ECR Stockport History Walk

RAMBLERS EAST CHESHIRE GROUP

STOCKPORT HISTORY WALK

Led by Judith Wilshaw

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

FRIDAY 20th March 2020

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

 Stockport SK1 1SP

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

COST OF THE WALK £4  

FOLLOWING THE WALK THERE IS AN OPTION TO VISIT ‘THE PRODUCE HALL’ COMPLETE WITH A RANGE OF FOOD OFFERINGS, COFFEE SHOP AND FULLY STOCKED BAR

Numbers will be limited to 25

 PLEASE COMPLETE THE BOOKING FORM WHICH WILL BE EMAILED TO MEMBERS

Early booking is recommended

Cotswold wanderings

Now this wasn’t forecast, it was suppose to be a dry day. Walking on the approach to Wood Stanway.

Over the past couple of years I have been nibbling away at walking The Shakespeare’s Avon Way which runs 92 miles between Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire and Naseby in Northamptonshire.

With this trail being very much a riverside path I have for the time being had to put walking further sections of it on hold as much of it is now under water. My next trail I had planned to walk is the 42 mile long Winchcombe Way which does a figure of eight loop radiating out from the large Cotswold village of Winchcombe and so earlier this month I brought the first walk forward and set out on the initial walk of four planned walks to cover the northern part first.

I had planned to park in the small village of Buckland just south of Broadway but with neat verges and narrow village lanes there was probably nowhere really suitable. The same applied to the next village of Laverton but I was lucky in Stanton where I found a designated car park next to the village hall. The car park was empty as it was only 8.30am when I set off on this rather cold morning with the sunshine not yet up over the Cotswold escarpment.

The Winchcombe Way which concurs with the Cotswold Way north of Wood Stanway.

I opted to walk south first as I had walked this section northbound before as it concurs with the Cotswold Way which I had walked twice. With a heavy footfall, the path towards Stanway proved very muddy and not far out of Stanton the path was near on impassable as it ran between hedges and like many other walkers who had passed this way previously, it was far easier to walk in the adjacent field. Later, where the path crossed fields, the walking was much easier as I neared the deserted village of Stanway. The historic Stanway House was well hidden from view but the ornate gatehouse was impressive and dates from around 1630. Stanway House is of a similar age. In the village I passed Stanway Mill which started out life as a corn mill and later converted to a saw mill and dates from the 17th and 18th century. The building is occasionally open to the public.

I crossed the B4077 next, and continued via a field path to Wood Stanway. The walking underfoot was a bit better here but there was now a rainbow appeared to the west with a light shower approaching but from the weather forecast, it was supposed to be a dry day. In Wood Stanway I left the Winchcombe Way and turned left up through the deserted village with little sign of life. At the top end of the village the path was signed through a farm yard which now presented a problem as the yard was packed with heifers. There seemed no easy way to avoid these beasts and with my walking pole at the ready, I scaled a high metal gate to walk through the yard. The heifers thankfully were quite docile and backed off as I squeezed through. At the end of the yard I crossed another metal gate before setting out on the long gradual ascent across fields. The path led up to Stump Cross and at the Cotswold Escarpment I found a seat for my morning break. As I gained height, an icy westerly wind had picked up but at least this north facing seat had some shelter.

To reach the village of Ford, I headed north with the aim of joining a path running parallel to the lane. The path was quite overgrown and so lane walking was a far better alternative. Heading east I took a path along the northern edge of a gravel pit to reach Carey’s Covert. Red Kites were circling overhead as I skirted the eastern side of the covert. I later joined a lane south before following a short section of the B4077 into Ford which wasn’t that pleasant as it was narrow with no verges.

The little church at Cutsdean as seen from the Winchcombe Way.

A joy to be out walking the Winchcombe Way as I near the hamlet of Taddington.

The lane leading northeast towards the attractive village of Snowshill.

From Ford, I rejoined the Winchcombe Way and would stay with the trail all the way back to Stanton. Heading north, I took a pleasant field path to Cutsdean and soon caught up a small group of walkers who turned out to be on a HF walking holiday based at nearby Bourton on the Water.. We chatted before I soon pressed on as their pace was quite slow. North of Cutsdean I took a path to the next village of Taddington and here I turned left to follow a field boundary to reach another lane. I was aiming towards the attractive village of Snowshill and pressed on north on a lane then track and for now the day was quite pleasant. I wanted to bag a trig point which lay just off the path. Access was quite easy via a track but the trig point was quite camouflaged. Back on the main track I soon turned right across a field then followed a lane into Snowshill. I now looked for a suitable place to have lunch and after a wander around the centre of the village I found a seat by the village hall but like everywhere else in the village it was a cold spot and with another shower heading in from the west I didn’t stop long for lunch. Snowshill lies high up in the Cotswold Hills and faces northwest with higher ground to the east and south. It is quite a cold spot so you don’t need much imagination to see how it got its name.

A view from my lunch stop in Snowshill. What the photograph doesn’t show is the bitter wind blowing. Time to move on.

I was rewarded with this rainbow after a brief but heavy shower shortly after leaving Snowshill.

I soon headed north along the lane with spots of rain falling. To my left was Snowshill Manor which is now in the care of the National Trust. As I turned left off the road to descend on a field path it rained heavily for a couple of minutes and I was soon rewarded with a vivid rainbow as the sunshine returned. A walker coming the other way remarked that the path ahead was extremely muddy and indeed this was no understatement. Liquid mud which was also very slippery covered the path up the slope opposite. Aided with my walking pole I was just glad that I was going uphill instead of downhill.

After a long descent from the Cotswold escarpment I came to the attractive village of Buckland.

The track running north towards Buckland Wood was also very muddy with water filled ruts. To reach Buckland I descended across several fields and with some longer grassy areas I was able to clean off my very muddy boots which were now caked with sticky Cotswold clay. I joined a lane through Buckland then followed a good surfaced path south to Laverton. In the village I turned left uphill before taking a field path towards Stanton taking care not to get my boots muddy once more. Finally I headed down through the attractive village of Stanton to reach the car. It had been a fine walk on one of those better days this year.

The end of my walk with a walk through the attractive village of Stanton.

Group walk 18th February

By Steve Hull

Fifteen East Cheshire Ramblers set out on a twelve and a half mile walk from Church Lawton on the edge of the Potteries, but unusually instead of heading for the hills and open country we made towards the built-up areas of Kidsgrove and Tunstall. This may not sound a promising start for a walk but our route was mostly along canal towpaths and disused railway lines with occasional reminders that we were in an urban environment.
All Saints’ Church is grade 2 listed and the church has had an eventful history. A previous building dates from the 11th century. The present church is built of brick and is of a neoclassical style and was built after the church was destroyed by fire in 1798. One hundred and forty six years earlier, eleven people were killed in the church when it was struck by lightning.
We were soon walking along the Trent and Mersey Canal towards a complicated junction with the Macclesfield Canal at Red Bull. We first walked under an aqueduct carrying the Macclesfield Canal and then past a series of locks rising to the junction of the canals. Later in the day we returned to Church Lawton by walking over the aqueduct and looking down on our earlier path.
Soon after Kidsgrove Station the canal entered HarecastleTunnel, which is 1.5 miles long and does not have a towpath. This meant a diversion over the top and a walk alongside a railway line passing Bath Pool with its large population of black headed gulls. The Harecastle Tunnel was the biggest challenge on constructing the Trent & Mersey Canal. There are two Harecastle Tunnels and the first tunnel was constructed by engineer James Brindley in the late 18th century but with the developing industrial revolution the tunnel soon became a bottleneck. A second larger tunnel was designed by Thomas Telford and opened in 1827. The tunnel however had no towpath and boatmen had to ‘leg’ their way through the tunnel. This was hard work and it often took them three hours to ‘leg’ the boat through the tunnel. Ventilation today is provided by large electric fans at the southern portal. Over time, the earlier tunnel fell into disrepair due to subsidence and in 1914 it was permanently closed after a partial collapse.
After rejoining the canal, we walked to Westport Lake where there is a busy café supported on stilts and overlooking the lake. After a lunch stop we turned north and picked up the route of the disused railway line known as the Potteries Loop. We followed this which en route passes through the Goldenhill Tunnel until eventually regaining the canal and re-walking a short section of our morning’s route. On leaving the Macclesfield Canal we walked past the lake in Mill Lane Plantation back to the starting point.

The group gathered at Westport Lake.

Group walk 13th February

By Paul Simms

A small but intrepid group of East Cheshire Ramblers recently walked a section of the Peak Pilgrimage route squeezed between storms Ciara and Dennis. The Peak Pilgrimage is a 39 mile long-distance footpath from the Church of the Holy Cross in Ilam to St Lawrence’s Church in the plague village of Eyam taking in ten other churches on the way. East Cheshire Ramblers have been following this path by a series of circular walks over the last few months.
This section started from Baslow taking in St Anne’s Church with its clock face celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and then northward following part of the Derwent Valley Way. At Calver we paused for coffee at All Saints Church then on past Calver Mill where cotton was spun by water power until the 1920’s. A kilometre north of the mill is the weir which holds back the waters of the Derwent in order to feed the mill race which once powered the mill. The present weir, the third on the site, is a Grade 2 listed structure, was built in the 1840’s and restoration completed in 2010. It holds back a head of 3.5 metres and these high water levels help to sustain wetland habitats collectively known as Calver Marshes. We walked through this rare Peak District wetland and on to Froggatt Bridge and Grindleford.
Our walk was fairly gentle with only 1000 feet of climb in the 10 miles but all of it now came at once with a steep accent through Hay Wood to reach the top of the gritstone outcrop of Froggatt Edge. We were very fortunate with the weather given the storms just before and after our walk. Although it was a little wet and boggy underfoot in places we had no rain and indeed quite a lot of sunshine and only a very gentle breeze. The sun came out now as we walked along the gritstone edges with wonderful views into the Derwent valley below from snow-clad Lose Hill and Kinder in the north to the stately Chatsworth House and beyond in the south; the English countryside in its glorious best even in February.
We returned to our starting point via the Eagle Stone and Baslow Bar.
For more details of the Peak Pilgrimage go to peakpilgrimage.org.uk

St Anne’s Church at Baslow.

The group on Froggatt Edge.

Fly & walk (3)

On the approach to Inishmore Airstrip which is situated between two bays.

It was just a thought that I didn’t really think would come to fruition. I was visiting Galway in the west of Ireland and decided to visit the Tourist Information Office. Now was it feasible to visit Irishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands the following day? The weather forecast was set for a fine day. My plan was to go by boat from Rossaveel, but this would leave precious short time to explore the island and in any case would mean that I wouldn’t get to the three places I really wanted to see – the ancient forts at Dun Eochla, the famous Dun Aonghasa which stands right on the edge of a vertical sea cliff and Dun Duchathair. These fine forts date back to around 1100BC. The Tourist Office suggested that if my time was limited then I could possibly fly out an back but this meant seeing if there were any spare spaces available. It transpired that there was a spare seat available for the outward and return flight but would I mind sitting up with the pilot. This was music to my ears and with no hesitation I booked the flight then and there.

It was a glorious sunny morning as I drove west from Galway to the tiny Connemara Airport and checked in for the 10am flight. We set off on the second of two Islander planes for the ten minute flight to Inishmore. It was just fantastic with a panoramic view of tiny islands all around me. At the islands’ airport a minibus was waiting to take our little group into Kilronan. This saved a one and a half mile walk. I had done calculations that if I wanted to see the three main forts on the island it would mean walking at least thirteen miles and that timing would be very fine. The minibus driver arranged to pick me up at 4.15pm at Kilronan so off I set at a brisk pace westwards along the main island road. Most people were wandering around Kilronan, the main village, visiting the variety of woollen shops whilst others were taking a ride by minibus or jaunting car to Dun Aonghasa. I wanted to walk and take in Dun Eochla, my first ancient fort. Standing at about the highest point of the island I had to take a small detour up to the old lighthouse then double back across several small fields to gain the fort. I had it to myself and it was a very impressive site. I couldn’t stop to long as I had a time schedule to keep to. I continued west along the main island road passing the occasional jaunting car before dropping down on a track to the northern coast. It seemed that I had been transported back a century in a landscape where the horse and cart seemed to be the main form of transport but there were many cyclists. Seals were out basking in the bay to the north. After a mile and a half of brisk walking I arrived at the sandy beach of Port Mhuirbhigh. My route now lay towards Dun Aonghasa. It seemed everybody was heading there and I soon passed the terminus for the jaunting cars. At the gift shop and information centre I bought a ticket then followed the enclosed stony path up hill along with everyone else. Dun Aonghasa lived up to its reputation. It was most spectacular, perched on the edge of a sheer 300 foot high cliff. This dry stone fort, rising to twenty feet in places was unbelievable and I was here in perfect weather. However, I did have to share it with almost every other nationality in the world. I was snap happy with the camera as everywhere you looked was worthy of a photograph. Despite the crowds, it was worth staying as long as possible to have my picnic lunch. An aircraft flew low over the fort which must have been truly spectacular from the air. Reluctantly I had to set off. I had one more fort that I wanted to see that of Dun Duchathair (The Black Fort). It was a good five miles away and I decided to walk via the road and track which crosses the southern side of the island. Away from the crowds one sees the true Aran, with men with scythes turning the hay and hay laid out in ‘stone’ fields to dry. On my route I was fascinated by the stone walling and the vast number of small fields some of which had hardly a blade of grass in. It was mile after mile of limestone pavement and one can imagine the hardship of working this landscape. I joined the road briefly south of Kilronan before taking a stony track to the south coast again. The coast was so spectacular, with massive curved overhanging cliffs, caves and arches. The fort at Dun Duchathair although not as complete as that at Dun Aonghasa was situated in a most spectacular location. I sat on the seaward side of it. The view was so spectacular that I didn’t want to leave. I attempted to return a similar way to Kilronan but went slightly astray in the maze of stone fields before I got back on course. My timing for the minibus was going to be fine. With a few minutes to spare I waited for the minibus in Kilronan, entertained by some young children busking by the war memorial. Waiting I did, with the precious minutes ticking by. As for the mini bus, it was nowhere to be seen and so in the end I just had to set off towards the airfield. There was no way was I going to get to the airfield on foot in time so I would need to hitch a lift from the first vehicle that came along. After a half mile I heard the minibus coming from behind. I stopped it and was relayed back to the airfield. It was a front seat again up with the pilot for the return journey to complete a most memorable day.

Kilronan is the main settlement on Inishmore which is famed for its Aran Sweaters.
Where time stands still. A typical scene on the road west from Kilronan.
Dun Eochla – The first of three ancient forts I visited on Inishmore.
The sandy beach at Cill Mhuirbhigh.
Heading towards Dun Aonghasa – the most spectacular fort on Inishmore.
Much of the southwest side of Inishmore consists of three hundred foot high sheer cliffs. Dun Aonghasa stands right on the cliff edge.
Fascinating stonework in the construction at Dun Aonghasa. A close up view.
One feature of the cliffs along the southwestern side of Inishmore is the spectacular under cutting of the cliffs. This photograph was taken at Dun Duchathair, – the last of the three ancient forts I visited.

Group walk 8th February

The group at the infant Kinder River crossing

By Martin Cave

With warnings of extreme weather for the Sunday I decided that a relatively low level walk around Hayfield would be a good option. This would provide excellent views and options to cut the walk short if the bad weather arrived earlier than forecast. As it turned, out ten of us enjoyed a lovely walk with plenty of sunshine.
Starting from Hayfield bus station we set off along the Calico Trail, passing above Clough Mill but well below Lantern Pike, to Matley Moor where we took a brief coffee stop. Crossing the Hayfield / Glossop road we then headed down to Carr Meadow which at the bottom of Hollingworth Clough is a wonderful walk leading to a distant small waterfall in August when the heather is in bloom. However, Hollingworth Clough is quite a challenge and not for us today. We then took the track to the shooting cabin above the Kinder Reservoir then down to the bottom of William Clough where we joined the path round to where the Kinder River joins the reservoir. Here we had our lunch, sheltered from the slight breeze and with good views of the Downfall far above us. Walking past Upper House we headed for the bottom of Broad Clough where our short but quite steep climb took us up to the bottom of Kinderlow End. After a short boggy section we joined Coldwell Clough, a bridle way joining Hayfield with Edale. Leaving Coldwell Clough we took little used field paths down to South Head Farm returning to Hayfield via the Pennine Bridleway and Elle Bank. Most of us ended the day with coffee and cake at Millies Tea Room and Chocolatier.

Hollingsworth Clough

At Blackshaws above Kinder Reservoir.
Above Coldwell Clough

ECR COMMITTEE MINUTES 3rd FEBRUARY 2020

Minutes of ECR committee held Monday 3 February at 1.30pm

Present

Jane Gay – chair

Dave Barraclough – footpath committee chair

Maggie Swindells – social secretary

Colin Finlayson – treasurer

Kathryn Carty – secretary

Apologies

Sue Munslow – membership secretary

Keith Anderson

Actions / discussions

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

Short – 5 to 7+ miles approximately

Medium – 8 to 10+ miles approximately

Long – 11 miles plus

Easy – moderately flat walking on good paths

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

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

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

  • Recce charges

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.Lost Ways

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

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

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

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

9 Footpath Inspector social

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

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

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

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

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

10.   Social secretary’s report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11.  Treasurer’s report

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

12.  Membership secretary’s report

January 2020

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

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

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

13 Publicity report

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

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

14. Format of minutes

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

15.  Website discussion

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

16. National Conference

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

17.  Chair’s report

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

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

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

18.  Diary dates

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

19.  Future action points

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

Kathryn Carty – secretary

Frequently Asked Questions For New Walk Leaders

Frequently Asked Questions for New Walk Leaders  

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

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

V3 03-02-20 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

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

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.