East Cheshire Group 2020 AGM Minutes

Minutes of East Cheshire Group (subject to approval at 2021 AGM)

2020 Annual General Meeting

Saturday 14 November via Zoom at 3pm

Present

Chair                                                  Jane Gay

Treasurer                                           Colin Finlayson

Membership secretary                     Sue Munslow

Social & events secretary               Maggie Swindells

Footpath Committee Chair             Dave Barraclough

Secretary                                           Kathryn Carty

Lost Ways Officer                             Keith Anderson

Other members present

Denise Hutchinson

June and Ian Mabon

Melanie Davy

Sue Thersby

David Gylee

Brian and Helen Richardson

Janet Allan

Gillian Kay

John Galligan

Jane & Dave Collorick

Steve Hull

Ken Hobbs

Neil Collie

Audrey Sheen

Michael Murphy

Frank Gay

Chris Munslow

  1. Apologies for absence.

None

  • Minutes of AGM held on Saturday 23 November 2019.

Approval of these minutes was proposed by June Mabon and seconded by Gillian Kay. 

  • Matters arising from minutes.

None

Annual reports from officers.  These have all been made available to read on the group’s website.

 Chair report – Jane Gay

  • Thanks were conveyed to the walk co-ordinators for getting the programme up and running which has now had to go back on hold. The co-ordinators for long are Steve Hull and Sue Thersby; medium Andy and Kathryn; Ralph now evening and Tony Walker the stroller walks; short Dave and Jane Collorick and Jane Gay.
  • Thanks were conveyed in the report to both Brian Richardson and Colin Park for their tremendous contribution to the group over the years.  Thanks were also given to Ralph who had been the long walk co-ordinator for so many years (now swapped with Steve Hull) and to Helen Richardson who started the system, and continued it, of emailing details of mid week walks to fellow Ramblers after the paper programme ceased.  This system has now died a natural death and everyone seems comfortable just checking the website.
  • All the many other volunteers were also acknowledged.
  • No questions were raised.

            Treasurer’s report – Colin Finlayson

  • The first half of the year was pretty active with clearly little activity during the second half.  During the first six months some £300 commission was generated by group members booking Ramblers Holidays. 
  • Thanks to Central Office the budget was turned around swiftly and a decent sum of money has been secured for footpath work.
  • Questions.  Dave Barraclough recalled that we had agreed, during the pandemic and expected fall in membership income, to accept half of what Central Office would normally give us (£1600 to £800).  His question was whether any feedback had been given about the actual loss of membership and how many other groups had taken a similar hit. Colin hadn’t received such feedback but would attempt to find it out.  He did point out, however, that the group’s agreement to the reduction of income was entirely voluntary.  Had ECR needed the funds they would have been granted.
  • No further questions.

Membership secretary’s report – Sue Munslow

  • Membership has remained stable overall.  Last year numbers had fallen by 20 plus.  Until September there had been only a few new members but 10 joined in September followed by a further 8 in October.  Some were new to Ramblers, some new to the area, whilst some were from other nearby groups.  They were very complimentary about our extensive choice of walks.  The long walks were particularly mentioned so thanks to the walk leaders.
  • A good number of enquiries have been made about the group’s programme so hopefully there will be more new members once the programme gets up and running.
  • No questions were raised.

Social secretary – Maggie Swindells

  • What initially looked like a great social calendar couldn’t materialise due to the pandemic.  All the events are in the bag for next year so that when the go-ahead is given, the programme will be up and running.  Thanks were given to all those people who helped organise the social activities.  Without this help they simply wouldn’t take place.
  • Just one amendment was made to the report, the correction of Melanie’s surname to Davy. Apologies for that.
  • No questions, but thanks to Maggie from Jane who as former social secretary could understand how frustrating it has been for Maggie, setting up lots of exciting events only to have plans dashed.

Footpath Chair – Dave Barraclough

  • There is a brief report in the documents on the website.  Essentially there were four key points.
  • Footpath orders.  Neil Collie does a meticulous job on this so thanks to him.
  • The footpath inspection programme has not been massively affected by Covid and 100% coverage of 1298 paths in our parishes was achieved with thanks to the footpath inspectors, to Tony Battilana for organising the inspections and to Roger Fielding for a database which is working increasingly smoothly and provides very useful reports.
  • Liaison with the Rights of Way department, the enforcement officers, has been much increased.  One new enforcement officer is very proactive and is using the database report within weeks of it being completed and is commenting back to footpath inspectors.  This is a new and pleasing development which is making use of current information.  The head of PROW (Public Rights of Way) has been made aware of developments and is very pleased with the improved amount of liaison and ensuing benefits.
  • There has also been involvement with other Ramblers groups in Cheshire and Central Office which is fairly normal.
  • Since the report was written there has been much national publicity about Lost Ways which Colin Park had worked so hard on and with which Keith Anderson is now involved.  The recent national publicity is called “Don’t Lose Your Way” and Ramblers are asking for donations. The recent publicity claims to have discovered some 49,000 miles of lost ways across England and Wales (there are currently some 140,000 miles of footpaths).  They are therefore claiming over a third of additional paths.  Dave is concerned that the full cost of claiming these paths isn’t being considered.  A procedure to make a claim seems cost free in that the application isn’t paid for but every claim has hidden costs ofapproximately £5,000 for the Rights of Way dept to administer.  In our area this could wipe out their budget for ten years which would result in no maintenance budget.  The other hidden cost arises from an increase in public enquiries.  Two recent applications were turned down at the Inspector’s hearing.  One went to appeal and one onto the High Court costing somewhere between £10,000 and £20,000.  Where is this money coming from?  Is it from the Don’t Lose Your Way project?  He wants to pursue these issues. Additionally such claims are being made without consulting the East Cheshire Committee so we have no say in whether the paths are considered to be worthwhile.    Dave would welcome the views of others on this as to whether it is a good thing for him to take this line, or whether we should leave Central Office to pursue the claims.
  • Questions

Ian Mabon said the situation was created by the law which had put a time limit on making applications for new paths.  If the time limit was removed then this would immediately take off the pressure to submit applications.  Dave said there was discussion to amend this cut off date to put it back because of the foreseen amount of work and because of Covid.  He clarified that an application only had to be filed before the cut off date.

Brian Richardson asked how such claims were rationalised as some paths are not going to be relevant at all.  Dave explained that the exercise was done at Central Office without any involvement with individual groups.  East Cheshire was in the fortunate position in that Cheshire was chosen for a pilot scheme to look at the potential of lost paths which had involved Colin Park.  The scheme had found lots of paths and the Cheshire Ramblers groups had looked at these, rationalised them and reduced the numbers to feasible claims.  The national exercise hasn’t done this.  The emphasis appears to be on maximising publicity by emphasising the lost miles which Dave felt was misguided.

Keith Anderson said he has been looking at Colin Park’s work but said he didn’t have any of Colin’s expertise.  Colin Park’s work had reduced the possible number of claims to 19 which seems a more manageable number but still represents a significant cost. It has been difficult to make any progress during lockdown as it hasn’t been possible to sit down with people who have expertise.  There really needs to be a small committee so that the work can be shared around and until this happens, it can’t move forward.  A reference book on lost ways was referred to and Keith thought it may be necessary to buy another copy.  Dave had the original book.  Neil Collie had his own copy.  One had been bought for Colin Park which he may well still have.  June Mabon held up her copy.

The authors were apparently from the British Horse Society which wants lots of existing footpaths to be upgraded to bridleways, which clearly is not to Ramblers’ advantage.  A lot of the seminars on lost ways were organised by the British Horse Society which had been the driving force and Ramblers have tacked onto these efforts.

Gillian Kay had a question.  Had Dave spoken to Head Office about the project’s enormous cost?  He had done so during 2016 during a seminar at Crewe organised by footpath secretaries of all Cheshire groups.  The project manager was invited to the seminar and was urged to pare down the number of claims to reflect usefulness and cost.  Since that time there had been some contact with the project members but it would seem that the project manager considers essential maximum publicity which a greater number of miles and paths help to generate.  The Cheshire groups of footpath secretaries have not yet made sufficient noise to the other parts of Head Office, the treasurer and the trustees.  It is inevitable that claims to contentious paths are going to create more legal cases as landowners are going to issue more objections.  East Cheshire shouldn’t be financing related legal costs.  Lottery funds have been raised and are available and the project has had money from Ramblers Holidays so the project should be self financing.  Central Office funds, to which we contribute, shouldn’t be used for this purpose.  We ought to take the approach that if we want to support contentious paths then any costs should be ringfenced from within that project preferably or perhaps the area from which the application is made. He believes, however, that the recent enquiries were probably funded by central funds.  This so far could equate with one full year’s subscriptions from ECR members.

Dave was going to attend a Zoom meeting at which this will be discussed.  Jane clarified that this referred to a Zoom meeting following the motions from the National Conference.  This is to be an informal meeting where motions can be discussed which wasn’t previously possible at the National AGM.

Gillian also wanted to know what footpath initiatives were referred to in the accounts.  Colin explained that there was a sum of £6000 from which £5000 was already earmarked for general maintenance equipment such as strimmers, and the trial of new waymarkers (with PROW’s involvement), and recyclable plastic posts in an attempt to reduce long term maintenance costs. 

Dave clarified that Brian Richardson’s team had done quite substantial heavy maintenance work using heavy equipment.  They are now looking at enabling maintenance using lighter weight equipment to repair stiles.  PROW are going to consider the use of adhesive waymarks as these can be put on trees (ones with nails cannot be used on trees) and on metal.  The other trial is to change the holes on waymarks from three to four then plastic cable ties may be used.  Neil Collie had also looked at using plastic rather than wooden posts.  Wood has a life span of ten to twenty years.  He had previously been considering plastic stiles but now felt kissing gates were better.  Plastic posts are very durable but we need them testing as are unsure of any disadvantages.  Stockport council have used them for a while and there is a Peak and Northern one in Adlington in a boggy area which was put in some 15 years ago and is as good as new.

Gillian wondered whether plastic posts need adhesive markers and whether these adhesive markers could be pulled off.  Neil Collie explained that plastic posts can be sawn and drilled and screwed and nailed but he doesn’t know how easy this is.

Brian Richardson pointed out an advantage of plastic posts is that they are much lighter than wood.  He would though like the committee to consider where to put waymarks by kissing gates.  If the waymarks had four holes then they could be attached with plastic ties to the mesh on the gates rather than a finger post having to be erected so that a waymark sign could be nailed into the post. 

Dave B agrees that PROW needs to experiment with these simple solutions.  At present finger posts are being having to be installed close by kissing gates, increasing costs so this clearly needs addressing.

            Publicity report – Colin Park

  • Jane thanked Colin for his report.
  • Election of officers

The committee officers standing for re-election had been listed in the agenda and Jane read out the list.  Ian Mabon proposed their re-election and this was seconded by Michael Murphy.

            New officers needed

The Chair praised the brilliant work of the footpath committee but emphasised the need for additional volunteers. 

She then went on to stress the need for new committee members.  At least one is needed.  They would attend about four meetings a year and then it would be hoped they would want to take on a specific role.

  1. A successor is needed for the role of secretary.  Kathryn will continue after her move via Zoom until someone is appointed. 
  1. Colin Park’s former role as publicity officer needs filling.
  1. A projects and maintenance co-ordinator to succeed Brian Richardson is urgently needed.  A job description will be drawn up. Brian will write articles on the work already done and put these onto the website, this should help people to understand what the job involves.  Brian is prepared to support and help the new co-ordinator.

Paul Higinbotham has offered to take over Kathryn’s role as medium weekend walks co-ordinator.

Attendees today were encouraged to ask people (Keith suggested newer and younger members) when on walks if they were prepared to fill the vacant roles.  Jane felt that perhaps we should first encourage new members to lead walks.

  •  Motions received

None

  • Appointment of independent examiner

The re-appointment of the independent examiner, Ken Hobbs, was proposed by Keith Anderson and seconded by Melanie Davy.

  • Any other business
  • Maggie Swindells wished to give a vote of thanks on behalf of the group to the Chair for steering the group through such rough waters this year with both calmness and common sense.  Jane had done a tremendous amount of work.
  • David Gylee had a question about mid week medium walks.  Will they be on the programme just one day a week, as now on a Thursday, or on two days?  One day was dropped due to a shortage of leaders and then Thursday was chosen as it enabled walkers to go out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Jane’s response was that this question had been discussed with Andy who would like to return to two days but this all depends on having sufficient leaders when things return to normal.  Andy may initially try and fill Thursdays and then fill up the second day. Dave B thought we should work towards twice a week. If walk numbers are getting to about 12 then this becomes less enjoyable.  He understands the problem of getting leaders to run two a week.
  • Jane will email co-ordinators as we ought to look at the next stage when we come out of lockdown.  She personally doesn’t want to draw up a six month programme.  She will draw one up for three.  But if

Co-ordinators wish to draw up programmes of different lengths then this is entirely up to them.  At present she is just keen to get some programme up and running.

  • Melanie wondered whether the system of walk bookings would continue if people want to.  She understood that some walk leaders thought that it was beneficial if the walk started a distance away to know that others were going to join the walk.  Jane said it would be up to walk leaders to adopt whatever system they preferred. 
  • Jane Collorick had two issues she wished to air.  For her the booking system’s main purpose was to provide contact details to save taking a walk register at the start of the walk.  This had worked pretty well but she imagines this will not need to continue.  Not having a booking

system takes the pressure off people booked on feeling committed if the weather is poor. The programme had always been previously done on a 6 month basis.  There is currently a problem of many former walk leaders not wishing to lead for understandable reasons and this puts pressure on leaders prepared to lead.  Should the new programme be started now or left for a while and for how long a period?

  • Dave B thought a programme could be drawn up to run from January and if the restart was delayed then a list of walk leaders would have been prepared and different dates could simply be given to them.  Jane Collorick thought this unlikely to work because of leaders’ other commitments.
  • Ian Mabon pointed out that there had always been a six month programme because traditionally a six month programme had always been printed and distributed.  Nowadays there was no need to have a six month programme since people just checked the website for walks.
  • Sue Thersby said she was heavily dependant on a small group of people and is doing it on a month to month basis.  You have to respect it if people do not wish to lead.  She would prefer to continue on a month to month basis.  She also has liked the booking system as she knew how many would be joining her.
  • Any walk programme of whatever length should go to Roger to put on the website.
  • Maggie Swindells likes to get names before a walk to put a face to names, useful with large groups.  She prefers committing to lead a walk well ahead of the date and then working around that so ideally prefers a longer schedule.  Jane suggested, in the absence of a long programme, she could email the co-ordinator with the dates she would like to lead.
  • John Galligan.  In October when he led a walk he decided not to require booking.  He had been dissatisfied with the system as walks could be marked on the website as “fully booked” and then some of those booked on wouldn’t turn up for the walk thereby denying someone else the place.  He was going to suggest in future booking in advance but not making it a requirement.
  • Melanie pointed out that walks were full because numbers were limited to 10 instead of 30.  If the limit was set higher they wouldn’t become full.
  • Sue Thersby pointed out that fewer long walkers would offer to lead walks if this were the case and she had to work from a small pool of people as it was.
  • Dave Barraclough saw the benefit of a booking system of having a register of names but thought leaders should be discouraged from fixing a limit (other than the specified 30).
  • Jane Gay expressed the view that some people are only comfortable with low numbers but there could perhaps be more flexibility, maybe increase the limit a little, to avoid people being turned away.
  • In summary Jane said that co-ordinators could choose what length of programme they wished to draw up as everything is so fluid.  Additionally it is entirely up to walk leaders as to whether they adopt a formal booking system and whether they choose to limit numbers.  The important thing is to get a programme up and running when allowed to.

The meeting closed after about 1 hour 20 minutes and the Chair thanked all for attending.

RAMBLERS EAST CHESHIRE GROUP 2020 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING SATURDAY 14 NOVEMBER VIA ZOOM AT 3PM



AGENDA

  1. Apologies for absence.
  • Minutes of AGM held on Saturday 23 November 2019 for approval.
  • Matters arising from minutes.
  • Annual reports from officers.

Chair                                                  Jane Gay

Treasurer                                           Colin Finlayson

Membership secretary                     Sue Munslow

Social & events secretary               Maggie Swindells

Footpath Committee chair              Dave Barraclough

Publicity officer                                Colin Park

  • Election of officers

Chair                                                  Jane Gay

Treasurer                                           Colin Finlayson

Membership secretary                     Sue Munslow

Social & events secretary               Maggie Swindells

Footpath Committee chair              Dave Barraclough

Secretary                                           Kathryn Carty

Lost ways officer                              Keith Anderson

ECR urgently needs 3 new volunteers to assist with the posts of:

  1. Secretary (to succeed Kathryn Carty during 2021)
  2. Publicity Secretary (to succeed Colin Park)
  3. Projects and Maintenance Coordinator (to succeed Brian Richardson and incorporate maintenance tasks arising from Footpath Inspections)
  4. Motions received.
  • Appointment of Independent Examiner (Auditor of Accounts).
  • Any other business.

AGM REPORT OF CHAIR 2020

Firstly and foremost I hope that everybody is safe and well and has managed during these extraordinary times. If there is anybody out there who feels that the Ramblers can do something to help them then please just email me personally. 

It is brilliant that we have managed to get back walking and I’m hoping that by the time you read this that will still be the case.

This is an extremely strange year to report on. 

As far as the Area is concerned we held the area AGM and Sue, Dave and myself attended it. I have accepted the role of Area Chair for 12 months. Steve Butterfield, Area Secretary, has made a case out for the Chair not to keep rotating amongst the three groups. I totally understand this and have said that I am prepared to do the role for at least another 12 months. I have met with Steve several times and also had conversations with Dianne Simcoe who is the Area Support Officer for the North of England. We had been discussing working more closely with the other two groups in the area but circumstances have made this difficult and certainly not a priority. I should have attended National Conference but this was cancelled. The National AGM was held on line and lasted 40 minutes. 

Our programme seemed to run without a hitch throughout the winter but since the end of March things have been anything but normal. Many emails have been sent out and hopefully most people have felt as though they have been informed as to the way ECR have moved forward in these strange times. Initially when we could only have 6 walkers we decided that to try and organise this formally would put far too much pressure on walk coordinators so hence I emailed everybody explaining this and explaining how informal walks could be organised.

Once we could start walking again the challenge was to complete all the requirements imposed on the group nationally.  The committee did write a very detailed letter to head office expressing our concerns about several of their requirements. A major one of registering all walk leaders has, I think, now been addressed but this is just a gentle reminder to all walk leaders that they need to be registered as volunteer walk leaders. I have done that for everybody’s name that has been sent to me by the coordinators. People can check this by looking at Assemble on the website.

Trying to get the programme started again did take a massive amount of effort from all the walk coordinators and I wish to register a huge thank you to them. I know that several of them decided to lead the first couple of walks themselves and I know that everybody has made a massive effort to ensure that we had a programme up and running by the beginning of September. A special thank you must go out to all the walk leaders who were prepared to lead over recent weeks. I think the programme is now established and hopefully more leaders will be prepared to step forward and lead walks.

From the feedback I got it would seem that some walk leaders were reluctant to lead under the new regulations. We have been operating under these regulations for several weeks and I have not heard of any serious problems. The register seems quite straightforward and perhaps is a good idea. The risk assessment does not have to be fully completed with every box ticked and this, while it is  an additional layer of bureaucracy, doesn’t seem to have caused any problems. Well not that I’ve heard of anyway!! 

At the last committee meeting we discussed the issue of the back marker always being visible to the leader. This can be extremely challenging in a large group. Obviously it is vitally important that the leader always keeps the back marker in sight. Identifying them in a large group can be a problem, so it is suggested that if any leader wishes to buy one, or even two, high visibility tabards then ECR will stand the cost. 

I know that there are many people behind-the-scenes who make ECR one of the best walking groups within the Ramblers. The number of walks that we put on is amazing and this is because we have a large team of people who are prepared to give willingly of their time, effort and energy. It would be impossible to thank all of these people individually so this is just to formally say a huge thank you.

One person I do need to name personally and to thank for all the hard work that he has been involved in is Brian Richardson. Brian has headed up a project team which has carried out maintenance jobs as well as some very large projects. The latest project he was involved in was clearing a footpath in Alderley Edge and setting up waymarks. His report for the projects always detailed work carried out, the number of people who assisted and the number of hours worked. They always made interesting reading and made me realise how lucky we are to have so many people willing to give of their time. The latest large projects which Brian headed up were the Bollington steps and the Poynton footbridges; he was helped by a great team of volunteers. Brian is still prepared to help with projects but no longer wishes to head up the team, so guess what, we are looking for yet another volunteer. Thanks Brian 


As some of you will realise Colin Park is stepping down as a publicity officer. This will be a huge loss to ECR. Colin has been a very active member for many years. He was very involved in the Lost Ways project, long before it seemed to become important to Head Office. He resigned this post last year and handed over this work to Keith. I have had the privilege of seeing his file with all the documentation in it. Obviously there are hours and hours of work in this and for that I want to particularly thank him. He has also been the publicity officer for several years and raised the profile of ECR within the local paper. So I’m sure you would totally agree with me that we owe Colin a huge debt of thanks.

The committee also have been extremely supportive and hard-working over the past few months in these really difficult times. They have made my job so much easier and I am delighted that the vast majority of them are prepared to serve for yet another year. 

So I’m going to finish this report with a huge thank you to everybody who makes ECR such an outstanding walking group.

Jane Gay ECR Chair 

TREASURERS REPORT

Please see separate documents

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY REPORT

This year the numbers of members has only changed slightly from 566 down to 564.  This compares with 2019 when the membership numbers decreased from 593 to 566.

The numbers of new members each month have shown the impact of the pandemic. From April to August we averaged only 1 or 2 new members each month. In September we had 10 new members join our group, followed by 8 in October.   Some of these were already rambler members but joined East Cheshire as we have a ‘greater choice of walks.’

Sue Munslow

SOCIAL SECRETARY REPORT

The 2019 Social Calendar culminated in three very successful Christmas lunches. The weekend walkers’ lunch, arranged by Teresa Marshall, was held at the Windmill. The midweek walkers’ event was arranged by David Gylee and Andy Davies at The Church House and Georgie and Peter Everson arranged a similar event for the long walkers. The meals were enjoyed by all.  

The Social Calendar for 2020 opened with ‘Keith’s Sherry Walk’ on New Year’s Day, led by Lorraine Tolley and Melanie Davies, and we thought we were off to a flying start! The 2020 programme had the makings of an interesting social events programme for the year ahead. This was due to the kind contribution, and support of, several members of the East Cheshire Ramblers community. In addition, we had a dash of outside contributors to add to the mix. Unfortunately COVID arrived, and our programme had to be largely shelved.

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. I would like to thank them all, on behalf of all the members, for offering their time and enthusiasm to do so this year.  I hope that, when national restrictions allow us to safely resume our social programme, they will come forward again to offer their support for future events. Our programme wouldn’t happen without them. 

Maggie Swindells

FOOTPATH COMMITTEE REPORT TO ECR AGM 2020

The work of the Footpath Committee work has continued through the 2020 pandemic problems with very little change from its regular work, now well established over many years. The key work of the Committee can be summarised as four key functions:-

  1. Consultation with Cheshire East Public Rights of Way  Dept. (PROW) on:
  1. Public Footpath Orders (Diversions, new Map orders etc.)
    1. ROW Consultative Committee attendance. (suspended in 2020 due to COVID19)

Over the last year we have dealt with nine footpath diversion or modification orders. None have been controversial. They included a consultation on a possible diversion at Ingersley Mill of Rainow footpath 37 which has been closed for five years due to a major landslip.

  • Inspection of all 1298 footpaths in our 33 parishes by our team Footpath Inspectors, recording on our database and passing the results to the PROW Enforcement Officers. For the fourth year we have achieved 100% coverage which is a magnificent achievement, matched by few if any other Ramblers Groups. The level of problem paths has remained low at about 7% – a reflection of the generally good paths in our area. Thanks go to all our Footpath Inspectors, many long serving since the first inspections in 2004 and also to Tony Battilana the inspection organiser and Roger Fielding for maintaining the results database. This is now very well developed and is being increasingly useful to PROW Enforcement Officers.
  • Liaison with the 3 PROW Enforcement Officers to discuss specific path problems, both arising from our inspection programme and also reported by our members. We have regular communications at a very practical level. However, the PROW Department is suffering problems of under resourcing through financial constraints and staff sickness.
  • Consultation and involvement with other Ramblers Groups in Cheshire and also with Central Office over national issues and projects. This includes the work on the ‘Lost Ways’ where the Central Office project has checked and verified large numbers of possible ‘Lost Ways’ to claim. However, ECR has concerns that these may be largely unnecessary in our area and could divert limited resources from the existing network. Keith Anderson has taken over the brief on Lost Ways after many years of valuable work by Colin Park.

We hope that the efforts of the Footpath Committee contribute to your enjoyable and safe walking across East Cheshire. Any offers of help would be appreciated in such tasks as future Footpath Inspectors or assisting the Committee in analysing the inspection results trends.   We have specifically been hoping to find a volunteer who could coordinate the minor maintenance tasks identified by the inspection results and to liaise with Cheshire East PROW over this.   Please e mail me on dave@thebarracloughs.co.uk if you can help.

Dave Barraclough – ECR Footpath Committee – October 2020

PUBLICITY OFFICER REPORT

Weekly walk articles to the Macclesfield Express terminated with the start of Covid in March. Since then our group walks have been very local and often planned at short notice. There is really nothing new that can be written about most of our walks and I feel that these articles have really now run their course. All other activities since March have either been cancelled or postponed until further notice.

Colin Park

Cheshire East Ramblers AREA AGM 2020

CHESHIRE EAST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2020

Dear Rambler

The area AGM of Cheshire East area will take place on 30th November 2020 at 7:30pm It will not be a face to face,  in-person meeting but an online one (probably using zoom) to ensure that we COVID secure.

Due to the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic there has been very limited activity at the area level since the last AGM.

The AGM is being held to fulfill our obligation to Ramblers articles and standing orders and to appoint the “legal company members” (General Council members).

Due to the limited activity we do not anticipate there will be anything other than the reporting of activity and accounts and the election of members to the committee and to council.

The current officers are:

Chair:  Jane Gay

Secretary:  Steve Butterfield

Treasurer: Jeanette Clark

Membership secretary:  Steve Butterfield

General Council members:  Jane Gay and Steve Butterfield

All members are welcome to attend this meeting. If you wish to do so please would you email the Secretary by Monday 23rd November 2020.

stephen.butterfield6@icloud.com

If any member has an item they wish to be discussed could this be sent to the secretary no later than Monday 16th November 2020.

A copy of this notice will be placed on the web sites of the 3 groups that make up Cheshire East Area, namely Congleton, East Cheshire and South Cheshire.

Also, the agenda, minutes of the 2109 AGM and the financial report will be placed on each website.

Best wishes and hoping we all stay safe and well

Steve Butterfield

(Secretary)

Cheshire East Area

Annual General Meeting

Monday, 30th November, 2020 at 7:30pm

Agenda

1        Chairman’s welcome

2        Minutes of Last Year’s AGM and matters arising 

3        Report on the work of Cheshire East area since the last AGM

5        Finance – Treasurer’s report

6        Election of Officers and independent examiner of accounts

7        National Council delegates

8        Discussion of any motions and any changes to the constitution –     (this to be delayed until a future date due to current restrictions)

9        AOB

Draft      Minutes of Cheshire East Area Annual General Meeting

Tuesday, 3rd December, 2019 at 7:30pm

The Hawk Inn Haslington, Crewe

Attending:

Trish Montgomery, Jane Gay, Trevor Park, Jeanette Clarke, Steve Butterfield, Jim Eckersley, Liz Osborn, John Peck, Ivor Finney, Dave Barraclough, Sue Munslow, Ken Cambell, Dr. Peter Rookes (Vice Chair Ramblers Trustees),

1        Chairman’s welcome: Trish welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2        Minutes of Last Year’s AGM: the minutes of the 2018 AGM were agreed to    be accurate, having already been circulated.

Matters Arising:  there were no matters arising

3        Finance:  Jeanette Clarke circulated a copy of the income, expenditure and balance sheet. Everyone was happy with the accounts.

  East Cheshire Area   2018/19  
     
INCOME 2018/19    
From RAHQ     £3,000
EXPENDITURE    
Congleton £950  
East Cheshire £1,200  
South Cheshire £850  
    £3,000
BALANCE SHEET    
Total Income £3,000  
Total Expenditure £3,000  
Profit/Loss for the year 0  
Bank Balance BF 0.36  
Unity Bank Account 0.36  
    0.36

4        Election of Officers:

Chair: Jane Gay (East Cheshire)

Secretary: Steve Butterfield

Treasurer: Jeanette Clarke

General Council:

Two representatives from East Cheshire (To be determined at a later date)

5        Development of Walk Leadership Training

Trish reported on attending a ramblers meeting in Crewe earlier this year where walk leadership was discussed. Trevor reported on a walk leaders’ day planned by south Cheshire.  Jane discussed the walk leader training event run by East Cheshire where ramblers went out in small groups during the afternoon of the session to put into practice the ideas developed during training.

Action Point: It was agreed that there should be liaison between the three groups and to run joint training events related to walk leadership.

Action Point: to hold a meeting of the website managers from the three groups to have a walk finder on the website of each group and to develop a library of walks that all members could search and use.

6        First Aid course and First Aid packs

Congleton and South Cheshire reported on the ramblers organised first aid training events they had attended.

Whilst it was recognised that the training attended had been useful, it was agreed that there is a need for more advanced training to cater for those who did more remote walks.

The need for winter first aid packs to include survival bags and emergency tents was discussed.

 Action Point: It was agreed that we should agree and share the contents of a winter first aid kit between the three groups.

Jane suggested that one ICE card per rambler is probably not enough given that they may use more than one rucksack?

Ken suggested the need for all ramblers to have their emergency information on the medical ID section of their smartphones. (This can be accessed by emergency workers without the need to unlock the phone or knowing the log on details)

7        Presentation from Dr. Peter Rookes

I have included Peter’s PowerPoint presentation with the email that accompanies these minutes.

We had asked Peter to discuss a number of issues; Digital developments, Health walks and an update on Don’t Lose Your Way (DLYW)

He began with his experience of working with the U3A and proposed a possible partnership between Ramblers and the U3A.

Peter also mentioned the importance of the resolutions put before the National council and the need for 2 representatives from each area. Possibly, one experienced in attending General Councils, and one who is new.

7a  Short Health Walks:  Peter raised some very interesting points and opened our eyes to some developments that were taking place at a National level. He emphasised that some Short Health Walks could be aimed at those new to walking and to those who felt that they were unable to join in with the usual programme of walks. Peter said that Ramblers were developing this and had funding from Sport and Health England. Trish made the point that anyone leading such walks may need specialist training to enable walkers to get the most out of the Short Health Walk experience.

Peter also gave another example of CRUSE friendship walks. (CRUSE, being the group linking people who have been bereaved). He said there were pilot areas namely; Birmingham, Bristol, London and Manchester.

7b  Walking Neighbourhoods: Peter mentioned the need to look at local neighbourhood plans to see how rambling and the footpath network fitted into the neighbourhood plan.

For our discussion: Should there be an area footpath secretary to advise the groups on what is happening across the Cheshire East Area?

7c  Coastal Path: Peter reported that the 2700 mile coastal path is due to be completed in 2020, supported by the local authorities.

7d  Network Rail: There were problems with Network rail trying to close pedestrian crossings and HS2 will inevitably have an impact as well. Ramblers, along with other groups are currently opposing this.

Action Point:  Ask Diane Simcoe to clarify the position relating to railway crossings and HS2 in Cheshire East.

7e:  Advocacy: Peter discussed advocacy in relation to the Ramblers and the need to diversify the lead walk offer in order to promote membership growth. He mentioned more flexibility, variety, breadth, and the need to improve variety.

Trish linked this to the need for better marketing.

Action Point:  Peter Rookes to take back the message that there is a need for a leaflet which could be given to walkers laying out the advantages of walking with the Ramblers as opposed to other affiliated groups.

We also discussed the need to encourage U3A to contribute funds to the Ramblers.

7f. 3 Year Strategy: Peter outlined the 3 year strategy of the Ramblers (please read the section in Peter’s PowerPoint)

His last point was to re-emphasise the recommendation that Area’s clarify and confirm the processes for appointing those members who will attend General Council and who will be Council members for that year.

Action Point: Find out about the role of Trustees and circulate to all 3 groups.

7g:  DLYW:  Steve went thought the PowerPoint presentation sent by Dominic Tooze from the Ramblers which outlined the roles of Jack Cornish and Dominic Tooze and showed the digital map they were developing to identify the potential lost ways that would be claimed and put forward to the local councils.

There was some discussion about this and there were positive comments relating to the developments taking place. However, the concerns about potential costs and how the lost ways to be promoted would be prioritised was still a major concern for some members.

Action Point: To look at the criteria of prioritising which lost ways would gain support and be taken forward and to look at how this is then fed back to those claiming for the  lost ways. Would it be possible to arrange another meeting with either Dominic or Jack and the footpath secretaries to clarify this prioritisation and how the costs will work in practice.

(I have attached Dominic’s PowerPoint presentation with the email that goes with these minutes)

8        Cheshire East groups liaising to share good practices

It was agreed that there had been several action points for liaison discussed already.

9        Other Business

Sue asked that the selection of members to attend General council should be on the agenda of the next meeting (Hopefully you will have spotted that I added it to the election of officers section – it needs to be on next year’s agenda under election of officers).

Meeting closed at 10:20 (approx.)

In Memory of our Treasurer Philip Lund

Philip was the Area Treasurer from November 2010 – February 2017

Philip passed away on the 8th November 2019.  Following a cremation at Crewe Crematorium a service of celebration will be held at the Crown Hotel, Nantwich on Monday 2nd December at 2.00 pm.

Ramblers Association Cheshire East Area 2019/20
Income 2019/20
From RAHQ Payments Received 1262.00  
   
  1262.00
 
 
Expenditure 2019/20
Congleton 167.00    
East Cheshire 800.00    
South Cheshire 295.00    
  1262.00
       
Balance Sheet 2019/20
Total Income 1262.00
Total Expenditure 1262.00
Profit/Loss for year 0.00
Bank balance BF 0.36 0.36
Unity Bank Account 0.36 0.36

Invitations to ECR Group AGM and Cheshire East Area AGM

  1. ECR Annual General Meeting

All members are invited to our AGM, which will take place via Zoom on Saturday 14th November 2020 starting at  3 pm. Please contact jane.gay@icloud.com between 9th and 13th November for access to the link.

Papers for the AGM will be available on the website during the week ending Saturday, 31st October 2020.

Any member wishing to submit a motion should put it in writing with the names of the proposer and seconder to be received by the Secretary not later than Tuesday 3rd November. Contact details are:

email: secretary@ramblerseastcheshire.org.uk

All officers and committee members retire each year but are eligible for re-election. The following are standing for re-election:

Jane Gay (Chair), Colin Finlayson (Treasurer), Dave Barraclough (Footpath Committee Secretary), Sue Munslow (Membership Secretary), Kathryn Carty (Committee Member), Keith Anderson (Lost Ways) and Maggie Swindells (Social Secretary)

We need at least two more members to join the committee.  We have a vacancy for Publicity Officer as well as the post of Secretary or Social Secretary which will become available in the near future.  Expressions of interest will be very welcome.

If you wish to stand for any of the Officers position or as a Committee Member, or you wish to nominate anyone else, please send the candidate’s name and statement of their willingness to stand, together with names of the proposer and seconder, to the Secretary (contact details above) by Saturday, 2nd November 2020.

  2. CHESHIRE EAST AREA AGM (comprising the three Groups of East Cheshire (i.e. ourselves, Congleton and South Cheshire)

This meeting will be held on Monday 30th November at 7.30 pm. Information about this will be posted on the ECR website.

EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS SOCIAL CALENDAR 1st OCTOBER 2020

01-10-20 EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS SOCIAL CALENDAR 2020 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 maggieswindells@gmail.com  07729327940 /01625 829671
       
Friday 20th March 1.30 pm Stockport Guided Walk with Judith Wilshaw organised by Maggie Swindells   POSTPONED to 2021
 4th and 5th April National Conference  Bristol CANCELLED
Friday 12Th April  Start of fortnightly Strollers’ walking programme CANCELLED
Thursday 23rd April Bombay To Mumbai Indian – meal organised by Andy Davies CANCELLED
Friday 24th April to Sunday 26th April Long Walkers Weekend – Aberystwyth to be organised by Colin Park CANCELLED
Thursday 14th May Provisional start of evening walks organised by Steve Hull CANCELLED
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June Weekend Away  Patterdale organised by Jane Gay POSTPONED TO 2021
Thursday 25th June Coach Trip Settle organised by Anne Thompson CANCELLED
Monday 29th June ‘Footpath Inspectors Gathering’  3.30 pm Macclesfield Tennis Club organised by the Footpath Committee POSTPONED
Thursday 2nd July ECR Walk Leader Training Macclesfield Tennis Club (more details to follow) POSTPONED
Saturday 4th July Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay CANCELLED
Friday 7th August to Sunday 9th August Long Walkers Weekend – Anglesey (exact location to be decided) to be organised by Steve Hull CANCELLED
Thursday 20th August Meal following final evening walk provisional booking at Farm Made, Rainow organised by Nick Wild CANCELLED
Saturday September 5th Coach Trip organised by Gina Thompson and Maggie Swindells POSTPONED 2021
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th Sep Ambleside Weekend away – Andy Davies POSTPONDED
Saturday 12th September (date change) Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay CANCELLED
Saturday 31st October Ceilidh and Supper at the Victory Hall Mobberley  organised by Tony Battilana  CANCELLED
Saturday 14th November 2020 ECR AGM ZOOM MEETING
30th November 2020 Ramblers Association Area AGM ZOOM MEETING
Saturday 5th December Christmas Carol short walk – Jenny Bordoli CHRITMAS CAROLS CANCELLED WALK WILL STILL GO AHEAD
Saturday 12th December Week End Christmas Lunch at The Windmill organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay. CANCELLED

MINUTES OF EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS MEETING 1st October 2020

MINUTES OF EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS MEETING HELD

                       Thursday 1 October 1.30pm via Zoom

ATTENDANCE

Jane Gay

Colin Finlayson

Dave Barraclough

Kathryn Carty

Keith Anderson

Maggie Swindells

  1. APOLOGIES

None, all present

  • MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the previous meeting held on August 11 were approved.

  • MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MINUTES

No matters arising.

  • WALKS PROGRAMME

It was generally felt that the programme was going well.  People were managing to socially distance and were doing so without prompting.  It wasn’t a concern that there were gaps in the programme as the Covid situation could rapidly change the current rules.

People weren’t complaining about doing the risk assessment so that was good.  It isn’t anywhere near as onerous as it maybe first appeared.

The higher numbers had been on the short walks.  Pub lunches were sorted out by the walkers themselves as this was not appropriate for the walk leader to do so in times of Covid.  Jane had 21 on her walk and this proved a little challenging with different walk speeds.  It would be a good idea if easy short walks were put on the programme, say on a Friday, until the stroller walks return next spring.  This would require a different co-ordinator.  Mid-week short walk numbers are getting into the high teens.  This raised the matter of the leaders and back markers keeping in contact and it was suggested that the back marker wear a fluorescent gilet which the walk leader could take along.  Any expense incurred in its purchase would be reimbursed.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to try out.

  •  WALK LEADER RESPONSIBILITY

The most important job is to return to base with the same number as that starting out.  We don’t want to keep reminding leaders of the mantra to keep in visual contact with the back marker, but committee members, when on walks, could instil this by gently reminding the walk leader to wait at stiles whilst people catch up, and, especially where there is a turn off.  A gap in a group can quickly develop and group numbers need regularly checking.

It was suggested once again that backmarkers and leaders should have each other’s mobile numbers but it was remarked that not all walkers carry mobiles though this is to be encouraged.  It is also a good idea for the register to have mobile rather than landline numbers and for the register to be taken on the walk.  It is of course acknowledged that not all walkers have mobile phones.

  • AGM MATTERS

The AGM will be held at 3pm on Saturday 14 November via Zoom.  It is anticipated that there will be far fewer participants than usual.  The short walk led by Frank and Jane will go ahead in the morning as usual.  Medium and long walks can go ahead as the AGM will not be a “physical” meeting.  There will be no lunch or afternoon tea. The affair will be as simple as possible.

The AGM has to go ahead.  The Area AGM is proceeding on the same lines.  Steve Butterfield is keeping it as simple as he can with only 10 attending.

We will ask for questions 10 days (by 4 November) in advance of the AGM. Only tabled questions will be addressed at the AGM rather than questions being taken on the day, something which would be done in a physical meeting. An information sheet will be posted on the website 3 weeks before the meeting (by 25 October).  Maggie will kindly draft this.  This should mean that emails do not need sending to members.

Audited ECR accounts don’t go to Ramblers Head Office until 19 October.

There is a chat facility on Zoom which needs checking out.  There needs to be another meeting in advance of the AGM to examine just how the system will work with more people logging in.

The Area AGM will be on Monday 30 November around 7.30pm.

  • COMMITTEE MEMBERS

It was great news that Jane, Colin, Keith, Dave, Maggie and Sue will serve on the committee for another year.  Kathryn is the fly in the ointment due to her planning to move to North Yorkshire.  It was agreed, however, that she will continue via Zoom as secretary until a replacement is found.  Maggie would be prepared to be secretary if a replacement social secretary is found.

It must be indicated in the AGM material that a new secretary / social secretary is needed plus another person to come onto the committee.

  • REPORTS FROM OFFICERS

Treasurer

Ken Hobbs is the independent reviewer.  The bank balance stood at £6210.30 as of last night.  There is no news on the budget approval or otherwise.  As previously stated, audited account will go to Head Office by 19 October.

Social secretary

There is little to add to the previous report.  The sherry walk on New Year’s Day will be kindly led by Melanie and Lorraine.  Christmas meals will be cancelled.  There will be no carol singing though the walk of 5 December will go ahead.

Membership secretary

There were ten new ECR members in September, five of these being new to the Ramblers.

It was suggested that the register form could have a column to say if walker is a member of Ramblers.  Of course registers could take different formats.  Sue said she could quickly check whether someone was a member.  She had recently done this for someone within 24 hours.

Lost Ways

ECR work is on hold at the moment.

Central Office work (Don’t Lose Your Way – DLYW Project) is progressing.  Central Office currently passes Diversion and Modification orders to local groups for consideration but the DLYW Project is planning to submit new Order Applications (DMMOs) direct to PROW offices.  This is raising concerns.

Footpaths

There is good collaboration with Nicola Swinnerton (ECR PROW Officer) and the group remains in touch with other footpath secretaries across Cheshire East.

We have again achieved 100% coverage of all ECR paths for 2020, despite COVID lockdown problems. Thanks to Tony Battilana for coordinating the arrangements and Roger Fielding for maintaining the outstanding database record of our history of inspections.

  • AOB

There is still a need to find a coordinator for the planned “Maintenance Team”.  There are various ECR members who are willing to participate, including those who previously helped with Brian Richardson’s Projects Group but the gap is for someone to plan and coordinate the work. This remains an important task for the ECR Committee to address, although it is recognised that progress is very unlikely while the COVID pandemic restrictions apply and finding a volunteer will not be easy.  (Keith suggested that perhaps this role could be split between an administrative role – prioritising jobs, workers and equipment required, and a more physical one.)  Several existing walkers are happy to be a participant. Many footpath inspectors are already authorised to do routine minor maintenance with secateurs and this is to be encouraged.

Dave agreed to draw up a job description for the maintenance team.

Information comes from the footpath inspector database and Nick Brierley looks through that for suitable jobs and work suggestions also come from PROW because of funding cuts.  There is plenty to do with waymarks and vegetation jobs.  Inspectors are given authority from Cheshire East to carry out such work.

Historically Cheshire East has paid for stile maintenance and similar, while legally this is the responsibility of the landowner.  PROW has the authority to pursue landowners whilst the Ramblers do not.

  1. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

There will be a short meeting prior to the AGM on Wednesday 4 November at 7pm.


  Reference
  Action   Owner   Status
    Draft of AGM information sheet for posting on website by 25 October Maggie  
    Bullet points of job description for footpath maintenance team. Dave  
    Reminding leaders of keeping backmarker in sight. All  

Kathryn Carty

ECR Committee Meeting Minutes 11-08-20

MINUTES OF EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS MEETING HELD

                       Tuesday 11 August 2020

Meeting held at 2.30pm in Jane Gay’s garden and it closed around 4.40pm.

ATTENDANCE

Colin Finlayson

Dave Barraclough

Jane Gay

Kathryn Carty

Keith Anderson

Maggie Swindells

  1. APOLOGIES AND ATTENDANCE

Apologies from Sue Munslow

  • MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the previous meeting held on May 5 were approved.

  • MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MINUTES

No matters arising.

  • WALKS PROGRAMME

This is clearly the most important issue for discussion, how to proceed to get walks reinstated from September 2020, in accordance with guidelines from Head Office (HO).

  1. Volunteer role. To comply with HO’s rules any walk leader has to be recorded on the system as having a volunteer role.  Jane has been busy in discussions with HO and it has finally been agreed that we can send a list of walk leaders and their membership numbers (we don’t need to ask individual members for these) to HO and they will register them as walk leaders.  We felt strongly that we would have lost walk leaders if individuals had to self register.  It was considered whether we ought to just register everyone but was decided that, as well as not going down well with HO, this would result with everyone being bombarded with emails re unrelated volunteering issues.

At the time when Jane spoke to Steve Butterfield (Area secretary) we only had 17 volunteers registered.

A membership list is held by Sue as membership secretary so we should be able to extract a list of walk leaders from this.

  • Risk assessment. The keeping of a formal risk assessment is mandatory and so we have no choice but for walk leaders to keep one if we wish to get a walk programme up and running.  This needs to be kept either on paper or electronically for 12 months. All boxes do not have to be ticked. Walk leaders will be responsible for keeping such records.  They will not be passed to walk coordinators.  We have no idea if their existence will ever be checked.

The committee intends to write to the CEO and Chairman of the Trustees to object to non-Covid related issues being brought into the risk assessment.  It was felt there should have been consultation before the guidelines were sent to volunteers. In the meantime, however, in order to get walks restarted, we needed to comply by completing the form as issued by HO.  Printed risk assessment stencils could be taken to walks to hand out as required in the hope this will limit objections.

  • Register.  A register has to be kept of walk attendees so that this information could be passed to a track and trace team should this be necessary.  A record of the name and telephone number of each walker is therefore required.  There is an available stencil and again this could be printed and handed to walk leaders.  After some discussion it was felt this was the simplest method.  If we asked walkers to bring along a printed slip containing their contact details, half wouldn’t.  Additionally it would be another thing to ask for.  The register only needs to be kept for 21 days.  People can use the app if they so wish but a written register is sufficient.
  • Advertising the walks.  Roger will help however he can.  If a coordinator sends him walks for four months (Sep to Dec) then he will put them all on the programme.  HO suggested shorter periods but it really doesn’t matter.  This is up to coordinators.  If they can only get walks for September finalised, then Roger will put these onto the system, and add others as and when.                                                            

It is our intention that Covid related advice is put on the website so that the leader doesn’t, for instance, need to advise walkers not to share food and drink!  Some generic statement could be a header before the list of forthcoming walks.

  • Walk numbers of a maximum of 30.  Firstly it was felt that such numbers are very unlikely even for short walks.  We don’t want a booking system as this just complicates things for the leader.  The simplest way of applying this rule is to say on the website that places will be offered on a first come first served basis.  So after the first 30 people have signed the register, any surplus would have to be turned away, a very unlikely scenario.  Should a walk leader want a booking system then he/she would have to provide their telephone number on the programme and ask would-be walkers to phone in advance and book on.

REPORTS FROM OFFICERS

  • FINANCE

Treasurer’s report to end July 2020 included the following highlights since the last report of 5th May 2020.

  • All social events cancelled and members refunded where appropriate.
  • Little banking activity apart from annual peppercorn rents paid to land owners on the Charles Head permissive path.
  • Bank balance at 31/7/20 £6290.89.
  • 20/21 annual budget was reviewed on 23 July via Zoom and its basic constituents parts agreed.  Footpath committee with PROW (public rights of way) identified several potential improvement and maintenance projects requiring an estimated £8000 of funds from RA.  This was then revised down to £6000.
  • The final ECR budget was submitted to Area on 31 July.
  • £50 donations to Mountain Rescue are being randomly made to Glossop, Kinder, Buxton and Oldham.
  • FOOTPATHS  Dave Barraclough’s report included the following points
  1. The Footpath Committee has held one Meeting on 25th June.  The Agenda covered various routine items of progressing several footpath problem issues plus Diversions etc. There were no items of special concern to bring to the Main ECR Committee.
  2. The main business was to review the annual footpath inspection of all paths. Following the end of lockdown, it was hoped that inspections could restart and still be complete by the normal September 31st deadline. Tony Battilana wrote to all inspectors to encourage restart and check whether any inspectors will be affected by COVID19 – but none have been reported.
  3. We noted that recent changes in Ramblers Insurance mean our Footpath Inspectors will be insured under improved terms, including personal accident. We noted that, somewhat surprisingly, volunteers can register to enjoy ongoing cover without needing to be a member of Ramblers. (This seems to be in conflict to the requirement that limits non members to 3 walks before they should become members.)
  4. Footpath Inspections since CV19 lockdown ended are going well. Theyare actually well ahead of previous years. To the end of July 39% of footpaths have been inspected, significantly higher than 9% by July in 2019.It appears that inspectors have more time available to carry out their inspections. A limited number of problems have been reported to PROW who are dealing with them, although they are stretched by CV19 resource problems.
  5. Subsequent to the meeting, the ECR Budget Proposal for 2021 has included £8,000 (revised to £6000) for proposed footpath projects, an increase over previous years. This covers proposed trials on waymarks, fingerpost changes to sustainable materials and some requests from PROW for specific projects.
  6. Nicola Swinnerton from PROW (public rights of way) is looking at seeking permission for a new path through Savio House land and is asking for Ramblers to contribute.  We must consider this carefully as PROW has a statutory duty to fund projects and we don’t want to get sucked in to sharing costs unnecessarily.
  7. AOB

Minutes  Kathryn will continue to pass around draft minutes soon after a meeting and ask members for any additions or alterations.  Otherwise the minutes would remain draft until after the next meeting and until they had been updated following comments in that meeting.

Lost Ways

Keith had kindly offered to take over from Colin.  He had contacted Dominic Tooze (fairly new to his role as assistant to Jack Cornish at PROW) and Tooze had then sent Keith details of an Area role.  It was agreed that Keith should reply on the basis of only wanting to do work for the group, not the area.  Dave thought it possible that Tooze mistook East Cheshire Ramblers and Cheshire East Area to be one and the same, whereas, in fact, there were three groups (Congleton and South Cheshire in addition to ours).

Colin Park’s considerable effort has suggested 19 Lost Paths are worth further consideration.  This will be compared with the list of 5 paths suggested by the Footpath Committee from  the total list of 45 identified in the old Natural England review of Cheshire Lost ways that lie in the ECR area. Keith will work further on this list of 19.

Dave was working as a verifier on lost ways.  Other people had identified lost paths and Dave was checking these to see if they were correct and, more importantly, worth spending money on.  It seems the people identifying lost paths were not necessarily walkers, so may identify a path diagonally across a field when there was now a path around a field.  Whilst this may have been a former route it is obviously not worth pursuit.  Dave believed the cost of pursuing a single path would be at least £5000 so clearly it has to be worthwhile.  Otherwise, PROW’s budget will be decimated.

Christmas meals

Maggie explained that Theresa Marshall was reluctant to take deposits from individuals for the weekend meal if these were going to have to be returned due to cancellation of the event.  Colin said that ECR would pay the deposit and then it could be simply returned to ECR in the event of cancellation.  This would save a lot of effort.

Thanks to Jane

Committee members thanked Jane for all her hard work replying to members’ emails and calls related to Covid19 and for dealing with all the  correspondence from Head Office.

  • AGENDA ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING

AGM planned for 14 November.

Christmas meals

Co-ordination of maintenance team

  • DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Thursday 1st October 1.30pm.

30-06-20 EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS SOCIAL CALENDAR 2020

Friday 20th March 1.30 pm Stockport Guided Walk with Judith Wilshaw organised by Maggie Swindells  
POSTPONED to 2021
 4th and 5th April National Conference  Bristol
CANCELLED
Friday 12Th April  Start of fortnightly Strollers’ walking programme
CANCELLED
Thursday 23rd April Bombay To Mumbai Indian – meal organised by Andy Davies
CANCELLED
Friday 24th April to Sunday 26th April Long Walkers Weekend – Aberystwyth to be organised by Colin Park
CANCELLED
Thursday 14th May Provisional start of evening walks organised by Steve Hull
CANCELLED
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June Weekend Away  Patterdale organised by Jane Gay POSTPONED TO 2021
Thursday 25th June Coach Trip Settle organised by Anne Thompson
CANCELLED
Monday 29th June ‘Footpath Inspectors Gathering’  3.30 pm Macclesfield Tennis Club organised by the Footpath Committee
POSTPONED
Thursday 2nd July ECR Walk Leader Training Macclesfield Tennis Club (more details to follow) POSTPONED
Saturday 4th July Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay
CANCELLED
Friday 7th August to Sunday 9th August Long Walkers Weekend – Anglesey (exact location to be decided) to be organised by Steve Hull
CANCELLED
Thursday 20th August Meal following final evening walk provisional booking at Farm Made, Rainow organised by Nick Wild
CANCELLED
Saturday September 5th Coach Trip organised by Gina Thompson and Maggie Swindells POSTPONED to 2021
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th Sep Ambleside Weekend away – Andy Davies
POSTPONED
Saturday 12th September (date change) Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay
TBC
Saturday 31st October Ceilidh and Supper at the Victory Hall Mobberley  organised by Tony Battilana
TBC
Saturday 14th November 2020 ECR AGM Macclesfield Tennis Club
TBC
30th November 2020 Ramblers Association Area AGM
TBC
Saturday 5th December Christmas Carol short walk – Jenny Bordoli
TBC
Saturday 12th December Week End Christmas Lunch at The Windmill organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay.
TBC