b) Cycling on footpaths (background is given in Appendix 5). It was agreed that in (a) we should seek what progress as been achieved so far by Central Office. Action: Dave Barraclough will contact Jack Cornish who is the manager of this project at RA. Item (b) was noted and no action is necessary.

Date of next meeting

Monday 11th November 2019 at 1.30 pm at Chair house. The agenda for this meeting will be mainly to discuss/finalise the arrangements of the AGM

Adrian Flinn – Secretary (9.9.2019)


The walk leaders training course on the 4th of July was excellent and fully subscribed. We had six experienced leaders including our leader Gillian Kay who had done all of the planning and had met with us so we knew exactly what we were doing on the day. It seemed to go very well and was much appreciated. in the end all on the waiting list of 10 were offered places. Several people were unable to attend, the  2 main reasons being work commitments and the decision that the course was not the right one for them. We had emphasised the fact that it was a beginners course and several people decided that their map reading skills were better than those we were teaching on the course. We should discuss what we want to do next year. If the aim is to get people leading walks who are unsure about map reading,  then, I think the course was perfect. We could perhaps follow it up with some information about GPS and apps.

On Saturday 16th May 2020 I’ve agreed the all 3 walks will start from or near Macclesfield. See below. I’ve told weekend coordinators.

I am contacting you with an idea to help promote physical activity and the opportunities offered by the outdoors to residents of Macclesfield.

On Saturday 16th May 2020, the second Macclesfield Bikeathon will take place. We have an idea to build an even bigger event around this. With different events going on, on the same day to promote a wide range of outdoor activities for all.

I will be approaching many groups across the town associated with physical activity.

Would East Cheshire Ramblers be interested in organising a special event on the day? The detail can be ironed out closer to the time but I was thinking of a guided walk or something like that?

Please let me know your thoughts and if this is something that you would like to do, we will organise a meeting in September. 

With best wishes

I was talking to Martin Dunkley the other day and he was showing me the Facebook and WhatsApp that they use with his Spanish walking group. Facebook and ECR do not seem to be in any way active. I have spoken to Andy Davies, who I think set up the original Facebook link and also Roger but neither of them seem to know anything about how to create a more active Facebook and WhatsApp link which would only be available to members. I’m wondering if anybody on the committee has any working knowledge of either of these things.

I sent David Gylee the statistics which I circulated to you all.  Below is his response which I think we need to discuss. Maybe he will put a motion to the AGM


Funnily enough I went with Andy Davies for a curry recce on Friday evening at Bengal Tiger Lily and we had a chat about walk numbers amongst other things. I asked him to let me have the numbers for 2019, so he sent me the latest figures.

There is a very clear trend from these figures from Ralph taken together with the 2019 figures to date.

As the group ages, as we most certainly are doing, the trend is towards Short walks, these are becoming the most popular by far.

I was particularly interested in Medium walks for 2019, and can clearly see that the mean average is falling from previous years. So, Tuesday and Wednesday Medium walks average at 9 each, Thursday averages at 8. There are some very low statistics, 1, 2, 3, 4 all occur and some on more than one occasion.

Also noticeable is that when there is a high number – 19 was the highest, then this is usually balanced by a low number on the alternative Medium walk day. So, weather may be a factor, or the walk leader may be a factor, or the start point, but it looks clear that medium walkers decide to go on a certain day, and then ignore the other day in that week.

Added together, the average works out at 17, an easily manageable number for one walk leader.

I would suggest that we go back to one Medium walk per week, alternating between Wednesday and Thursday, with the Long walk alternating between Tuesday and Wednesday. So, for example one week would have Long walk on Tuesday, Medium walk Wednesday, next week Long walk on Wednesday, Medium walk on Thursday.   On the other hand, short walks average out in 2019 for 21 on Tuesdays, and 19 on Wednesday, so could be split into two midweek walks, although organisation and a shortage of walk leaders may prove to be difficult to overcome.

What I personally think would be a very good solution, would be to have Long, Medium, and Short walks on different days each week, but then rotating on those days over a 3 week cycle.


Week 1

Tuesday – Long

Wednesday – Medium

Thursday – Short

Week 2

Tuesday – Short

Wednesday – Long

Thursday – Medium

Week 3

Tuesday – Medium

Wednesday – Short

Thursday – Long

but is probably far too radical for the members!! David

I will attempt to get this year’s medium walk numbers from Andy and share those with you as well as ask his opinion on the situation.

Frank and I Attended David Derek Thornley’s funeral and it was great to see so many of the long serving members there. The Ramblers must’ve been represented by at least 30 people so that was good. His family were lovely and have given me some maps and booklets to see if anybody wants them. I’ll share these at the meeting and then take them to the AGM

Re AGM I have a homemade cake already promised from Ruth Harrison!! 

Jane Gay


Brief report as follows :

Bank balance at 26/8/2019 – £6068

Bank Charges to date -£5.70

2019/2020 Budget – This was submitted on 26th July to RA requesting £1600 funding for ECR .We will be notified in late September if our request has been accepted.

Annual Return 2019 :

Annual Year End accounts package has been issued with a return date deadline of 21st October .

Colin Finlayson


August 2019 Membership Report 

ECR Membership Numbers

576    Jan

577    Feb

575    March

575    April

574    May 

562     June

557     July

558     August 

Numbers of new members joining each month always fluctuate slightly but averaging about 3 at present compared with about 4 last year. 

Early summer indicated a drop in membership .  Looking at those three months  from 22 not renewing…..

1/3    did not renew after a year

1/3    not renewing had been members from 2 to 10 years. 

This trend is shown nationally …there are many reasons

1.  people retiring later

2. more people may be walking but there are a large number of other groups where membership may be free.   For example the growth of AIR and U3A groups.  Congleton U3A has at least 4 groups representing 100 – 200 walkers.  

ACTION…..all new members trying out walks should be welcomed by all.  Membership secretory to order more leaflets for places such as the Macclesfield  Medical Centre. 

Recent email received….

Membership recruitment – please note the new booklet, adverts, joining process and staff 

We want members to feel part of our Ramblers community from the moment they join us. In addition to the friendly welcome they’ll receive locally, we’ve created a welcome booklet, which, from early October, will be sent to new members soon after they join, alongside their welcome letter and membership card. The booklet will help them understand how to make the most of their membership: introducing the range of benefits that they can enjoy and reminding them of ways to get involved with their local groups, volunteer and campaign with us. 

This Summer we’ve been trialling new Facebook adverts to help us recruit more of Britain’s walkers into our membership. We’ve been testing different messages to see which have most appeal. Encouragingly, the adverts trialled to date have been successful, especially the one which promotes our taster walks: where a non-member can try out up to three walks for free before joining the Ramblers.

We have also been making improvements to our joining process. With more than 85% of new members joining online, we want to make sure that this process is as easy as possible. From mid-September, we will be making some significant improvements to the online join process, including sending a follow-up email to anyone who doesn’t complete the whole process, asking for feedback and giving details on how to contact us if they’ve been having problems joining online.

And we know you will join us in welcoming Nicky Teegan this month as our new membership acquisition officer – a vital new role as we collectively aspire to grow our membership community. Nicky joins us from Cyclehoop and is looking forward to working with you to support your membership recruitment initiatives across Great Britain.  We will continue to keep you informed of progress. Please send any feedback to our head of membership

Sue Munslow


Social Secretary’s Report 2nd September 2019

Thanks go to all our fellow ramblers who continue to co-ordinate walks, lead walks and provide social events for our group. Their continued support and enthusiasm ensures that we have a varied and interesting programme which we can all access and enjoy. 

Three visits to the Blackden Trust home of the author Alan Garner and his family, and organised by Brian Griffith and Colin Park, were a real treat. The visits, which were all very well attended, offered those who went a real insight into the author’s passion about local history and what life was like for his children growing up in a Tudor house with no amenities!  Thanks to Brian and Colin for all their hard work in organising the events.

Rodney Hughes led his Wincle History walk from the Ship Inn at Wincle on the 2nd August. Fifteen walkers attended and the feedback was very positive. Those who attended suggested that more history walks would be a good addition to our annual programme and Rodney has kindly agreed to lead another walk next summer.

Thanks go to Steve Hull for organising the evening walk programme which provides walkers with a great opportunity to make the most of walking in the longer summer days. Thanks too to Nick Wild for organising the meal after the final walk.

The coach trip to Conway has been advertised and we’ve had a positive response with 38 confirmed bookings so far. Another advert will go out at the beginning of September.

Three Christmas meals have been booked and all are preceded by a walk, details on the Social Calendar. 

Andy Davies has contacted me to say that he has booked a Curry Night on Thursday 24th October at the Bengal Tiger Lily, at Monks Heath.

The booking in February for an ECR Talk about the story behind The Clink, the restaurant at Styal Prison, has been confirmed.

Offers to organise or lead future events, coach trips and or weekends away would be warmly welcomed!

Maggie Swindells

22nd August 2019



There has not been a Footpath Committee Meeting since the last ECR Committee Meeting but business has been continuing as normal with various e mail actions in progress. I will be attending the bi-annual Cheshire East Footpath Secretaries Meeting in the morning of September 2nd  – directly before the ECR Meeting and will report verbally on any key issues.

1. The last ECR Meeting was unable to discuss suggestions regarding the long term continuity of the Project Team and I would like to encourage discussion to reach a conclusion. My previous suggestions remain unchanged, as follows. It might be timely for the main ECR Committee to consider how this work can be ensured of continuity in the future. My personal view is that a small group of 2 to 4 people might co-ordinate the work (not necessarily as a formal Committee). This would help to ensure that we have continuity of experience as members come and go from this work – as happens with the Footpath Committee.

2. It was timely that Jane Gay and Sue Munslow circulated links of press articles regarding Lost ways and Cyclists on Footpaths respectively. I have concerns on both these topics and will be raising these also at the Cheshire FP Secretaries Meeting. I would like to discuss these under AOB at the Meeting.

Briefly my concerns are:-

Lost Ways

Our  useful meeting last January with Jack Cornish, the Project Manager for ‘Don’t Lose Your Way’ learnt about the project but also urged that the costs of claiming and establishing new paths need to be taken into account. He agreed to take this into consideration. It still appears that costs are not being considered at all. One enthusiastic Rambler in Suffolk has submitted more than 800 applications for new paths – all at the cost of the local PROW department’s limited resources. 

I will be updating the Lost Ways situation across Cheshire at my meeting of Footpath Secretatires.

Cycling on Footpaths

About the same time as this article I saw a TV news item by the British Cycling encouraging the formal opening of all footpaths to cyclists. The background pictures of numbers of mountain bikers on muddy footpaths were dreadful! I have also recently heard Peak District cycling groups promoting routes across paths in the Peak District – which is obviously illegal at present. The Ramblers policy seems much too weak “Let’s discuss each case” and they should be more proactive to stop illegal use, much as they did against the use of 4×4 vehicles on bridleways.

I suggest we might discuss these views and possibly pass our conclusions to the other Cheshire Ramblers Groups and onwards to Central Office.

3. I have listed a few points of interest from the ongoing work of the Footpath Committee that illustrate what we are regularly doing.

  1. SEMMMS Road – completion of outstanding commitments for footpath access points. This is a protracted actionled by Neil Collie, where we are maintaining pressure on CE PROW and the SEMMS contract company to fulfil their various commitments for adequate access points and footpaths along this road.
  2. Proposed deletion Rainow FP15/Kettleshulme FP23 – another protracted problem!! We previously reported that PROW had recommended refusal of this application to the CE ROW Committee and hoped that this would allow proper reinstatement of the footpath (notably a new bridge).  Unfortunately the landowner has appealed to the Secretary of State and there will now be a public enquiry. We are not heavily involved but we will probably re-state our opposition to the proposed deletion.
  3. Link with Project Team – the Committee has already been made aware of the Project Team completing the clearance of the overgrown Alderley Edge FP2 in Clock House Wood of Alderley Edge National Trust. The work was coordinated between Brian Richardson and Nick Brearley, arising directly from Nick joining the Footpath Committee and using the Inspection Database to identify a useful task. We hope to continue this approach with Nick’s   efforts. I hope Brian Richardson can produce a short publicity article to pass to Colin Park on this work. It is worth quoting Nick’s comments “I led a long walk yesterday which included FP2. I must say that I can’t remember a better waymarked path and the clearance and level adjustments worked very well, allowing easy progress. Chris Munslow was on hand to give some background information about the work involved. There were hopeful signs that the path is being used and that the time was well spent.”
  4. Footpath Problems reported – a small number of problems have been reported over the last 3 months, either via Central Office, from local members of the public or ECR members. Advice is given on these and action taken with PROW as necessary. Details are not described her but one useful example can be described. A bridge on a path at Sutton was washed away in the bad weather and reported to us. By the time it was raised with PROW, they had already closed the path and started arrangements to replace the bridge. However, the limitations of their publicity process were demonstrated. Our knowledge of this problem was able to alert a Walk Leader (Teresa Marshall) to re-route her planned walk. We may decide to renew discussions with PROW over the way they show all types of closures on their website.
  5. Annual Footpath Inspection The annual inspection has been fully organised by Tony Battilana and is now in progress. We expect many inspectors will leave their inspection until close to the September 27th deadline – then we will be busy with our analysis before the ECR AGM. A few minor problems have been raised with Tony.

Dave Barraclough

26th June 2019