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
Actions / discussions
- Minutes of previous meeting of 11 November 2019
- 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)
– 5 to 7+ miles approximately
– 8 to 10+ miles approximately
– 11 miles plus
– moderately flat walking on good paths
– Generally on good paths in undulating terrain but with some steep inclines
– expect a fair bit of ascent and possibly some mild scrambling. Route may take open country rather than
– 3 to 4 miles on even ground with little ascent and few easy stiles.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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
We would like to organise a ‘Footpath
Inspectors Meeting’ in the summer–the last was several years ago. The objectives are
‘thank you’ meeting for their efforts
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!!)
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.
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
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
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
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
- Area AGM Saturday 30
- 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.
- 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
- Walk co-ordinators to
remind leaders to put walks on website two weeks in advance.
Kathryn Carty – secretary