A New Way To Find Our Walks

You may have noticed that a lot of random words have appeared on the walks programme on our home page. It’s not a mistake but a new, additional, way of locating the places where our walks start.

It is called what3words. Each 3 metre square in the world has been assigned a different combination of three words by What3words Ltd and they supply a smartphone app which converts the three words into a location and can then guide you to that place. The idea is that what3words is more accurate than a post code and easier to remember than latitude and longitude or a grid reference. At the moment you need the app to make use of the words but in the future it is likely that satnavs will accept them.

What3words won’t be replacing anything on our web site – it is just another way to guide you to our walks.

Harrop Brook Bridge

Historic Footbridge Saved

An iconic stone arch footbridge across Harrop Brook near Bollington has been saved from collapse thanks, in part, to a donation by East Cheshire Ramblers. The bridge was probably built in Victorian times. It is in the Peak District National Park and is on the Gritstone trail, a popular long distance trail stretching from Disley all the way south to Kidsgrove.

Over the years the bridge supports have been eroded by the force of the Harrop Brook and the bridge is in danger of collapse. However, the cost of restoration far exceeded the cost of replacing it with a ‘standard’ timber footbridge. East Cheshire Ramblers considered that it would be tragic to lose this unique little structure and have pledged £500 towards the cost of restoration. CEC obtained similar donations from Pott Shigley, Bollington and Rainow Parish Councils and also from the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society. The repairs are in hand and due for completion by summer 2019.

This is an example of the work of the Footpaths Committee of East Cheshire Ramblers whose members regularly liaise with the Public Rights of Way Unit of Cheshire East Council. The Footpaths Committee monitor an area stretching from Disley and Poynton in the north to Wincle in the south. The Committee strives to ensure that all the public footpaths in this area of East Cheshire are in good order.

Harrop Brook Bridge showing a gap in the stonework at the right hand side of the photograph.

General Council, Manchester 2019

Reflections on General Council, Manchester 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next was the consideration of the motions that had been put forward. Only seven this year including one to rename the Agenda Committee to be the Motions Review Committee. Did it need to be debated?……. Yes it did!

Next up was GDPR and a motion asking the Trustees to acknowledge that locally held databases were OK. Apparently not, and a Trustee threatened us with a one million euro (or was it ten million euro?) fine. CO have it in hand with a dashboard app where areas and groups will be able to access the information they need? No doubt our membership secretary has all this in hand.

Third was a motion asking for an increase in publicity for the work ‘we do in improving the quality of the Public Rights of Way and in campaigning for increased access’ We were told that two new posts have been created for two years: Local Advocacy Advisors, one in the south and one in the north, who would help with this.

Fourth motion was asking for school packs to help recruit young people (and their parents) ‘who then stay with us for all their lives’.

Fifth motion was bemoaning the change of Policy by the Environment Agency (EA) towards maintenance of river banks where they impinge on rights of way. Apparently CO had been re-assured by the EA chief exec there was no change in policy with respect to river banks ‘on their land’. But most problems occurr not on EA land …….?

Sixth motion was on national planning guidance on green spaces and rights of way. Laudable stuff to press for strengthened guidance….

Seventh motion was an entertaining speaker on a motion to create a diverse and representative General Council (GC). She argued very persuasively that diverse organisations make better decisions and asked that Areas examine how they select there representatives to GC. Were there actual or perceived barriers that made participation by women more difficult? The Trustees to report back to 2020 GC which is to be held in Avon.

I can’t remember which motions were carried or defeated (except the first which, thankfully, was passed unanimously) but all the details of the motions and much more is on the Ramblers website.

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

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

NSC 16.04.19

THE WORK OF THE EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS FOOTPATHS COMMITTEE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some photographs to illustrate the group’s work


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neil Collie


Weekend Away to Pickering October 18 – 20 2019

Featured


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

Walks

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

Saturday Group Evening meal

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

Friday evening meal

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

Sunday evening meal

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

Accommodation

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

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

Standard                         £230 2 nights                        £345 for 3 nights

Executive                        £261                                        £391.50

Superior                        £290                                        £453

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

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

Other accommodation

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

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

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

3.Grindale House – also have cheaper single rooms

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

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

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

Ann Thompson,  email: athompson@email.com

Weekend Away To Ilkley 14 – 16 June 2019

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

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

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

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

Hotel Cost

2 Nights (for Friday & Saturday night)

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

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

3 Nights (for Friday,Saturday & Sunday nights)

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

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

Hotel Booking

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

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

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

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

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

Payment Details
Click here to download a booking form

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

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

A Talk About Canals By Duncan Learmond

CANALS – OUR ‘WATERY’ FOOTPATHS

A talk on the local canals by Duncan Learmond

FRIDAY MARCH 8TH 2019

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

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

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

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

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

TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR COLLECTION AT THE DOOR