If you come across any problems affecting a Public Right of Way in Cheshire East complete the REPORTING A PROBLEM FORM on the Cheshire East website. Type or cut and paste the web address below into your browser:
Then click ONLINE PROBLEM REPORT TO ACCESS THE FORM.
The site provides access to an interactive map so that you can say precisely where the problem is.
It’s useful to take a photograph of the issue, to add to the information, which you can then upload to the site.
The first Stroller Walk of 2021 was blessed with glorious weather. Fifteen walkers joined the gentle stroll which started at Redesmere, where local legend has it that the lake once had a floating island, and continued past the sailing club before crossing the A34 onto the Capesthorn Estate. The estate is still owned by the Bromley-Davenport family and the house, built in the Tudor revival style, now offers events, wedding venues and conferences. From there we followed quiet country lanes, past a crop of ‘Honey Berry Bushes’ which are being cultivated on organic land off Congleton Lane.
The route then took us past Blake House Farm, a famous local cheese maker, before re-joining the A34 and on to our return at Redesmere.
The Stollers Walks programme, which is designed for members who require short, flat and easy walks, will commence on the 23rd April and will run fortnightly until the 1st October.
PLEASE NOTE ALL STROLLER WALKS START AT 10.30am.
Please see the ECR Website for dates, leaders and more information about the location and starting points for the walks. Maggie Swindells is co-ordinating the programme this year – contact details are mobile 07729327940 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ralph Atherton is coordinating the evening walks programme this year. Walks will begin on the 13th May and will run until the middle of August. Please see the ECR Website for dates, leaders and more information about the location and starting points for the walks.
The ECR Social Calendar has been updated and key dates are set out below. If you feel you would like to offer to run or host and event please don’t hesitate to contact me. As always the success of the programme is down to the generous support and contributions of our members.
|APRIL 2021 EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS SOCIAL CALENDAR |
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 email@example.com
07729327940 /01625 829671
|Monday 22nd February 7.30||Zoom Quiz led by Steve Hull|
|Monday 22nd March 7.30||Zoom Mindfulness led by Marion Duff|
|Monday 29th March 7.30||Zoom Macclesfield Canal Presentation led by Duncan Learmond|
|Saturday April 17th||Ramblers Association General Council Meeting via ZOOM|
|Monday 19th April 7.30||An Audience with Nicol Swinnerton PROW Officer Cheshire East|
|Monday 17th May TBC||Zoom Cheshire Wildlife Trust|
|TBC||1.30 pm Stockport Guided Walk with Judith Wilshaw organised by Maggie Swindells|
|23rd April to 1st October||Start of fortnightly Strollers’ walking programme organised by Maggie Swindells|
|Thursday 13th May||Start of evening walks organised by Ralph Atherton|
|Friday 18th to Sunday 20th Jun||Weekend Away Patterdale organised by Jane Gay|
|Sunday 8th August||Rosie Walk and lunch at the Boddington Arms/ Hickory Smokehouse Organised by Gina Thompson|
|Friday 17th to Sunday 19th Sep||Ambleside Weekend away – Andy Davies|
|Saturday 20th November 2021||ECR AGM|
|September 25th to October 2nd||Bollington Walking Festival|
|TBC November 2021||Cheshire East Area AGM|
|Saturday 4th December||Christmas Carol (Carol service still to be confirmed) short walk Jenny Bordoli|
Start time 3.00 pm
Jane Gay – chair
Dave Barraclough – footpath committee chair
Kathryn Carty – secretary
Sue Munslow – membership secretary
Maggie Swindells – social secretary
Colin Finlayson – treasurer
Keith Anderson – lost ways
- Apologies and attendance
All committee members present.
- Minutes of the last meeting
Previous minutes approved.
- Matters arising from last meeting
- a) Maggie – Slow Ways – nothing to report since last meeting.
- b) Dave – re footpath inspections – a conversation was held with Head Office (HO) in which he pointed out that there were no government rules restricting one person walking so they were clearly able to continue with local inspections. HO didn’t change their mind though rationale was unclear. Dave took the view that activities were recommencing soon so not worth pursuing.
- c)Colin – permissive paths – Colin had spoken with John Goodman and had précised a document prepared by John which has yet to be finalised. Dave Barraclough has received a copy. This document will provide guidance on the process to follow which includes first of all providing the committee with details for approval before any work is done on a potential permissive path.
Alan Catherall had secured a permissive FP in Wincle with the farmer’s agreement which added a loop to a right of way. Dave had wondered whether this should be referred to HO in case there were any implications for Ramblers. No maintenance costs fall on the FP owner. Permissive paths effectively impose duties on Ramblers in the same way Public Rights of Way do on Cheshire East, such as maintenance of stiles and footpath. Dave doesn’t recall a stile on the Wincle permissive path and the farmer just didn’t want any planting along the path. It was believed that the Charles Head permissive path didn’t go to HO for approval. It was felt that there would not be onerous costs
maintaining the Wincle permissive path. The only possible thing is if a claim is made by walker injuring themselves there. It was decided not to refer to HO.
- d) Dave – projects and maintenance coordinator – Dave circulated a document to the FP committee and has received a couple of replies. The document may be further tweaked before being put out to the membership to see if there is anyone willing to do the job. The priority at the moment is to get the walk programme up and running. It might be best just to say to the membership that a job description is available and to try and source an appropriate candidate. The maintenance role needs to be quite separate from the FP committee. Whoever takes on the role would report to the main committee. Dave will send details to Brian Richardson. This new role would complement Brian’s role.
- e) Jane – archiving – Jane spoke to HO and was asked to leave it for a while as they are so busy with Covid. There are several questions to address. What records HO require us to keep and in what format? There must be some records we are legally obliged to keep for example re public enquiries but these are going to be limited in number.
Also, a different question is how to make records accessible to members. For instance Jane would find it helpful to be able to see what contributions different people are making to help assess whether this was exceptional and warranted an award of some kind. She thought it would be good if this were considered on an annual basis but not minuted and Maggie thought some criteria could be drawn up to assist with this assessment.
Maggie questioned how long minutes should be left on the website and when these could be archived. Could Roger create some archive function?
- Walks programme
- Jane had notified all walk coordinators to say what she is doing and it was up to each coordinator to determine the length of the programme. All coordinators are short of leaders, and no-one rushed to bring forward the start date when advised we could.
- Tony Walker isn’t well so we need to check if he is still drawing up the stroller programme.
- Sue Thersby has given notice that she will finish being the long weekend coordinator at Christmas.
- Andy is currently asking people to fill a programme for medium walks on Thursdays and then, presumably, when this is full he will try and get another day up and running (alternate Tuesdays and Wednesdays). There was concern that the numbers would get too high if there was only one medium weekday walk.
- Steve Hull is the long week midweek coordinator and he too is finding it hard to fill the programme.
- We need to check the date Ralph intends to start the evening walks.
- There is no maximum walk number imposed.
- Don’t Lose Your Way
- Keith had attended two meetings with Jack Cornish and Dominic Tooze and there were about 35/40 people at the meeting making it difficult to tell how the country was covered. It seemed to Keith that there was great activity in some areas and little in others so it was hard to discern any national coherence. The two named above work with an external IT contractor but Ramblers also use them for other jobs and so they are not always available to them. This is delaying how to use the map, it is really in the hands of others. Tools are needed to log onto the map to look at a particular lost way being worked on. The map is open to the public. There are different levels of prioritisation awarded. Basically the system is relying on volunteers. Keith hasn’t been asked which of his prioritised routes should be worked on. He has 5 on the list from Dave, 19 from Colin Park.
Keith just doesn’t know where this project is heading. It seems there is activity producing training manuals and on using information from the British Horse Society which is ahead in activity terms. You have to believe a path is worth saving, and we already have thousands of useable footpaths.
Dave reminded the committee that Cheshire had been selected for a trial some four years ago and a lot of work was done by volunteers including Colin Park. The outcome of a trial with the Dept of the Environment concluded the exercise was too expensive and of little overall benefit and was abandoned by them.
Clearly prioritising is needed and there are 8 categories. Keith is not expected to look at the list and categorise the routes.
Keith would have liked to report that there had been some progress but he is unsure the project will ever progress without enthusiastic volunteers and is unsure who these will be.
We could ask PROW what they are doing in the local area.
Keith says questions need to be put forward before his next Zoom meeting and Maggie offered to draft a question as to whether they had been asked to pursue any useful paths.
Reports from Officers
Chair – Some of Jane’s report has been covered earlier in the meeting.
It has been suggested to all coordinators that we find leaders up until the end of June. All the coordinators have gone with this suggestion. It is up to them to decide what is the best method to move forward for their particular part of the programme. Are we going to encourage people to go back to a six month programme or perhaps a three or four month programme is more appropriate at this time?
Sue Thersby who is the weekend long walks coordinator has contacted me to say that she will continue in the role until this Christmas. A massive thanks must go to Sue who has carried out the role for eight years, during which time
she has attended most, if not all, weekend walks, so what a huge commitment that is!!
Christine Brear has been in touch with me about the Bollington walking festival and asked if ECR are prepared to support it again as she wished to get in contact with some ECR walk leaders who led for the festival last year. I said that we would definitely support it and that I would ask the coordinators to put information out about it for the next schedule
I have taken part in the walk leader training which I have to say was interesting but extremely difficult to access. Ramblers use completely different grades to us. I actually think our members are very aware of what our grades mean and nobody has ever mentioned to me that they have been confused. The one thing that I did pick up from the training was that it’s a good idea to check the mobile coverage when you are doing the recce. They also said that incidents or incidents should be reported for example even if a walker was lost for a short time then that should be reported There is more information on this in the document hub on Assemble
I must congratulate Dave on getting the Cheshire East motion accepted for National Conference. This is no mean feat as there are only six motions being debated. At the moment Steve Butterfield and I are the delegates for conference but I’m hoping to be able to pass my place over to Dave so that he can speak to the motion. It was felt that Dave could propose the motion and answer questions on it. Dave was accordingly nominated to attend instead of Jane
I have agreed with Gina Thompson to organise a walk in memory of Rosie Forth on Sunday, the 8th of August. That would’ve been Rosie‘s birthday. I’ve asked Gina if she will lead the walk at Lindow Common which is the last walk Rosie attended, and was led by Gina. My plan is to invite her Goddaughter and Godson, who both live in the South, and maybe carry out some of the readings from the memorial service. Everyone thought this was an excellent idea to remember a lovely member. Other thoughts are to take along a tin of Roses chocolates as Rosie quite often brought some along and if at all possible a few people may like to go to the pub to celebrate with Prosecco or rosé wine, the drinks of choice, as far as Rosie is concerned
Re-memorial for Alan I have copied a section from an email from from John Goodman. It is agreed that some sort of footpath signage would be very fitting for Alan who worked tirelessly on improving the footpath network.
“Briefly, the current cost of sponsorship is £375. (If that worries the committee I am sure you would find a queue of donors). Amongst the benefits that flow with PNFS signs is a dedicated group of volunteers, led by David Morton, who
erect and maintain all the signs, and replace them if necessary.
One choice is whether to have Alan’s in memoriam plaque attached to a recently erected PNFS sign post already in place – which is much quicker – or to find an appropriate location for a new one. This means finding a spot where one is needed and then getting the consent of the landowner for it to be erected, plus design and manufacture.
David Morton does the negotiations with landowners and oversees the whole process. He usually has a few already erected signs available for sponsors, plus ideas about possible locations for new signs.
Lynda and the committee will have thoughts on location. Personally, Alan’s long association with Wincle as FP inspector and being known by some land owners there, almost suggests itself – if there is a place where signage is required.
I mentioned Wincle to David when checking the current cost with him. He said there is a sign available for sponsorship in nearby Gradbach. However, haste is the last thing needed here. Many views need to be sought on both the nature of the memorial before geography comes into it. Lynda is, of course, the person who most needs to happy with any choice” John
There was much discussion on this and it was felt that a new sign might be more appropriate than one already dated 2018, location to be decided. Jane will speak again with Alan’s wife. Colin pointed out that there would have to be a sign put up about the new Wincle permissive path so that might be appropriate. Although a new sign would take longer, speed is not at issue here, more making a fitting tribute to Alan. It was suggested that Nicola Swinnerton be approached re suitable site but Wincle is not her patch.
Jane also wondered about asking the long walkers to make a collection and then the balance being made up from surpluses from social activities. Colin (treasurer) said that there was no problem either funding a balance or the entire cost. Both options were in accordance with the rules.
I would also like to discuss some walking routes which are on the website. If you go to “articles” and then “routes” you will find a very well presented leaflet called “local walks by members of the group” “East Cheshire paths”
I have spoken to Roger about this and apparently they have been there for many years! He was looking at updating it so that people could access photos et cetera and we both decided that the details needed checking. So I’m asking if anybody is prepared to walk one of the routes and check the details both written and on the map.
The current balance is £8,927 with very little going out – a healthy balance.
Membership Secretary Sue
March Membership Report
New members to our group
Although numbers joining/leaving each month are fluctuating at present our overall membership numbers remain steady at 567.
In the last week there have been 4 new members.
Social secretary Maggie
Maggie will add the date of the Bollington Festival to the schedule.
She and Gina are thinking of offering a day out to the Sandstone Trail but not a coach trip, but three walks would be put on. Maggie thought it was worth trying it out to see how it goes. She didn’t think there would be many takers for a coach trip.
She had also thought about a day trip to Hereford with a guided tour. Travel by train is under two hours from Wilmslow. This sounded a great idea but this would be put on hold for the timebeing.
Also Cheshire Wildlife Trust will do another Zoom session.
There were 63 on Ducan’s Zoom talk. He hadn’t wanted payment for the charity and certainly not for himself. It was felt however that the group could donate £75 to the Canal Trust.
The report is as follows
Social Secretary’s Report 30th March 2021
My thanks must go to Steve Hull, who suggested we could think about running ‘virtual’ events via Zoom. As a result of his suggestion we’ve managed to hold a few Zoom socials this year. Steve Hull led a very successful quiz in February and Marion Duff ran a mindfulness event in March. Duncan Learmond offered a Macclesfield Canal talk, due to take place on Monday 29 th March and two future events are planned; Nicola Swinnerton PROW Officer on the 19 th April and Cheshire Wildlife Trust on the 7 th May. Many thanks to everyone who offered to lead an event and to Jane for sorting the Zoom licence and for ‘zoom testing’!
Until coaches are up and running we thought it might be a good idea to offer a
‘Walking Day Out’ where people take their own cars? Gina Thompson and I thought we’d try organising one in West Cheshire using the Sandstone Trial as a possible location?
Another idea could be a train trip to Hereford with a city walk and a visit to the
Key dates for AGMs could be published but I feel dates and venues for Christmas Meals may need to wait until the impact of the lockdown easing is known?
Maggie also provided a draft of planned activities / events.
Chair footpath committee – Dave
Footpath activity since the last ECR Meeting has been fairly routine, with e mail exchanges with PROW over a few ‘problem’ paths:-
- Neil Collie has inspected a Diversion Order of Macclesfield Forest FP 34 & 35 and then objected in order to finally ‘get it right’.
- Poynton FP80 – severe mud as footpath passes under railway bridge. PROW has responded promptly with clearing the mud but the problem of a low bridge is not easily resolved.
- Rainow FP62 – steps in poor condition, landowner requested PROW action and Nicola Swinnerton has requested ECR assistance via Brain Richardson. The photos and our database results suggest this is barely necessary – but in the absence of higher priority tasks being identified, it may be carried out by the Project Team at some point.
- Wilmslow FP 76 – near Handforth. Severe river erosion has caused part of the path to fall into the river. ECR suggested a temporary diversion for nearby paths to remain open but PROW has insisted on a complete closure for safety reasons. This group of paths is well used by Handforth residents and we believe the public will now develop their own unofficial diversion. We can do no further at present.
- We are planning to restart long term discussion at the Footpath Committee and with PROW over a couple of locations on the Gritstone Trail where the route is dangerous as it passes for a short distance on a busy road.
Tony Battilana has organised a full complement of inspectors for the 2021 Footpath Inspections. The circulation of instructions to the Footpath Inspectors was delayed by the lockdown but this will now be able to proceed. This is now in good shape and the database is steadily improving – particularly with the inclusion of multiple photos for footpath problems. Committee Members could help by encouraging to spread the word that we would like inspectors to take photos and also to carry out minor clearance by using secateurs on their inspections. (The majority are authorised to do this.)
The footpath inspectors have access to the database to enter reports and to view them. Dave will ask Roger for a read only logon for the FP database for Main ECR Committee members. Maggie mentioned insurance and Dave clarified that Tony had put out guidance on this.
|3 d)||Projects and maintenance coordinator job description to Brian Richardson||Dave|
|3 e)||Archiving function on website. To ask Roger if this is possible.||Jane|
|4||To see if Tony Walker able to remain coordinator for stroller walks||Jane|
|4||To check with Ralph the start date of evening walks.||Jane|
|5||Question to pose in advance of Keith’s next Zoom meeting on Don’t Lose Your Way.||Maggie|
|10||Ask Roger Fielding for possible “Read Only” access to the excellent Footpath Database for all ECR Main Committee Members.||Dave|
|Pages 4&5||To continue the discussion about a suitable way of recognising the work of Alan Catherall||All|
Date of next meeting Wed 23 June 1.30pm at Jane’s house.
East Cheshire Ramblers
Weekend Away 17-19
This is an early briefing note as you will need to book your own accommodation. It is suggested that you book or provisionally reserve something as soon as possible as Ambleside is a very popular destination.
Ambleside is a small town situated at the head of Lake Windermere in the heart of the Lake District. Although a major tourist resort with shops, restaurants, cinema and a large selection of places to stay, it has managed to retain a village feel. It is very popular with walkers and climbers and is one of the best bases for exploring the Lake District.
The weekend at Ambleside is being organised by Andy Davies (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Melanie Davy will look after the administrative side: forms, payment etc.
No accommodation is being organised for attendees, but Andy is hoping to arrange group meals for both Friday and Saturday evening.
We are hoping to offer short, medium and long walks on the Saturday and Sunday. This will be confirmed once all the walk leaders have been identified. If you are willing to lead a walk, please contact Andy at email@example.com.
No accommodation is
being organised, but there is a wealth of accommodation in Ambleside to suit
everyone. Among other sites, see: booking.com; Airbnb; www.visitcumbria.com/amb/ambleside/
and Saturday night meals
We are hoping to organise these at Ambleside Salutation Hotel, Lake Road, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9BX for those who wish to join the group for one, or both, meals.
This will be confirmed at a later date as the hotel is currently closed due to the pandemic.
Registration Form and Recce Fees
Once details of meals have been arranged, there will be a further briefing note with a registration form to complete. There will be also be a £5 recce fee payable per person to cover the walk leaders’ petrol expenses. Full details of how to pay will be sent out with the registration form.
Following the success of the first ECR Virtual Quiz, expertly hosted by Steve Hull, I’d like to share news of some future FREE events for ECR members.
MINDFULNESS Monday 22nd March 7.30
Marion will lead this free session for ECR members.
“Being aware, allowing all your senses to be present in every experience, learning to ‘pause’ your busyness when disconnected from your core and natural pace of life are all aspects of mindfulness. In this short session we will use breath control, relaxation, and a visualisation exercise to connect to the mindfulness experience. All you need is an open mind!” Marion Duff
MACCLESFIELD CANALS Monday 29th March at 7.30
Duncan Learmond has very kindly offered to provide a presentation about the Macclesfield Canal system. He is offering the event free to all members. Further details are available on the Website and you should receive a flyer via email this week.
PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY IN CHESHIRE EAST Date TBC
Nicola Swinnerton, Cheshire East Public Rights of Way officer, has offered to do a presentation about the vital role she plays in keeping our public footpaths open and in a good state of repair. I’m hoping that will take place late April early May.
CHESHIRE WILDLIFE TRUST Date TBC
Cheshire Wildlife Trust, another vital charity, has offered to do a virtual ZOOM presentation about the role they play in conserving the beautiful Cheshire countryside we all enjoy on our walks.
To join any of the sessions please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your own email address.
I’m hoping that after 21st June we will be able to think about offering our more ‘normal’ range of social events. If anyone has any ideas for events, visits, trips I’d be most grateful to receive them!
Walk Leaders Training
Walk Leaders can now access the Walk Leadership Foundations course through Assemble. If you’re new to leading walks, it will give you the basic skills needed to take on the Ramblers’ most popular volunteer role. And if you’re an experienced walk leader wanting to brush up your skills, there’s plenty for you too.
You must be registered on the Assemble site, as a Volunteer and Walk Leader, to access the training. I completed the training a few weeks ago and found it easy to use. I also discovered a few tips! It was well worth the 40 – 50 minutes it took to complete.
You can find the instructions to access the training in the ‘Walk Leadership Foundations Training Instructions’ document on the ECR website.