East Cheshire Ramblers Group Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Monday 11th November 2019

1. Present

Jane Gay – Chair

Colin Finlayson – Treasurer

Sue Munslow – Membership Secretary

Kathryn Carty

Keith Anderson

Adrian Flinn – Secretary

Apologies: 
David Barraclough and Maggie Swindells

2. Matters arising from last meeting (held on 2 September 2019)

2.1 The “value for the cost of the subscription”. Not yet raised with Central Office. Action: Colin Finlayson to report at next meeting

2.2 Sharing car usage through a dedicated App created by RA. Not a Central Office priority as they have other more important IT projects on going.  The Committee will encourage groups of individuals to set up WhatsApp groups to contact each other and arrange lifts to the walks starting points. Action: Jane Gay will raise at the forthcoming 2019 AGM

2.3 Safeguarding Information (children and vulnerable adults). Pending – forward to next meeting. Action: Secretary to add to agenda

2.4 Walk grade descriptions (given in our ECR website under “About “ tab and FAQ’s document to be updated to reflect any changes). Not implemented yet to allow for further discussions to take place and to be finalized at next Committee meeting. Action: Jane Gay

2.5 Continuity of future Footpath Maintenance project work. No contact with the Project Coordinator yet and this matter will be discussed at the next Committee meeting following the AGM. Action: Jane Gay

2.6 Contact with Central Office on Lost Ways.No contact with Jack Cornish made yet. Action: Dave Barraclough to make contact and report at next Committee meeting

In addition, the Committee will request the outgoing Project Coordinator of our ECR Lost Ways project to set out the next steps needed to take the project forward and help to recruit a replacement. Action: Adrian Flinn to contact Colin Park with this request

3. New Issues

3.1 Review and finalise arrangements for the 2019 AGM. Everything is ready for the AGM on 23rd November 2019.

3.2 Review of Recce charges. A rough framework was discussed and final details will be finalized/approved at the next Committee meeting. Action: Colin Finlayson /Jane Gay

3.3 Fundraising activities for charities under the banner of ECR. Two members want to independently organize sponsor walks next summer to raise money for The Christie to build an annex in Macclesfield to serve cancer patients in East Cheshire and other surrounding counties. The Secretary contacted Central Office (CO) for advice on what ECR can or cannot do to help under the Rambles Association (RA) rules on fund raising for other charities. The questions posed to RA and their response in given in the Appendix. The Committee discussed the advice and agreed that the guidelines given were very clear. Action: Adrian Flinn will forward the information in the Appendix to the two members for their information and so they can understand the scope of the support that ECR can provide to the two individuals to raise money through sponsor walks for this very worthy cause.

Date of next meeting

Monday 3rd February 2020 at 1.30 pm at Chair house

Adrian Flinn – Secretary (12.11.2019)

APPENDIX

From: Adrian Flinn <adrianflinn43@gmail.com>

Subject: East Cheshire Ramblers – Fund raising 

Date: 31 October 2019 at 16:28:48 GMT

To: fundraising@ramblers.org.uk

Hello,

I would be grateful if you could provide advice on a question of sponsored walks . Our Committee would like to know for the avoidance of doubt whether under the rules of the Ramblers Association (RA)  we can support two of our members that they want to organise independently a series of sponsored walks next summer to raise money for a very worthy cause (not RA). The organisers wish to advertise these walks under the banner of our East Cheshire Ramblers Group (ECR) and use our bulk email system to inform our members and post the walks details in our website. If this is not permitted under the RA rules what are we allowed to do to help the organisers to raise money for a worthy cause not related to the RA.

I look forward to receiving your response on this matter.

Regards,

Adrian Flinn

ECR Committee Secretary 

James Austin (Ramblers)  Nov 6, 11:17 GMT  Hi Adrian,

Thanks for your email. 

These situations are always tricky – we always want to support good causes but as a charity we are tightly bound by the charity commissions rules on fundraising for other charities.

The charity commissions rules state the the Ramblers state that we can only fund-raise for other charities provided that it helps deliver our own mission – so you need to consider the objectives of the charity that you’re planning to raise funds for.  If their objectives are consistent with ours, then it is appropriate to fund-raise for them (an example would be raising funds for the South West Coast Path Association to maintain the coastal path).  However if the charity’s objectives are different, it isn’t appropriate to raise funds for them.  This applies to all fundraising, regardless of the scale or activity.

We can also help charities who do not share our charitable objectives to put on events – but we’d urge caution.  For example, we can share our expertise (by organising walks), as this is part of our role in providing information, advice and guidance to enable people to go walking.  However any such events must be covered by the insurance of other charity.

If the organisers in this case wish to advertise the walk under the banner of ‘East Cheshire Ramblers’ and run the event under Ramblers insurance etc. then I believe this would be in contravension of the charity commission rules. If they chose to run the walks seperately, but you wanted to advertise the event (but not insure, run or organise it) then I believe that this would be allowed within the charity commission rules. Alternatively, you could organise a joint fundraising event – for example with 50% of proceeds would be donated to the Ramblers, and 50% to your partner charity – and this would be fine of the Ramblers to promote and organise.

I hope that helps? If you have any questions or issues do let us know.

Best Wishes,

James James Austin
Delivery Officer

East Cheshire Ramblers Group Minutes of the Committee meeting held on 2 September  2019

1. Present

Jane Gay – Chair

Dave Barraclough – Footpath Committee Chairman

Sue Munslow – Membership Secretary

Kathryn Carty

Maggie Swindells – Social and Events Secretary

Adrian Flinn – Secretary

Apologies: 
 Colin Finlayson and Keith Anderson

2. Matters arising from last meeting

All outstanding issues have been completed except:

2.1 The “value for the cost of the subscription”. Not raised with Central Office yet. Action: Colin Finlayson to report at next meeting

2.2 Sharing Car usage. Central Office contacted with the proposal and await a response. Action: Jane Gay will report to Committee

3. New Issues

3.1 Safeguarding information (children and vulnerable adults): The guidance for walk leaders available in the RA website was discussed and noted as we need to be familiar with this guidance and ensure that it is implemented in the walks organized by ECR if there are young people under 18 and/or vulnerable adults in a walk. The existence/access of the guidance documents will be incorporated in the “Frequently asked questions” posted in our website. Action: Maggie Swindells will amend the FAQ’s document.

Also Walk Coordinators will be informed about the existence of the guidance and how to access the information in the RA website and to let their Walk Leaders know as well so that they can become familiar with the guidance in the rare occasion that it may apply during a walk. Action: Jane Gay

4. Walks Programme

4.1 Walk grade descriptions (given in our ECR website under “About” tab). After some discussion it was agreed to update the definitions to bring them in line with current practice. The Stroller walks description is required as well. The new descriptions will be:

Length:

  • Short: 5-7 miles (approx.)
  • Medium: 7-10 miles (approx.)
  • Long: 11+ miles

Terrain:

  • Easy: Walks on paths which are reasonably level with an easy pace. No great ascents or descents
  • Moderate: Walks on paths that involve rougher ground and there are some ascents and height gained
  • Strenuous: Walks on rough ground with possible strenuous climbs and/or descents with a faster pace

Stroller Walks

3- 4 miles on even ground with very limited ascents or descents and very few stiles

Action: (1) Maggie Swindells will add the revised descriptions in the FAQ’s document that is posted in our website. Also, in this document Walk Leaders will be encouraged to put a description of the terrain and ascents in feet that are likely to be encountered in their walk. (2) Jane Gay will ask the webmaster to amend the current descriptions to reflect the agreed changes and include Stroller Walks

4.2 Midweek Medium Walks. Further discussions took place in the light of new/latest statistical data provided by the Walk Coordinator regarding attendance on these walks that we offer twice weekly to our membership.  The Committee agreed that we should consider this issue again in the light of the figures for the whole of this year and in the meantime the frequency of these walks remain as they are. It was noted that volunteers offering to lead these medium midweek walks are not coming forward and there are some gaps in the 2nd half of this year programme. Action: Jane Gay will ask the Walk Coordinator to record as part of the statistical analysis the number of cancelled walks because of lack of leaders during 2019

5. Reports from Officers

5. 1 Chair

Noted. The Walk Leaders training course (basic) will be repeated next year (date to be decided) to encourage new volunteers to come forward. See Appendix 1

5.2 Treasurer

Noted. See Appendix 2

5.3 Membership

Noted. See Appendix 3

5.4 Social & Events

Noted. The Social Programme draft for the 1H 2020 was circulated for information. See Appendix 4

5.5 Footpaths

Noted. Two items raised were discussed under 7 below. See Appendix 5

5.6 Publicity

An article is being put in the Macclesfield Express each week. No update on Lost Paths project. The Committee would like to have the articles published in the Macc Express posted in our website regularly on a weekly basis.  Action: Adrian Flinn will contact Colin Park.

6. Any other Business

6.1 Continuity of future Footpath Maintenance project work. The Committee agreed that continuity of this essential work was essential and provided a valuable service to our membership and wider walking public, in particular, the vegetation clearance of the footpaths in our patch. Action: Jane Gay will contact the Footpath Maintenance Project Coordinator to discuss some of the ideas  which came out of the Committee discussion and to ascertain the Coordinator views as to how we can achieve this aim

6.2 Newspaper articles on (a) Lost Ways and (b) Cycling on footpaths (background is given in Appendix 5). It was agreed that in (a) we should seek what progress as been achieved so far by Central Office. Action: Dave Barraclough will contact Jack Cornish who is the manager of this project at RA. Item (b) was noted and no action is necessary.

Date of next meeting

Monday 11th November 2019 at 1.30 pm at Chair house. The agenda for this meeting will be mainly to discuss/finalise the arrangements of the AGM

Adrian Flinn – Secretary (9.9.2019)

APPENDIX 1



The walk leaders training course on the 4th of July was excellent and fully subscribed. We had six experienced leaders including our leader Gillian Kay who had done all of the planning and had met with us so we knew exactly what we were doing on the day. It seemed to go very well and was much appreciated. in the end all on the waiting list of 10 were offered places. Several people were unable to attend, the  2 main reasons being work commitments and the decision that the course was not the right one for them. We had emphasised the fact that it was a beginners course and several people decided that their map reading skills were better than those we were teaching on the course. We should discuss what we want to do next year. If the aim is to get people leading walks who are unsure about map reading,  then, I think the course was perfect. We could perhaps follow it up with some information about GPS and apps.

On Saturday 16th May 2020 I’ve agreed the all 3 walks will start from or near Macclesfield. See below. I’ve told weekend coordinators.

I am contacting you with an idea to help promote physical activity and the opportunities offered by the outdoors to residents of Macclesfield.

On Saturday 16th May 2020, the second Macclesfield Bikeathon will take place. We have an idea to build an even bigger event around this. With different events going on, on the same day to promote a wide range of outdoor activities for all.

I will be approaching many groups across the town associated with physical activity.

Would East Cheshire Ramblers be interested in organising a special event on the day? The detail can be ironed out closer to the time but I was thinking of a guided walk or something like that?

Please let me know your thoughts and if this is something that you would like to do, we will organise a meeting in September. 

With best wishes
Helena

I was talking to Martin Dunkley the other day and he was showing me the Facebook and WhatsApp that they use with his Spanish walking group. Facebook and ECR do not seem to be in any way active. I have spoken to Andy Davies, who I think set up the original Facebook link and also Roger but neither of them seem to know anything about how to create a more active Facebook and WhatsApp link which would only be available to members. I’m wondering if anybody on the committee has any working knowledge of either of these things.

I sent David Gylee the statistics which I circulated to you all.  Below is his response which I think we need to discuss. Maybe he will put a motion to the AGM

Jane,

Funnily enough I went with Andy Davies for a curry recce on Friday evening at Bengal Tiger Lily and we had a chat about walk numbers amongst other things. I asked him to let me have the numbers for 2019, so he sent me the latest figures.

There is a very clear trend from these figures from Ralph taken together with the 2019 figures to date.

As the group ages, as we most certainly are doing, the trend is towards Short walks, these are becoming the most popular by far.

I was particularly interested in Medium walks for 2019, and can clearly see that the mean average is falling from previous years. So, Tuesday and Wednesday Medium walks average at 9 each, Thursday averages at 8. There are some very low statistics, 1, 2, 3, 4 all occur and some on more than one occasion.

Also noticeable is that when there is a high number – 19 was the highest, then this is usually balanced by a low number on the alternative Medium walk day. So, weather may be a factor, or the walk leader may be a factor, or the start point, but it looks clear that medium walkers decide to go on a certain day, and then ignore the other day in that week.

Added together, the average works out at 17, an easily manageable number for one walk leader.

I would suggest that we go back to one Medium walk per week, alternating between Wednesday and Thursday, with the Long walk alternating between Tuesday and Wednesday. So, for example one week would have Long walk on Tuesday, Medium walk Wednesday, next week Long walk on Wednesday, Medium walk on Thursday.   On the other hand, short walks average out in 2019 for 21 on Tuesdays, and 19 on Wednesday, so could be split into two midweek walks, although organisation and a shortage of walk leaders may prove to be difficult to overcome.

What I personally think would be a very good solution, would be to have Long, Medium, and Short walks on different days each week, but then rotating on those days over a 3 week cycle.

Thus:-

Week 1

Tuesday – Long

Wednesday – Medium

Thursday – Short

Week 2

Tuesday – Short

Wednesday – Long

Thursday – Medium


Week 3

Tuesday – Medium

Wednesday – Short

Thursday – Long


but is probably far too radical for the members!! David

I will attempt to get this year’s medium walk numbers from Andy and share those with you as well as ask his opinion on the situation.


Frank and I Attended David Derek Thornley’s funeral and it was great to see so many of the long serving members there. The Ramblers must’ve been represented by at least 30 people so that was good. His family were lovely and have given me some maps and booklets to see if anybody wants them. I’ll share these at the meeting and then take them to the AGM

Re AGM I have a homemade cake already promised from Ruth Harrison!! 

Jane Gay

APPENDIX 2

Brief report as follows :

Bank balance at 26/8/2019 – £6068

Bank Charges to date -£5.70

2019/2020 Budget – This was submitted on 26th July to RA requesting £1600 funding for ECR .We will be notified in late September if our request has been accepted.

Annual Return 2019 :

Annual Year End accounts package has been issued with a return date deadline of 21st October .

Colin Finlayson

APPENDIX 3

August 2019 Membership Report 

ECR Membership Numbers

576    Jan

577    Feb

575    March

575    April

574    May 

562     June

557     July

558     August 

Numbers of new members joining each month always fluctuate slightly but averaging about 3 at present compared with about 4 last year. 

Early summer indicated a drop in membership .  Looking at those three months  from 22 not renewing…..

1/3    did not renew after a year

1/3    not renewing had been members from 2 to 10 years. 

This trend is shown nationally …there are many reasons

1.  people retiring later

2. more people may be walking but there are a large number of other groups where membership may be free.   For example the growth of AIR and U3A groups.  Congleton U3A has at least 4 groups representing 100 – 200 walkers.  

ACTION…..all new members trying out walks should be welcomed by all.  Membership secretory to order more leaflets for places such as the Macclesfield  Medical Centre. 

Recent email received….

Membership recruitment – please note the new booklet, adverts, joining process and staff 

We want members to feel part of our Ramblers community from the moment they join us. In addition to the friendly welcome they’ll receive locally, we’ve created a welcome booklet, which, from early October, will be sent to new members soon after they join, alongside their welcome letter and membership card. The booklet will help them understand how to make the most of their membership: introducing the range of benefits that they can enjoy and reminding them of ways to get involved with their local groups, volunteer and campaign with us. 

This Summer we’ve been trialling new Facebook adverts to help us recruit more of Britain’s walkers into our membership. We’ve been testing different messages to see which have most appeal. Encouragingly, the adverts trialled to date have been successful, especially the one which promotes our taster walks: where a non-member can try out up to three walks for free before joining the Ramblers.

We have also been making improvements to our joining process. With more than 85% of new members joining online, we want to make sure that this process is as easy as possible. From mid-September, we will be making some significant improvements to the online join process, including sending a follow-up email to anyone who doesn’t complete the whole process, asking for feedback and giving details on how to contact us if they’ve been having problems joining online.

And we know you will join us in welcoming Nicky Teegan this month as our new membership acquisition officer – a vital new role as we collectively aspire to grow our membership community. Nicky joins us from Cyclehoop and is looking forward to working with you to support your membership recruitment initiatives across Great Britain.  We will continue to keep you informed of progress. Please send any feedback to our head of membership nicola.fickling@ramblers.org.uk.

Sue Munslow

APPENDIX 4

Social Secretary’s Report 2nd September 2019

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 ensures that we have a varied and interesting programme which we can all access and enjoy. 

Three visits to the Blackden Trust home of the author Alan Garner and his family, and organised by Brian Griffith and Colin Park, were a real treat. The visits, which were all very well attended, offered those who went a real insight into the author’s passion about local history and what life was like for his children growing up in a Tudor house with no amenities!  Thanks to Brian and Colin for all their hard work in organising the events.

Rodney Hughes led his Wincle History walk from the Ship Inn at Wincle on the 2nd August. Fifteen walkers attended and the feedback was very positive. Those who attended suggested that more history walks would be a good addition to our annual programme and Rodney has kindly agreed to lead another walk next summer.

Thanks go to Steve Hull for organising the evening walk programme which provides walkers with a great opportunity to make the most of walking in the longer summer days. Thanks too to Nick Wild for organising the meal after the final walk.

The coach trip to Conway has been advertised and we’ve had a positive response with 38 confirmed bookings so far. Another advert will go out at the beginning of September.

Three Christmas meals have been booked and all are preceded by a walk, details on the Social Calendar. 

Andy Davies has contacted me to say that he has booked a Curry Night on Thursday 24th October at the Bengal Tiger Lily, at Monks Heath.

The booking in February for an ECR Talk about the story behind The Clink, the restaurant at Styal Prison, has been confirmed.

Offers to organise or lead future events, coach trips and or weekends away would be warmly welcomed!

Maggie Swindells

maggieswindells@gmail.com

22nd August 2019

APPENDIX 5

FOOTPATH COMMITTEE REPORT TO THE MAIN ECR COMMITTEE MEETING September 2nd 2019

There has not been a Footpath Committee Meeting since the last ECR Committee Meeting but business has been continuing as normal with various e mail actions in progress. I will be attending the bi-annual Cheshire East Footpath Secretaries Meeting in the morning of September 2nd  – directly before the ECR Meeting and will report verbally on any key issues.

1. The last ECR Meeting was unable to discuss suggestions regarding the long term continuity of the Project Team and I would like to encourage discussion to reach a conclusion. My previous suggestions remain unchanged, as follows. It might be timely for the main ECR Committee to consider how this work can be ensured of continuity in the future. My personal view is that a small group of 2 to 4 people might co-ordinate the work (not necessarily as a formal Committee). This would help to ensure that we have continuity of experience as members come and go from this work – as happens with the Footpath Committee.

2. It was timely that Jane Gay and Sue Munslow circulated links of press articles regarding Lost ways and Cyclists on Footpaths respectively. I have concerns on both these topics and will be raising these also at the Cheshire FP Secretaries Meeting. I would like to discuss these under AOB at the Meeting.

Briefly my concerns are:-

Lost Ways

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/07/ramble-on-the-fight-to-save-forgotten-footpaths

Our  useful meeting last January with Jack Cornish, the Project Manager for ‘Don’t Lose Your Way’ learnt about the project but also urged that the costs of claiming and establishing new paths need to be taken into account. He agreed to take this into consideration. It still appears that costs are not being considered at all. One enthusiastic Rambler in Suffolk has submitted more than 800 applications for new paths – all at the cost of the local PROW department’s limited resources. 

I will be updating the Lost Ways situation across Cheshire at my meeting of Footpath Secretatires.

Cycling on Footpaths

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ramblers-put-a-foot-down-over-shared-paths-with-mountain-bikers-and-horse-riders-2j2p0x0hf

About the same time as this article I saw a TV news item by the British Cycling encouraging the formal opening of all footpaths to cyclists. The background pictures of numbers of mountain bikers on muddy footpaths were dreadful! I have also recently heard Peak District cycling groups promoting routes across paths in the Peak District – which is obviously illegal at present. The Ramblers policy seems much too weak “Let’s discuss each case” and they should be more proactive to stop illegal use, much as they did against the use of 4×4 vehicles on bridleways.

I suggest we might discuss these views and possibly pass our conclusions to the other Cheshire Ramblers Groups and onwards to Central Office.

3. I have listed a few points of interest from the ongoing work of the Footpath Committee that illustrate what we are regularly doing.

  1. SEMMMS Road – completion of outstanding commitments for footpath access points. This is a protracted actionled by Neil Collie, where we are maintaining pressure on CE PROW and the SEMMS contract company to fulfil their various commitments for adequate access points and footpaths along this road.
  2. Proposed deletion Rainow FP15/Kettleshulme FP23 – another protracted problem!! We previously reported that PROW had recommended refusal of this application to the CE ROW Committee and hoped that this would allow proper reinstatement of the footpath (notably a new bridge).  Unfortunately the landowner has appealed to the Secretary of State and there will now be a public enquiry. We are not heavily involved but we will probably re-state our opposition to the proposed deletion.
  3. Link with Project Team – the Committee has already been made aware of the Project Team completing the clearance of the overgrown Alderley Edge FP2 in Clock House Wood of Alderley Edge National Trust. The work was coordinated between Brian Richardson and Nick Brearley, arising directly from Nick joining the Footpath Committee and using the Inspection Database to identify a useful task. We hope to continue this approach with Nick’s   efforts. I hope Brian Richardson can produce a short publicity article to pass to Colin Park on this work. It is worth quoting Nick’s comments “I led a long walk yesterday which included FP2. I must say that I can’t remember a better waymarked path and the clearance and level adjustments worked very well, allowing easy progress. Chris Munslow was on hand to give some background information about the work involved. There were hopeful signs that the path is being used and that the time was well spent.”
  4. Footpath Problems reported – a small number of problems have been reported over the last 3 months, either via Central Office, from local members of the public or ECR members. Advice is given on these and action taken with PROW as necessary. Details are not described her but one useful example can be described. A bridge on a path at Sutton was washed away in the bad weather and reported to us. By the time it was raised with PROW, they had already closed the path and started arrangements to replace the bridge. However, the limitations of their publicity process were demonstrated. Our knowledge of this problem was able to alert a Walk Leader (Teresa Marshall) to re-route her planned walk. We may decide to renew discussions with PROW over the way they show all types of closures on their website.
  5. Annual Footpath Inspection The annual inspection has been fully organised by Tony Battilana and is now in progress. We expect many inspectors will leave their inspection until close to the September 27th deadline – then we will be busy with our analysis before the ECR AGM. A few minor problems have been raised with Tony.

Dave Barraclough

26th June 2019

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/07/ramble-on-the-fight-to-save-forgotten-footpaths

East Cheshire Ramblers Group Minutes of the Committee meeting held on Monday 24th June 2019

1. Present

Jane Gay – Chair

Colin Finlayson – Treasurer

Kathryn Carty

Maggie Swindells – Social and Events Secretary

Adrian Flinn – Secretary

Apologies: 
 Keith Anderson, Dave Barraclough

and Sue Munslow

2. Matters arising from last meeting

2.1 Lost Ways:developments will be monitored as they happen as there is Committee support for this activity. Action: Colin Finlayson

2.2 Area Leadership Day: Noted (see Chair report for background)

2.3 Contact with other local walking groups in our Area: feedback was shared. No further action is required at this time.

3. New Issues

3.1 Safeguarding information:  carried forward to next meeting. Action: Maggie Swindells

3.2 ECR Committee attendance: Dave Barraclough has requested that he is no longer a full time member of the Committee but will attend meetings as and when available. Footpath Committee reports will be provided as usual. The Chair and the rest of the Committee recorded their appreciation of all the excellent contributions from Dave and hope that he will be able to attend our meetings frequently.

3.3 2019/2020 Budget preparation: figures were agreed by the Committee. Action: Colin Finlayson will circulate by email a draft budget for final approval by the Committee for submission to Central Office (CO) before the deadline on Friday 26 July.

The issue of “value for the cost of the subscription” to members will be raised with CO. Action: Colin Finlayson

3.4 Footpath Projects Team: the Coordinator (Brian Richardson) has restarted this work. The first project was vegetation clearance (Over Alderley FP2 in National Trust land) conducted by a team of volunteers on 21 June.

4. Walks Programme

4.1 Midweek Medium Walks: It was reported that recently the number of walkers attending these walks had dropped in a few walks. The Committee discussed this issue in depth and considered the possible factors impacting on numbers and some figures provided by the Walk Coordinator. Also, the figures from the first half of 2017 and 2018 were available for comparison. It was concluded that no changes to the programme are needed at this time. Informal soundings will be carried out to get a fuller picture during the second half of this year and may be convene a meeting of Walk Coordinators to seek their views. Action: Jane Gay if meeting is required

4.2 Stroller Walks: very successful. The Coordinator has proposed to increase the frequency to weekly in the 2020 Walk programme.

4.3 Walk Leaders Training on 4 July 2019: a small team convened by the Chair has spent time with Gillian Kay (an experienced leader who has taught as a National Park Ranger volunteer) to  plan this course which is fully booked with a waiting list.

5. Reports from Officers

5. 1 Chair

Noted and some of the issues have been discussed separately. See Appendix 1

5.2 Treasurer

No report. See item 3.3 above.

5.3 Membership

Noted. See Appendix 2

5.4 Social & Events

Noted. See Appendix 3

5.5 Footpaths

Noted. See Appendix 4

5.6 Publicity

No Report. No issues to consider at this meeting.

6. Any other Business

6.1 Issue ECR members with name badges to wear during walks (proposed by Keith Anderson to help remembering names): in theory a good suggestion but after discussion it was considered impractical.

6.2 Sharing Car usage: Keith Anderson proposed that we should make representation to CO to create an App accessible from our website for lift sharing. Action: Jane Gay will write to CO with this proposal

6.3 Develop a more active collaboration with the other two groups in our Cheshire East Area: it was agreed to send our Committee members list (with contact details) to the other groups to facilitate communications. Action: Jane Gay to send the list to Chairs in the other groups

Date of next meeting

Monday 2nd September 2019 at 1.30 pm at Chair house

Adrian Flinn – Secretary (30.6.2019)

Note

It was agreed to hold a meeting  on Monday 11th November 2019 at 1.30 pm at Chair house to finalize the arrangements for the AGM on Saturday 23rd November 2019

Appendix 1

I followed up on the area leadership day on the 26th of April to which we were not invited, or to be more correct to which Dave found he was invited the day before the meeting. I contacted Steve Butterfield and he said there were four from Congleton himself from South Cheshire and nobody from East Cheshire. Obviously something has gone wrong with the advertising of this meeting.


Good afternoon Diane,

I am contacting you  re the Area Leadership Day which was held at Crewe on the 26th of April. Dave Barraclough seemed to get notice of this the day before the event but was unable to attend and none of the committees members were able to take up his place at such short notice. I’m not actually sure who the event was open to. 

We are East Cheshire Group which is a part of Cheshire East Area. Would you like me to send you an up to date list of our committee members?  It sounded like a very interesting and useful day.

I have left a message on your mobile. Jane Gay Chair ECR 

And her response

Subject: RE: Area leadership day Crewe 26th April

Hi Jane, so sorry for slow response, I’ve been catching up with email since getting back from my holiday.

We wanted to start offering days for people new to Area Leadership roles and those on Area Committees/Councils and thinking about taking up an area role in the future.

The Crewe meeting was the first in a series across the country and was a piolet to see if volunteers found it useful, the logic for offering East Cheshire committee members first was because they had new people in role. It really was word of mouth after that so some people came who were curious about areas and how the area support team worked. 

I’m not sure why but Dave Barraclough was on my original list of people who expressed an interest, that could have been my mistake following the AGM, that is why I sent a reminder the day before.

I’m really pleased that you think this sort of meeting would be useful and some of your committee would want to attend.

Future meeting dates are hot off the press, just confirmed today, see below,  and if volunteers want to attend and are interested in taking on area roles or being on an area committee they are most welcome. More information will go out in the volunteer newsletter. 

We can also put on additional meetings if there is a need.

Thanks for getting in touch, if you want to discuss this in more detail I’m happy to give you a ring.

Meeting Dates:

  • Monday 20 May 2019                         York
  • Friday 26 July 2019                           Reading
  • Tuesday 17 September 2019             Exeter
  • Monday 30 September 2019             Newcastle
  • Monday 7 October      2019                St. Albans

As a result of this Steve Butterfield and I have had a discussion about whether or not we should have a more active Area set up. The first step is to circulate our committee membership to the other two groups. With this in mind I have asked Adrian to update the lists and we will discuss what we are happy to share with the other two groups.

If you remember from our last meeting Neil Collie, after he had attended General Council, thought it may be of benefit to us to have a slightly more active Area Group. 

Frank and I have taken over  putting information on to the website. We are now responsible for most of  the information which goes out to members and that which is put onto the website. I’m hoping that Maggie and Steve Hull will spend some time with us and then be able to carry out both of these tasks.  With this in mind I’ve set up a meeting on 1st July. 

Sue, Michael Murphy, David Gylee, Frank and myself have spent some time with Gillian Kay planning the walk leader training which is on the 4th of July. I think this is a trial session and that we will amend it after this initial course.

Below are two suggestions from Keith who is unable to attend this meeting. I said we would discuss them and get back to him.

1. How about issuing members with name badges and asking them to wear them. I, like many others I think, struggle to remember names from a 20+ walk group and these always seem to be 40-50% different members each time.

2. With all the publicity about car usage, should we be making representations to Ramblers HQ to create an App, accessible from our website for lift sharing.

I have absolutely no idea of the cost/effort/feasibility of such a thing but thought it worth asking the question !

I have been trialling the ramblers app and finding it really quite interesting and very easy to use. I will feedback more about it at the meeting.

A prospective  member made enquiries about joining a walk and said the following

“The walk was really good and I was made to feel very welcome, I’ll definitely come on another walk probably Saturday or next week” let’s hope she joined. 

Dave Barraclough has requested that he is no longer an automatic member of the committee but will attend meetings as and when he is available. I’d like to record my thanks to Dave for all he has done and the help he has given to me personally. Here’s hoping he is able to frequently attend our meetings!!! 

Jane

Appendix 2

For some years the rambler’s numbers nationally have been slowly declining for reasons already discussed.

East Cheshire Ramblers are showing a similar trend. From November 2018 to February 2019 we were averaging 3/4 new members per month. During this four-month period our total membership fell by five to 577.

However, from March to June this year we have only averaged 1/2 new members per month.  During this time our membership has dropped by 13 to 562,

During the last two weeks I have left more leaflets at the Town Hall and library.  Next week I am leaving some at the medical centre, hospital and the leisure centre.

Sue Munslow

Appendix 3

My thanks go to all my fellow ramblers who continue to offer and provide social events for our group. Their continued support and enthusiasm ensures that we have a varied and interesting programme which we can access and enjoy. 

Despite the weather over recent months the walks I’ve attended have been really interesting and have all been well received. It’s interesting that a number of new members have joined us on the short walks and most have turned up again!

Steve Hull organised an excellent coach trip to Arnside on the 8th June ably assisted by Ruth Harrison, who led the short walk, and Colin Park who led the long walk. Steve led the medium walk, which I joined, and despite the rain which fell softly but relentlessly all day, we really enjoyed our walk.  A lot of time and effort goes into organising our coach trips and I’d like to thank Steve, Ruth and Colin for the time and effort they put into the day. It was much appreciated by all the walkers. 

Melanie Davy organised an excellent walking weekend in Ilkley. Due to a number of fires on the moors over the Easter Weekend Melanie had to reorganise her plans which required additional effort on her part. On behalf of all the members who attended I’d like to thank Melanie for organising a very successful weekend away.

Twenty walkers joined Anne Thompson for her Monyash walk on the 20th June. The scenic afternoon walk, which culminated in an excellent meal for nineteen people, was prepared by a specialist chef.  Thank you to Anne for organising this event.

Due to high demand Brian Griffiths and Colin Park arranged a third date for a visit to Blackden Trust this summer. Please see dates below.

An additional special interest walk has been arranged for the 2nd August. Rodney Hughes will lead a Wincle History walk from the Ship Inn at Wincle which will take the old roman road to Wild Boar Clough and will finish at Wincle Brewery. Rodney will provide a ‘Historic Talk’ along the route.

The programme for the next six months is detailed below for your information and will be published on the ECR website. Three Christmas meals have been booked and all are preceded by a walk. Andy Davies has contacted me to say that he’s arranging a Curry Night in the Autumn and I’ve make a provisional booking in February for a ECR Talk about the story behind The Clink, the restaurant at Styal Prison.

Any other ideas or suggestions for future events would be warmly welcomed!

Maggie Swindells

East Cheshire Ramblers Social Calendar

July to December 2019

Thanks to all those involved in organising these events. Any ideas for the next programme would be warmly welcomed.

If you have any suggestions or ideas about an event please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Maggie Swindells maggieswindells@gmail.com 07729327940 /01625 829671

DATE EVENT
Thursday 4th July Walk Leader Training (full with a waiting list)
Wednesday 17th July Visit to Blackden Trust A six mile circular walk from Goostrey with 4/5 miles to Blackden Trust and 1/2 miles back. Organised by Brian Griffiths
Friday 2nd – 4th August   Long walkers weekend Kirby Stephen organised by Georgie and Peter Everson and Steve Hull (may be an optional walk on the 2nd)
Friday 2nd August Winkle History Walk led by Rodney Hughes max 20 places (currently one place left)
Thursday 15th August Final Evening Walk followed by a meal at Rosie Lee Hayfield 18.30 start from Hayfield led by Nick Wild
Wednesday 21st August Visit to Blackden Trust organised by Colin Park
Saturday 24th August Visit to Blackden Trust organised by Tony Littler
Saturday 21st – 29th September Bollington Walking Festival
Saturday 28th September Coach trip to Conway organised by Annette Hurst, Gina Thompson and Maggie Swindells
Friday 11th October History Talk by Judith Wilshaw – Brabyns Park and the Iron Bridge – Macclesfield Tennis Club
Friday 18/20th October Weekend away to Pickering organised by Ann Thompson
Saturday 23rd November ECR AGM  2pm at Macclesfield Tennis Club Please contact maggieswindells@gmail.com for more details
Tuesday 3rd December Area AGM – More details to follow
Thursday 12th December Midweek Christmas Lunch The Church House organised by Andy Davies preceded by a walk organised by David Gylee
Saturday 14th December Week End Christmas Lunch at The Windmill organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay.
Saturday 21st December Christmas walk and meal organised by Georgie and Peter Everson
Wednesday 1st January Keith’s Sherry walk organised by Melanie Davy and Lorraine Tolley

Future vents to note:

  • Andy Davies is hoping to organise a curry night in the autumn. Date and details to follow
  • 21st February 2020 at Macclesfield Tennis Club – ‘The Clink’ – the story behind the restaurant at Styal Prison

.

Appendix 4

The Footpath Committee met on June 10th for their regular meeting and a number of standard items were covered on the agenda. Minutes of the Meeting are copied to the ECR Chair.

A summary of key points is:-

  1. The annual footpath survey is fully organised and resourced with Footpath Inspectors and is currently in ‘mid season’, with results requested by the end of September. It is generally found that most inspectors leave their survey until the last few weeks. There has been one example of ‘cropping’ – planting of crops to obliterate the footpath – and this has been reported to PROW.
  2. Progress on several ‘Priority Paths was discussed and several Diversion Orders recorded. The work to restore the Harrop Brook bridge (that ECR contributed £500 to the cost) has not yet started.
  3. Neil Collie attended the recent ROW Committee Meeting to hear the outcome of the claim to delete Rainow FP15/Kettleshulme FP23, where the report recommended rejection of the claim, as we expected. The footpath should now be made walkable – but there will be inevitable problems.
  4. Nick Brearley has identified from the database results that Over Alderley FP2 is a suitable candidate for vegetation clearance. This is in the National Trust land and he has met with the NT Warden to agree a work plan. Discussion is ongoing with Brian Richardson to arrange a Working Party.
  5. We are not aware of any other project work being organised by the Project Team. It might be timely for the main ECR Committee to consider how this work can be ensured of continuity in the future. My personal view is that a small group of 2 to 4 people might co-ordinate the work (not necessarily as a formal Committee). This would help to ensure that we have continuity of experience as members come and go from this work – as happens with the Footpath Committee.
  6. We are discussing how to improve the information provided to ECR Members and the public, via the website, on how to report footpath problems to PROW. This would include links to the relevant PROW Offices in surrounding authorities (Cheshire West, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Trafford, Stockport). We are proposing to discuss this topic at the next Cheshire Footpath Secretaries Meeting and PROW Consultative Meeting in October.  

Dave Barraclough

Chairman – ECR Footpath Committee

20th June 2019

Shakespeare’s Avon Way – a circular walk at the eastern end.

Early morning sunlight on St Mary’s Church at the start of my walk.

On my many visits to Bristol each year, I usually get a walk in on my journey down or on the way back and over the past couple of years I have been nibbling away on walking the Shakespeare’s Avon Way which runs 92 miles from Tewkesbury to Naseby in Northamptonshire. Some of my walks have been linear where public transport is fairly straightforward but there are parts where public transport is near on nonexistent and so the only option has been to do the walk as a circular. The other problem as many of us are all too well aware of at present is flooding. The ‘Shakespeare’s’ Avon is all too prone to bursting its banks over the winter months and this autumn has very much proved the point.

A couple of weeks ago I was planning to walk another section of the Shakespeare’s Avon Way but bad weather was forecast. Having walked the path between Tewkesbury to Warwick, my original plan had been to walk the next section between Warwick and Ryton on Dunsmore and then catch a bus to Coventry then another bus back to Warwick. This would have meant a longer walk and certainly a finish in wet weather. I decided therefore on re-planning the day with an early start and doing a circular walk at the easternmost end of the Shakespeare’s Avon Way. For one thing, this walk was a bit shorter and wouldn’t require catching any buses. Furthermore, given an early start I probably could finish the walk before lunch time and hopefully prior to the rain setting in.

I left home early (5am) under starry skies and drove down to Welford in Northamptonshire but the journey was fraught with foggy patches. Dawn was breaking as I joined the M1 motorway and I reached Welford just at sunrise.
Parking in the village all was very quiet as I donned walking boots and wrapped up in warm clothing. It was minus three centigrade with a heavy frost and with all the recent heavy rain the road surfaces were very slippery.

Leaving Welford and following the Shakespeare’s Avon Way across frosty fields. A change in the weather is just apparant on the horizon.

Crossing frosty fields towards the shallow Avon valley east of Welford.

Setting out at 7.30am, the first rays of the morning sunshine was lighting up the warm coloured stonework of St Mary’s Church in the village. I crossed the main road and took a frosty path northeast. My plan first was to follow the Shakespeare’s Avon Way to Naseby and the location of the source of the river and my route initially was along the shallow valley of the infant River Avon. The meadows were a frost hollow and were choked with shallow fog. It was almost magical in the surreal light with the low morning sunlight casting long foggy shadows along the fields. Despite a heavy frost, the ground along the valley was waterlogged in places. I later crossed the River Avon near the former Sulby Abbey. Today a farmhouse lies on the site of the abbey which was founded in 1155 as daughter house of the Abbey of St. Mary and St. Martial in Newsham and in its heyday covered around 1500 acres. It was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538. I crossed more fields and gradually ascended to the Naseby Road. I would stay with this road all the way to Naseby, and with the fog being very much present it gave the opportunity for some interesting atmospheric photography. High cloud was edging in from the southwest and I knew that the magic of the early morning would soon be gone.

A magical morning with low sunrise across frosty fields along the River Avon valley.

The infant River Avon east of Welford.

The road had a coating of black ice much of the way to Naseby and I quite often found easier walking along the grassy verges and in any case most passing drivers seemed oblivious to the underlying road conditions as they sped by. It was always safer to leap up onto the verge well before a vehicle reached me.

The fog returns as I head towards Naseby but it makes an unusual atmosphere.

Sunlight through the trees as I near Naseby on this magical start to the day.

The foggy outline of All Saints’ Church Naseby eventually came into view. The church has a fine slender spire which was added much later than the 14th century tower. I explored the churchyard then stopped at a seat surrounding a tree in the centre of the village for a short break. The village hadn’t really come to life but as I tucked into my morning break the silence was broken with the church bell striking 9am. Unknown to me and very close by was a cone shaped monument which marked the source of the River Avon so this will mean another visit to find this one day. Several other rivers have their source in the area including the Nene and the Welland which both flow eastwards into The Wash.

All Saints’ Church in Naseby and time for an early break.

Naseby is far better known for its famous battle during the First English Civil War fought on the 14th June 1645. The Parliamentarians defeated the Royalists in this decisive battle and within a year the Parliamentarians had won the first civil war. Today I wasn’t visiting the battle site and instead headed through the village to take the minor lane to Thornby. Along this road the fog closed in and with the cloud edging in, the sunshine was soon watery. The frost was going quickly and the black ice along this lane was less of an issue.

In Thornby I crossed the main road and took a wander around the foggy churchyard of St Helen’s Church before taking a field path west to join the Cold Ashby Road.
En route to Cold Ashby, the fog suddenly lifted to reveal quite a grey day. In the village I made for the interesting church and took a look inside. The colourful east window was of a modern design and I was impressed by the modern metal seat outside commemorating World War 1. This modern bench seat is one of many such seats that are appearing in various villages up and down the country and made by David Ogilive Engineering of Kilmarnock.

The historic church at Cold Ashby but now the weather is beginning to change.

A modern bench seat outside St Denis’s Church commemorating World War 1

From the village I followed the lane west with views opening out to the south but at the same time rain bearing clouds were evident to the south and west. I did have thoughts of extending my walk but now, with the weather on the change it didn’t seem such a good idea. Just off this road I made a short detour to visit the Cold Ashby Trig Point but this is no ordinary trig point. Some could say it’s the ‘Cathedral of trig points’ as this is where it all started and a plaque on the trig point commemorates that this was the trig point from where the first observations were made for the re-triangulation of Britain on the 18th April 1936. I had been here before and on my previous visit, when the trig point stood in the middle of a field but since then a hedge has been planted so that it is now partially obscured.

The ‘famous’ Cold Ashby Trig Point where the re-triangualtion of Britain started in 1936.

Returning to the lane I continued over some marginally higher ground and veering north in the process. Descending, I re-crossed the A14 and soon took a bridleway on the right to skirt around towards the Northampton Road. The fields were now quite mucky and I picked up plenty of mud of my boots in the process. Way-marking wasn’t all that wonderful as I crossed fields but I came to the conclusion that at least this path had some footfall. I reached Court Lane and followed this west for a short distance then took an overgrown path north and had to scale a small gate. The path continued across fields to reach Welford and I pressed on into the centre of the village before following a couple of side roads back to the car. By now it had turned a very grey day and the rain that had been forecast didn’t seem that far away.

It had been a magical start to the walk but my journey down to Bristol via the Cotswolds was through torrential rain with some minor flooding.

Medium group walk report 16th November

Despite the Saturday weather forecast to be the drier day of the weekend this walk turned out to be on the wet side. Tony Littler led a party of eight setting out from Broadbottom.
Early into the walk there was the promise of a fine morning but the brighter skies weren’t to last.

We set off at10am soon crossing the swollen River Etherow before following the riverside path then cutting up to Broadbottom Railway station to see if anyone had arrived by train.
Crossing Mottram Road we ascended a flight of steps and later took a field path ascending to Hillend. Here we turned right and soon right again taking another field path which later descended through an overgrown area. Our descent continued to the Etherow Valley and we stayed on tracks all the way. Once across the River Etherow we ascended to Lower Gamesley and took an overgrown side path which Tony had cleared on his previous visit. Crossing some rough ground we were soon at the remains of the Melandra Roman Fort and the stopping point for our morning break. The Roman fort is still clearly visible as a square embankment but the site is very overgrown and neglected. The fort dates from the first century AD and was originally built with wooden fence along the embankment. The origin of the name ‘Melandra’ is unclear but it is thought that the Roman name was fort was ‘Ardotalia’. The wooden fort was soon replaced with a stone fort but the site is believed to have been only occupied for around ninety years. The stone was later robbed for local buildings, road construction and stone was even used in the construction of Mottram Church.

Our walk continued up through the housing estate at Gamesley to reach the A626 and soon afterwards we turned left on an extremely waterlogged path pitted with holes from horse hoofs. We inched our way across the quagmire with liquid mud up to the top of our boots. Conditions did become better as we reached Simmondley and Tony decided that it would be better to keep to residential roads in this area.

To get up to Cown Edge we took an uphill path which was quite narrow and slippery with plenty of muddy patches. We toiled up with rain bearing clouds beginning to close in. Our progress was slow, and as we reached the ridge so the weather closed in with a dense fine rain and lowering cloud. It was time for a late lunch and the only feasible spot was to stop at an area of woodland to get what little shelter there was. Some of us found a good spot which kept the rain off but over lunch the cloud settled in on the hill top. What a miserable day it had turned out to be.
The lunch stop was quite short and we set off along a very foggy Cown Edge with no views whatsoever. Another group came the other way appearing out of the gloom. For the afternoon and we pressed on along the cliff top over Coombes Tor and again Tony opted to take a firmer route rather than ploughing through more mud. We descended by passing Robin Hood’s Picking Rods hardly pausing as we passed this monument. Clad in full wet weather gear and heads bowed we pressed on in silence in the steady fine rain.
We later cut across a waterlogged field and followed a track, lane then field path down to Chisworth. Despite it being only mid afternoon the light was so bad with the cloud base well down on the slopes around us.
We crossed the A626 again and descended via a slippery and muddy path to the former Kinderlee Mill. This site is now modern apartments but the location is very much hemmed in the valley with no views. The decision was taken to stay on lanes now as the path through Tom’s Wood was near on impassable according to Tony. It meant a slightly longer route but at least it would provide some better walking underfoot. At the foot of the valley we re-crossed the River Etherow once more then it was back along our outward route in fading light despite it being well before sunset.

Sorry no photographs this time as the weather was so gloomy.

AGM Documents – Sat 23 November

RAMBLERS’ EAST CHESHIRE GROUP

2019 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Saturday 23rd November 2019 at 2.00 p.m.

To be held at Macclesfield Tennis Club, Learning Zone Campus,

Park Lane, Macclesfield, SK11 8LF

Agenda

  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of the AGM held on 24th November 2018 for approval
  3. Matters arising from the minutes
  4. Annual Reports from officers

Chair: Jane Gay

Treasurer: Colin Finlayson

Membership secretary: Sue Munslow

Social & Events Secretary: Maggie Swindells
Footpaths Committee Chair: David Barraclough

Publicity Officer: Colin Park

  1. Election of Officers and Committee

Chair (Jane Gay)

Secretary (Vacancy)

Treasurer (Colin Finlayson)

Membership Secretary (Sue Munslow)

Social & Events Secretary (Maggie Swindells)

Footpaths Committee Secretary (Dave Barraclough)

Publicity Officer (Colin Park)

Committee Member (Keith Anderson)

Note. Kathryn Carty has put forward her name for election as Secretary (duly proposed and seconded). No other nominations were received by the cut off date.

  1. Motions Received – None
  2. Appointment of Independent Examiner (Auditor of Accounts)
  3. Any other business

Adrian Flinn – Secretary

9th November 2019

Coffee, tea and cakes will be served after the AGM

Ramblers East Cheshire Group Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 24 tht November 2018 at Macclesfield Tennis Club ( subject to approval at the

AGM 2019 )

There were 45 members that signed the attendance register (with guests 50 people were in attendance).

Welcome

The chair welcomed members to the AGM and thanked them for attending.

Apologies for absence

The following members sent their apologies: Dave & Jane Collorick, Brian Griffiths, Keith Anderson, John & Pauline Handley, Benita Kassas, Claire Sependa, John & Jenny Irwin and Graham Walker.

Minutes of the AGM held on 11 th November 2017

The minutes were accepted unanimously as a true and fair record of this meeting (proposed by Helen Richardson and seconded by Ruth Harrison)

Matters arising from the AGM held on 11 th November 2017

None

Annual Reports from Officers ( posted in the website for reference)

    1. Chair

During her address to the meeting the Chair highlighted:

  1. The systems that ECR are using to safeguard data are in compliance with the new Data Protection regulations that came into force early this year. Also, each member had to update their personal details in the Ramblers Association database to comply with these regulations and to continue to receive notices of events by email from ECR – this caused a situation where some members had not been receiving emails but most have been resolved. To help we are now putting the notices about trips and activities in our website under the heading “Information for members”
  2. A “Plea for help “ questionnaire was sent to the membership. Although not many people replied we had offers from volunteers to join the Committee, lead walks including stroller walks, organize different types of social events and to become footpath inspectors
  3. Congratulated the Footpath Committee, our FP Inspectors and the Database manager for the unprecedented achievement of 100% completion in the Inspection of our paths.
  4. The use of the permissive path at Charles Head has been extended for a further 5 years.
  5. The number of walks that ECR put on each week is amazing. The Committee are looking at putting on some sort of training and developing a “buddy” system to encourage new walk leaders to volunteer. The Ramblers Association are planning to set up a walk leaders training events (free of charge) to be rolled out across the country.
  6. The National and ECR websites get very positive feedback especially from new walkers when looking for walks in our area. Also, Committee members are placing leaflets in GP’s surgeries, libraries , etc. in our area so that new walkers can access our programme and decide which one they would like to join – for this

reason we encourage that walk details are posted in the ECR website 2 weeks prior to the walk to allow posting in the national website. However this is not compulsory and is up to each individual leader to enter the walk details onto the ECR website as and when they see fit.

  1. Committee members have been handing out new Medical Emergency Cards on walks to encourage walkers to carry medical information with them.
  2. The Cheshire East Area AGM was held on 16th November 2018 and two representatives from Ramblers Association were in attendance. The meeting was hosted by South Cheshire (minutes are awaited). The concerns on Lost Ways expressed by our Footpath Committee were discussed and supported by all three groups and a meeting will be set up with the Central Office coordinator on this matter early in the New Year.
  3. Thanked all the Committee Officers and all volunteers for their dedicated hard work, time and effort in organising all our varied activities.

A question from the floor relating to the coverage of third party liability insurance provided by the Ramblers Association asked whether any person in a walk is covered in case of an accident. The view is that the leader and back marker only are covered by this insurance provided that both are current members of the Ramblers Association.

Treasurer

Key points made during the address were: a) Overall we had a very small deficit of £381.67 although the bank balance at year end stands at £4801 (down from £5182 in the previous year). b) Only a minor amount of routine footpath maintenance have been carried out this past year amounting to £700. c) ECR budget application

for next year totaled £1200 and has been approved by Central Office. d) Members were encouraged to use the internet bank payment facilities for our self funded events to minimize the cost to ECR of the bank charge of 30p per cheque paid into our Unity Trust Bank when using a clearing bank (including the Post Office).

There were no questions from the floor.

Membership Secretary

Over this year membership has remained stable throughout with 593 members showing high retention and a steady supply of new members. The national membership continues to decline at a rate of about 2% each year.

There have been concerns reported by Walk Leaders that in a few instances there might have been a person joining a walk and not being a member of the Ramblers Association (this is being followed up with Central Office). This example raised the question as to how many persons are walking in our group who are not members. The Committee will look into this matter further and consider using the newly available Walk Register App from the Ramblers Association (with this app Walk Leaders can register members and non members on walks either by scanning the code in the cards or inputting details manually). The Publicity Officer and the Webmaster were thanked in particular plus all others for helping to publicise and encourage our activities. Walk Leaders and members on walks were encouraged to welcome new members and make them feel confortable on walks.

The following members that had passed away in the past year were remembered with a minute silence: Michael Bull, Margaret Atherton, Len Wakefield, and J. Cook

There were no questions from the floor

Social & Events Secretary

There has been a great variety of events over the last 12 months and a massive “thank you” goes to everyone involved in the organization and running of events for ECR and the two volunteers involved for the last 3 years in the Walking for Health initiative.

The Committee decided to put on a trial stroller walks programme which run on alternative Fridays and dovetailed into the Walking for Health programme. This has been very successful and, therefore, this programme will run next year – a volunteer has come forward to act as coordinator. There were 3 coach trips organized in 2018 (cf. 2015 and 2016 when there was one trip in each year). We already have two dates on next year programme for coach trips. Also, we have 2 weekends away planned which are open to all and 2 weekends for long walkers. Two evening meals were organized in 2018. The social calendar for the first half of 2019 will be out soon with all the dates.

There is a vacancy for Social Secretary or Social Coordinator – it is not necessary to sit on the Committee to fulfill this role.

Anybody interested please contact the Chair. There were no questions from the floor.

Footpath Committee Chairman

The following were highlighted: a) the Committee is completing its 33rd year of operation b) for the second consecutive year managed to inspect all 1,276 paths in our group area of 33 parishes c) consulted on 11 proposed diversions in the year to end September 2018 d) a new member has been coopted into the Footpath Committee e) one of the two Officers in Cheshire East Rights of Way team has handed his notice – the Footpath Committee will lobby the Council to appoint a replacement asap.

There were no questions from the floor.

Publicity Officer and Lost Ways project Manager

This year articles have been published in the Macclesfield Express every single week – walk leaders are asked to keep up the supply of articles for next year. A suggestion was made to post these articles in the website – will be explored further by the Committee.

There are 19 “lost ways” in our area that are worth pursuing for various reasons. The next step is to research documents held at the local Council Offices to provide legal support of the existence of the right of way in the19 paths then the process of making an application can start. Three volunteers have offered their services to work on this project together with the Project Leader. The concerns from the Footpath Committee were raised at the recent Cheshire East Area AGM – see 4.1 (h) above.

There were no questions from the floor.

Other Reports

    1. Footpath Maintenance Projects Team

The Coordinator provided a review of the work conducted since the last AGM. Because of the Coordinator personal commitments some work was conducted in December 2017 but no projects were undertaken this year. However, the Coordinator proposes to re- commence project activities in 2019.

There were no questions from the floor.

ECR Walk Statistics (posted in the website for reference)

The group continuous to run over 300 walks per year. The statistics show that the group depends too much on Walk leaders that volunteer to lead multiple walks in the year in order to maintain this large number of walks provided to the membership. It was

noted that the Weekend Medium Walk Coordinator needs more volunteers to lead walks.

Ralph Atherton was thank for the 20 years that he has been compiling these figures and producing annual reports for AGM’s. This task will be taken over by Andy Davies.

There were no questions from the floor.

. Election of Officers and Committee

The following stood for reelection and were elected unopposed (proposed by Ann Thompson and Ian Mabon):

Jane Gay (Chair), Adrian Flinn (Secretary), Colin Finlayson (Treasurer)), Sue Munslow (Membership Secretary), Kathryn Carty (Committee Member), Dave Barraclough (Footpath Committee representative), Colin Park (Publicity Officer and Lost Ways Project Manager), Maggie Swindells (Committee Member) and Keith Anderson (Committee Member).

We need a volunteer to take up the vacant Social & Events Secretary position.

. Appointment of Independent Examiner ( Auditor of Accounts)

Ken Hobbs was reappointed unanimously (proposed by Mike Harding and Mike Murphy)

  1. . Motions None.

Commendation Awards

Two awards from the Ramblers Association were presented in recognition of outstanding contributions over a long period of time serving as volunteer in ECR to:

  • Alan Catherall joined 33 years ago leading walks, as a member of the Committee and a valuable member of the Footpath Committee (retired from this Committee after 25 years). Also, Alan was involved in negotiating and securing many rights of way in our area.
  • Peter Cummins has been an active member of ECR since 1981 (37 years ago) and was a founding member of the Footpath Committee in 1986 until retirement in 2016.
  1. Any other Business None.

The meeting closed at 4 pm

Adrian Flinn – ECR Committee Secretary 13th December 2018

Dates of Meetings to be held in 2019 (venues to be confirmed in late summer):

  • ECR 2019 AGM – date to be confirmed later
  • The Area AGM date to be confirmed later

2019 AGM – CHAIR REPORT


This is my second report and how quickly the last two years have gone. I am writing this while in Australia so apologies for anything which I miss out. I had intended to complete it before leaving home in mid September but time caught up on me and hence I’m writing it late October. 

Since we are a walking group, I will start with our walks programme. Many thanks to everybody who contributes to this as it is an amazing programme with varied walks in length and grade. This year has seen the strollers programme, which is on a Friday, become embedded in the system. It seems to be very popular and a massive thank you to Tony W for coordinating it all. The other programmes have run with radical variations in the numbers of walkers. There has been much discussion about this at committee level and also amongst members. We feel that this is due to a number of factors, one being the weather, another the distance from home and the third being the fact that the age profile of the group is not getting any younger. We have decided to leave things as they are for the moment as there was such a great diversity of opinion that no clear way forward evolved.

The committee has also discussed the cost of membership compared to other walking groups and have contacted Central Office about our concerns. 

I must thank the footpath committee for all the work that they do. As you will realise from other reports we have made a donation to save the Harrop Brook Bridge. This is a “lovely little bridge which we didn’t want spoilt by a wooden structure“ A lot of the work of the footpath committee goes completely unnoticed by the vast majority of the Ramblers. It is essential work in keeping all the footpaths open and accessible for us to walk. This committee has a wealth of knowledge and for that and all they do I thank them as I’m sure do all the members. 

I thank Neil Collie who attended national conference, initially as an observer, but when we realised the Area was not going to be represented he attended as a delegate. He has put a report onto the website. He came to a committee meeting and reported back to us. He said that it was a highly organised and slick event. The first priority was to discuss the slow decline in membership over the last 15 years, they recognise that only 40% of members go on organised walks so I’d be interested in any ideas on how to retain the non walkers. Neil suggested that we have an Area Chair which we actually do have. The Chairs of the 3 groups carrying out this role on a yearly rotation. Obviously this needs to be made clear to the membership, so now you know, as they say!! 

While talking about the Area AGM this has now been moved until after group AGM’s as suggested by Head Office.

Cheshire East Area volunteered to trial the national First Aid training and we were selected eventually the date of the 20th of March was agreed and ECR filled 11 of the 22 places available. I think everybody who went learnt something and came away feeling more confident about dealing with a serious emergency; this I think could become part of our annual programme. 

The walks programme is now a standing agenda item on every committee meeting so if you have any observations to make please forward to the secretary or myself. 

I have met with Roger on a couple of occasions to discuss the website. As a result of these meetings Frank took over circulating emails while I posted information on the website. This was just a short term solution and now Steve H is circulating emails and Maggie posting information on the website. Frank and I are the backups! 

We are looking for people with Facebook, WhatsApp and instagram knowledge so that we can make this part and parcel of our means of communication. If you feel you can help in any way then please just contact me. We have to try and attract younger members and I am assured that this is one of the best ways of doing so.

We ran a walk leader introductory course on July 4. Gillian Kay was the lead on this and prepared the whole course and had meetings with the trainers some of whom were a little bit nervous about what exactly we were being asked to do. I have to say the course was amazing and brilliantly run and organised. Every single candidate said that they had enjoyed the course and also that they had got a tremendous amount from it and now felt more confident about leading walks. The morning session was theory with the afternoon session being a practical session around Gawsworth which was at exactly the right level for the candidates. A massive thank you to Gillian and also the other instructors, Susan M who led the session on 6 figure references and showed us a fail-safe way of always getting it right! David G, Michael M, Frank and myself were the other trainers and we also enjoyed it. Depending on demand we may well put this on annually. 

I have absolutely no intention of listing a large number of people that I would like to thank for their support and help because I am bound to miss somebody out. Is the person who leads one walk every six months less important than anybody else since we are a walking group and without them we would not survive?  It would be great if everybody felt confident enough to try and lead at least one walk in each six month programme .If there is anything you need to help you in doing this then please just email me. I feel this is one of the most important tasks for all of the membership to encourage new people to lead. I totally acknowledge that some people don’t wish to lead, for what ever reason, and please don’t feel under any pressure to do so.

The one group of people I do feel I need to thank is the committee. They have kept me on the straight and narrow and been extremely supportive in all that I have tried to do. 
I’m delighted to say that the vast majority are willing to stand again next year. 

Adrian, the secretary is leaving after he has served on the committee for three years. Two of these years with me and one with John Edwards. I thank him for the commitment that he has made to this role and for his very precise minuting of the meetings. This has made following up on issues very easy. Kathryn Carty is prepared to take on this role. 

A massive thank you to Colin P who  is resigning from his role of Lost Ways Coordinator. Colin I know has spent many hours on this, using his expertise to improve the quality of data in this Cheshire wide exercise and identifying about 500 possible Lost Ways. We need somebody else to take this role on and I am sure that Colin would be very happy to explain all the work that he has done so far. He is remaining as Publicity Officer.

Maggie took over the Social Secretary job earlier this year which was amazing as far as I was concerned. It shows really that a change of role produces new ideas as she has brought in several talks which have been well supported. Thanks Maggie, I now only have to write one report!

The committee desperately needs a couple of new members. We meet four times a year, in the afternoon but this is not set in stone, so it is not an onerous task and one that I hope several of you will consider. Coffee, tea and cakes are served at the meetings!

This report seems rather short but since the minutes of all our meetings are posted on the website those of you who want to know the details of our discussions will have read the minutes and so this is a brief summary of the year. 

Looking forward to seeing you all at the AGM.

Jane Gay 





2019 AGM – ECR Membership Report November 2019

Since the last AGM our numbers have gone down from 593 to 566. This is inline with national figures and other groups. Later retirement and growth of other walking groups partly explain these numbers

Each month only three to four walkers join us and this year some figures have shown a 1/3 of new members not re-joining after a year. Again, there may be many reasons for this, but welcoming new members on their first walks is very important.

One way in which we can help recruit new members is by leaving our advertising leaflets in local leisure centres, medical centre and libraries. Recent new members have said they have chosen ECR rather than another group because we have numerous walks to choose from including regular long walks. We also have a huge range of social activities during the year that are very popular and often booked up.

Central Office are concerned over numbers and keeping new members. They have suggested:

– send them a personalised email

– send them a welcome ‘shout-out’ on your group’s Facebook page

– let them know they can bring a friend or family member to their first group walk.

– highlight any ‘introductory walks’ we do for new walkers – ideally shorter walks at an easier pace.

– let them know about any social events you’ve got coming up.

– make sure your walks include an easy-to find starting point. With a postcode and clear description.

– the leader should ask at the beginning of a walk are there any new walkers and others should make a point of talking with them as you walk.

– say you hope to see them again soon.

– give a clear run-through of what to expect on the walk, including the next refreshment point and loo break.

– make sure there is a back marker to help keep an eye on everyone

– finish the walk at a pub or café to give new people a chance to socialise with the group.

– at the end of the walk, ask them how they found it and if they have any feedback on how it could be better.

You will probably agree that as a group we are giving our new members a good welcome.

Sue Munslow

2019 AGM – Publicity Report

This year has seen walk articles appearing in the Macclesfield Express on all but one week despite an article being submitted.

I am always on the lookout for new articles from anyone willing to write a short piece on a recent walk they have led. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with anything which might be worth publishing not only in the local newspaper but also on the ‘Recent Posts’ section of our website.

For anyone who doesn’t get sight of the Macclesfield Express, walk articles now appear on the ‘Recent Posts’ section of our website and usually have more than one photograph.

I would welcome walk articles from anyone leading walks in the future especially if it’s a new or unfamiliar area to the group. Articles should be between 250-350 words in length and can include a bit of history about the area you are walking through and not a series of directions. I can edit the information if required so that it can be published in the Macclesfield Express. Your article should be accompanied with a photograph(s) in a JPEG format if possible.

If you would like to write an article but are not sure how to go about it then I am more than willing to talk it through with you or you can refer to past articles published on our website to see the stile.

Colin Park

FOOTPATH COMMITTEE REPORT TO THE ECR 2019 AGM – Nov 23rd 2019

2019 has been an active but fairly routine year of the Footpath Committee activities. Below is a summary of the key points of our work.

The Footpath Committee now has a complement of six, with the addition of Nick Brearley who is assuming a role to identify potential maintenance work from the results of the footpath inspections. The Committee members are Tony Battilana, Nick Brearley, Neil Collie, Colin Finlayson, Graham Walker and Dave Barraclough. We generally hold 4 meetings each year and operate with a high degree of independence from the Main ECR Committee. All members are continuing in these roles for 2020 but we would always welcome new volunteers to assist with our work. One particularly role would be someone to review and analyse the footpath inspection results for trends and produce the reports that we send to Cheshire East PROW Officers. This task need not involve attending our meetings.

A notable piece of maintenance work organised by Nick Brearley in collaboration with the Projects Group was to organise to remove vegetation that has made the Over Alderley FP2, within the National Trust Alderley Edge land. We plan to continue cooperation with the Projects Group.

We are now getting accustomed to reporting a 100% inspection of the footpaths in our area, now the third occasion. This is currently 1282 paths over 36 parish area carried out by 38 volunteer inspectors. Thanks are due to Tony Battilana for his thorough organising of this task. The results now extend over 10 years and there has been a steady and notable reduction in the number of paths with significant problems (our C and D paths). The average level in the first 5 years from 2009 was 11.6%, then reducing to 8.9% in the next 5 years – and in 2019 it has reduced to just 6.2% – a commendably low level. As usual, we should recognise the efforts of Cheshire East PROW Department and its Footpath Enforcement Officers in achieving this result. We are more fortunate than many other areas.

We have also been routinely consulted by Cheshire East over 9 Diversion applications and commenting on major road developments. We generally involve our footpath inspectors in formulating our responses.

There are two noteworthy examples. Firstly the new A6 to Manchester Airport Relief road was opened in October 2018 and includes extensive footpaths and cycleways throughout it’s length. It provides some valuable additions to the footpath network and is welcomed. However, Stockport Council’s management of the contract was inadequate and the contractor failed to provide gates in the boundary fence where existing footpaths joined or crossed the new road. It has taken 12 months of pressure by members of the Committee to get these faults corrected. There are still two footpaths which remain obstructed and unusable.  We are also pressing for pedestrian gates to be provided in a number of locations where only heavy field gates have been fitted in contravention of Cheshire East Council’s policy of ‘least restrictive access’ on new diversions.

Secondly, special attention has been a path between Rainow and Kettleshulme that has been obstructed for all the years East Cheshire Ramblers has existed. It is now the subject of an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate by the landowner who wants to delete the path from the Definitive Map.  With the help of Central Office we have prepared a rebuttal to his appeal and await the Planning Inspector’s report.

Two further events are worthy of special note. Firstly, ECR agreed to donate £500 towards the reinstatement of a partially collapsed old packhorse bridge over Harrop Brook at Pott Shrigley. The actual work is still to be completed during 2020.

Secondly, we should acknowledge the significant work of Colin Park in developing the listing of potential Lost Ways across Cheshire. Colin is standing down from leading the ECR work (to concentrate on both extensive walking and leading publicity for the ECR website and local newspapers). We should recognise that his considerable professional expertise in cartography assisted the Cheshire exercise over several years to draw up the list of about 500 potential Lost Ways. The Cheshire Footpath Secretaries are currently lobbying the national ‘Don’t Lose Your Way’ campaign to pay greater attention to the need to prioritise and quantify the cost of the numbers of claims that are made. We believe that excessive numbers of claims could detract from the existing PROW resources.

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. Please e mail me on dave@thebarracloughs.co.uk

Dave Barraclough

Chairman – ECR Footpath Committee – November 2019

AGM 2019 – Social & Events Report

It was with some trepidation that I took on the role of East Cheshire Rambler’s Social Secretary in November 2018. I was stepping into the shoes of a social secretary legend! Needless to say I’ve had a huge amount of support and encouragement from Jane plus lots and lots of help from my fellow ramblers who have continued, over the course of the year, to give up their time to provide a rich and varied social programme for our group.

Three excellent Christmas lunches, preceded by walks were organised by Teresa, Andy, Peter, Jane, Frank, Georgie and David. Last year we also enjoyed two other walks with a Christmas theme. In December a walk from Chelford was organised to allow us to enjoy the Barnaby Choir singing carols at St Mary’s Church at Nether Alderley. Unfortunately, the timings were slightly off and we got there at the end of the first performance! This year we’re repeating the event and we’re hoping for better walk timings and hopefully a mince pie!

Rosie Forth, who has led many walks for the short walkers, has quietly, and traditionally, led a mid-week short walk in December. Her walks traditionally include a Roses Chocolate or two at coffee time and lunch at the Admiral Rodney with Christmas Crackers. I’d like to thank her for leading so many walks for the Ramblers over the years. We will miss her ‘Christmas’ walk this year.

‘Keith’s Sherry Walk’ continues to provide an excellent start to the New Year and our thanks go to Lorraine and Melanie for continuing the tradition and leading and organising the first walk of the year.

In February Duncan Leamond provided an excellent talk for members about the Macclesfield canal. Duncan’s talk was informative and entertaining and I’m sure many walkers will walk our local canal with a different perspective on the time and effort which goes in to maintaining the “watery pathways” we enjoy each year as part of our walking programme.

Over the course of the year walkers have been able to access several weekends away organised by our members. The amount of time and effort which goes into preparing these opportunities is enormous and I’d like to thank, on behalf of us all, Georgie and Peter Everson, Steve Hull, Melanie Davy and Ann Thompson for all the time and effort they have put into organising successful weekends away for members. Colin Park and Steve Hull have already provided dates for the long walkers weekend in the next programme and I’d be delighted to hear from anyone interested in organising other weekend away opportunities in 2020.

Over the course of the year we’ve also had the opportunity to enjoy a number of special walking social events. Brian Griffiths, Colin Park and Tony Litter led short walks which culminated in a picnic and talk at Toad Hall, the home of the Blackden Trust and Alan Garner the author of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and many other novels based in Cheshire. They were a great addition to the programme and greatly enjoyed by those who were able to attend! Brian also organised a tour of the Air Raid Shelters in Stockport.

In the summer Jane Gay offered a walk with Martin James, the ranger at Teggs Nose.

This year the ramblers participated in two coach tours which took us to Arnside, organised by Steve Hull, and to Conwy, organised by Gina Thompson, Annette Hurst and Maggie Swindells. Thanks to to Colin Park, Ruth Harrison and Rob Stevenson for leading walks for the coach tours.

In August we offered walkers the opportunity to join Rodney Hughes on a History Walk from Wincle followed by a meal at the Wincle Brewery. This proved to be so successful Rodney has agreed to do another one next summer.

Meals out in the summer continue to be popular and thanks go to Ann Thompson for organising a walk followed by a meal at Monyash and to Nick Wild for kindly offered to end the summer evening programme of walks with a meal at Rosie Lee at Hayfield.

To end the year, in October, we had excellent attendance for Judith Wilshaw’s talk about local history in our locality. She’s offered to lead a walk for us next year in Castleton or Stockport as a follow up to her talk.

I’m sure I’ve not mentioned everyone who contributes to the social programme and apologies if I’ve left anyone out. 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 and I’d like to thank them all, on behalf of all the members, for their time, enthusiasm, imagination and continued support.

Maggie Swindells

Walking the Peatlands Way in three days


One area I have never explored on foot is the countryside covering the vast peat lands which occupy the area between Doncaster and Scunthorpe and include the Isle of Axholme. This would make a walk of three days covering the permissive paths that cross the Thorne and Hatfield Moors and a sparely populated area. During the summer of 2019 I set out along this trail on an adventure which didn’t quite go to plan. The latest Ordnance Survey maps show the route plotted and from my research I was expecting the trail to be well signposted but as it turned out, way marking was virtually nonexistent.

The trail can be found on the following website www.bing.com/maps

Following the Peatlands Way across the Isle of Axholme. Good paths under big skies.

Day 1 – When the number 87 bus saves the day

The Peatlands Way, is a relatively new recreational path around an area not normally associated with walking. I had planned this trek out carefully by using buses and trains and so on this first day it was merely a case of catching the train from Crowle Railway Station where I had parked the car, to Hatfield and Stainforth Railway Station and then walking back. The train was on time and I nearly had a free journey as the conductor only reached me as we pulled into Hatfield and Stainforth Station.

To reach the Peatlands Way it was a walk through this ex mining community which today has little appeal but there has been a settlement here since Anglo Saxon times.

On the northern edge of the community I looked for way markers for the Peatlands Way but there were none. I crossed the narrow and busy road bridge over the River Don and struck out north eastwards along a good riverside embankment with little to note in the flat countryside. I later left the embankment to enter the far more attractive village of Fishlake. People were out tending public gardens and a host of women were cleaning the church. This as I soon found out was the ‘Monday Club’ a group of retired residents who looked after the village. What a good idea I thought. I had a wander around the church and entered via the fine Norman south door. Much of this fine church dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. According to Wikipedia there is a local myth called “The Cockatrice of Church Street”. The story goes that the mythical beast resides near the Churchyard, and those unlucky enough to hear it’s call are said to never sleep again. Let’s say that after a good day walk I always get a good night sleep and I never heard anything untoward.

Entering the attractive village of Fishlake.
The fine Norman south door at St Cuthbert’s Church in Fishlake.

I returned to the embankment and shortly took a path to the left through trees then over a road before following a series of enclosed tracks which gradually became overgrown but improved again later. Reaching the next road I found the road bridge over the River Don closed due to refurbishment and my negotiations with the workmen to cross the bridge failed. This was a major blow and after studying the map, my only option was to return to Stainforth which was almost back to where I started out. I was fuming as I headed back but this time I followed the embankment the whole way despite it not being a right of way. Nearing Stainforth I walked closer to the River Don as this was the true right of way but a route few used. I had however at the start of my walk today noted the bus timetables when I set out from Stainforth earlier and knew that there were buses every twenty minutes towards Thorne. It was the only sensible thing to do was to catch a bus to Thorne and pick up the trail again there. From the bus stop timetable, a bus was due anyway and the number 87 whisked me through to Thorne. If I had walked the whole way to Thorne it would have been around twenty three miles of walking today.

Alighting in Thorne I calculated that I was only around an hour behind schedule but I felt a bit like Julia Bradbury or Tony Robinson who set out on a walk when they are presenting a television programme only to ‘cheat’ by hitching a ride part way through the walk.

I now headed through the town along Finkle Street, lined with small shops, and today quite a bustling place. Beyond, it was a case of following residential streets before following a path across wasteland full of bramble bushes and tethered gipsy horses on any grassy areas. A further downside was the amount of fly tipping in this area. It was lunch time as I reached another ex mining community of Moorends entering via Bloomhill Road and leaving via Grange Road. This community was quite an unattractive place with many shops boarded up and even vandal bars at places of worship. There were youths hanging around and I really just wanted to get out of the place as soon as possible. Leaving the community I did find a recreation ground with a vandal prove seat which was adjacent to the Thorne Colliery Football Club. It wasn’t the best of places to stop for lunch with youths riding mopeds around with no helmets.

I was keen to set off and soon rounded the abandoned area in which was once Thorne Colliery. Still I had no way markers to follow but at least I had marked up the route of the Peatlands Way on my Explorer Maps. A reasonable track led out onto Thorne Waste or Moors which formed part of the massive Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve. This area forms the largest lowland peat bog in Britain and I was about to cross it. Now route finding wasn’t going to be too clever but I reached the point where there were several information boards. Crikey! This place is full of snakes I thought as I read the details and warnings on the information boards. Adders and grass snakes were in abundance in this part of the world and there were several signs to remind you. Out came the walking pole so that I could prod the ground in front of me if required.

I thankfully came across the first of several way markers for the Peatlands Way – a symbol of the nightjar and these moorlands is one of the best areas in Britain where they can be found not that I saw any.

Information boards on Thorne Waste. Beware of the snakes was not an under estimationas I was soon to find out.
I nearly stood on this fellow as it blended in with the ground. Backing off I got my camera out to get this photograph before it slithered into the undergrowth.

With eyes peeled to the ground I set off along a series of paths looking for any movement in the grass. The only trouble was that the grass hadn’t been cut for some time and so it was more than ankle deep. Way-markers were often hidden in wayside vegetation and so I stopped several times and estimated how many minutes it was to where I had to look for a turn. In places I was walking between tall reeds and half expected to meet Doctor David Livingstone coming the other way. After several twists and turns I eventually came to an straight track which I would follow east southeast for around one and quarter miles and I estimated that this would take me around twenty five minutes before looking for a path on my right. The countryside was very flat and full of lakes and bogs and the only sign of the modern day world was a distant chimney of a power station and the top of distant wind turbines. Time to get moving I thought so I upped my pace and less scanning the ground ahead of me as I was now on a clear track. After a quarter of a mile I stopped dead in my tracks as I was about to tread on a fully grown adder. I carefully backed off and got my camera from my rucksack before creeping up on the reptile to get some close up photographs before it slithered away into the undergrowth.

For the next few miles I paid more attention on what was on the path ahead of me as again the path made several turns. Timing the points to look for a turning was paramount as missing a turning on this sort of terrain would have been time consuming. I was always glad when I found a way marker. I was still on the correct route when I came across an information board which routed the Peatlands Way a completely different way to how I had marked it up. I decided to ignore it as the path looked more overgrown. It was almost late afternoon as I emerged from the ‘jungle’ and somehow relieved to be walking on a surfaced lane towards Crowle. Reaching the village, I didn’t really have the appetite to explore the place. My feet were beginning to get tired and this part of the village didn’t have much appeal. The area does lie on slightly higher ground being at the northern end of the Isle of Axholme with Crowle Hill rising to a staggering twenty metres. By Violet Hill Farm I took a track south crossing mildly undulating countryside and reaching the next village of Ealand, I joined the village street to get back to the car.

So I had completed the first day and thankfully the bus number 87 had saved an otherwise very long walk. As for the Peatlands Way, the way marking had been virtually nonexistent and it had run through some very unattractive areas. Crossing the Thorne Waste had it own interest and would have suited someone far more who had a keen interest in ornithology.

Day 2 Crossing the Isle of Axholme

A fine morning for my second walk starting out from the village of Haxey and heading first towards the fine village church.

For this second walk along the Peatland’s Way I wanted a nice day as it crossed slightly higher ground over the Isle of Axholme and passed through more interesting villages. I drove into Scunthorpe then walked to the bus station and with plenty of time to spare I had time to walk around the shops before catching bus 399 to Haxey. There were very few passengers for the journey and I alighted in the village centre.

Haxey is quite a fascinating place and I made my way towards the village church pausing on the way to study an information board. A great fire in the village on the 28th-29th February 1744 which started in a flax manufactory destroyed sixty two houses. Further up the village I stopped to look at the fine St Nicholas’s Church which is a Grade I listed building dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. The building has been described as ‘The Cathedral of the Isle’.

Turning right I now followed a minor lane to the edge of Upperthorpe and here turned right on a path running north. Sadly deliberate attempts had been made to block this path with garden rubbish and dog waste. It was most unpleasant and a little beyond, a maize crop had been planted at right angles to the path and there was simply no way through. I forced my way around two sides of a field to reach the Peatland’s Way. This was certainly a poor start.

I was now on the Peatland’s Way and despite it now being a good path, there were no ‘Peatland Way’ signs again. I crossed a road at Coney Garth and skirted around to the northern edge of Haxey before joining the road east to reach the A161.

A glorious day for the walk across the Isle of Axholme with good paths and big skies. This photograph was taken near High Burnham.

What now followed was some fine walking on good field paths with wide views all the way to Epworth. The countryside here was marginally higher than the surrounding area and it made for some very pleasant walking in the warm sunshine but shower clouds were around. One such shower was well to the southwest but heading my way and was developing. In excellent light for photography I stopped several times for photographs as I neared Epworth and passed the remains of Thompson’s Flour Mill as I entered the village. From my map the route of the Peatland’s Way avoided the village centre which was a pity as Epworth in my opinion is the most interesting village on the whole trail. I therefore opted to divert and turned left passing the Old Rectory which is now a museum. This was the home of Samuel Wesley who with his wife had nineteen children one of which – John Wesley was one of the founders of the Methodist Church. I continued through the village then up to the St Andrew’s Parish Church which unfortunately was locked. The churchyard contains the grave of Samuel Wesley. On the north side of the church I found a suitable place to sit for lunch but rain clouds were bearing down and through the trees that surrounded the churchyard, the countryside to the north had misted away under a veil of rain.

Threatening clouds as I near Epworth on the Peatlands Way.
The Armada Beacon north of Epworth and the view towards Brooks Mill. For now, gone were the sunny skies of earlier.

After lunch, and keeping an eye on the heavy clouds around I decided to continue north but the next part of the walk was very much through open countryside with no shelter should the heavens open. After following an open field track, I crossed the A161 by Brooks Mill which dates from 1812 and made my way to Maw’s Mill, which dates from 1783. Both mills had been restored but are minus their sails. To rejoin my route I skirted around the edge of a wheat field then descended to join the track bed of an old railway which had been converted into a path cum cycleway. This was once the Axholme Joint Railway which ran between Goole and Haxey. I stayed with the railway path up to and through Belton which passed a visitor centre on the way. The visitor centre was merely a cafe with information boards and nothing in the way of local literature to pick up.

I did have thoughts of visiting the church at Belton but the link path from the railway was full of nettles and impassable.

With a bit of a push I would time it just right for the 15.07pm train from Crowle to

Scunthorpe and as the service was hourly, I didn’t fancy spending an hour on Crowle Station even if it was a fine afternoon.

A good track ran northeast from Belton and later I continued via an accommodation bridge

over the M180 motorway then doubled back along the northern side of the motorway.  Heading north on a grassy track I got caught on the tail end of a shower and by Temple Drain I opted to shelter under some trees rather than donning waterproofs. I continued alongside Folly Drain before passing beneath an old railway viaduct then west along a wide track between two drainage channels. The rain suddenly came on again but with limited time I just pressed on. Reaching the A161 I had no choice but to follow this busy road north. It was a very unpleasant half mile and having to leap up onto grassy banks every time a vehicle sped past. This road was also frequented with much heavy traffic and I was glad to get over the A18. At least on the far side there was a path which was initially well away from the road. I next crossed Crowle Bridge which spanned the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation and the railway before turning right on the road leading around to Crowle Station. If I had done my research, I could have caught a Scunthorpe bound bus here as one came by as I neared the station.

At the station I still had a few minutes to spare and anyway, the train was running a few minutes late. I was the only person to board and the conductor never even bothered to come and take my fare.

So summing up day two I felt that this part of the Peatland’s Way which crosses the Isle of Axholme is in many respects the most interesting part of the trail but the bit at the end on the A161 is very unpleasant. The weather had given some good opportunities for photography.

Day 3 Filling the gap

This was my third and last walk along the Peatland’s Way and today I set off to drive to Haxey. As it was school holiday time, I parked the car in the primary school lay-by and walked down through the village to the bus stop by the Co-op. I was in good time and the number 291 bus arrived on schedule. En route to Doncaster we picked up many passengers so that the bus was almost full. At the large underground bus station in the Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster, I just missed my bus connection by seconds but the number 87A would be along in ten minutes. Catching this, I alighted in Stainforth and set out east along Thorne Road and Kirton Lane. From my observations a couple of days earlier from the bus, I noted a signed path leading off over an old spoil heap. The Peatland’s Way however was marked on the map detouring  around this area and would have added an unpleasant mile of road walking then along a muddy track.

East of Stainforth I decided to leave the road and take the path south which climbed steeply over disused mine spoil workings. First of all I had to cross a ditch which had been made to stop scrambler bikes from accessing the area. A steep but short ascent followed onto a level area of rough grazing but no sign of any path. Thankfully I came down about the right spot as there was a bridge over the railway ahead of me. The walk south was along enclosed tracks through an area of dereliction and rough grazing. Fly tipping was everywhere and indeed this seemed to be an area where fridge freezers came to die. A new development known as the Hatfield Link Road was in the early stages of construction which will bring much needed investment into the area. Overall I was glad to leave this part of the world and cross the M18 motorway via a farm accommodation bridge. I now had to follow the A1146 for a short distance before setting off on a field path east then south to cross the A18 to reach the village of Hatfield Woodhouse. It had been spitting with rain for some time and it was turning out a very grey day. I turned left in the village along the A614 before turning right on Remple Lane then Hollin Bridge Road and later continued with Moor Dike Road which I expected from my map to be a track but this as it turned out was a surfaced lane. Prior to White Bridge Farm I stopped at some concrete blocks under a tree for lunch. The weather was closing in with driving fine rain and before I set off I donned full waterproof gear as the weather forecast indicated a wet afternoon.

A typical view across the Hatfield Moors with a combination of bog, heath and scrublands.

There was very little of interest in this flat and rather drab landscape on a day like today. The surfaced road continued but where it went onto towards Lindholme Hall, I turned off along a good path running between ponds and woodlands. I now was skirting the western then southern edges of Hatfield Moors and unlike my walk across the Thorne Moors two days earlier, the paths and tracks here were well defined. In the meantime the rain hadn’t materialised and so I found a seat to remove my waterproofs. There wasn’t a great deal of interest with a high security fence and the H.M. Prison Lindholme dominant on my right and thick woodland on my left. I continued south passing a semi empty car park before veering left along the southern edge of Hatfield Moors. There was the occasional Peatlands Way marker but they were a bit patchy on the ground. At least I had the route marked on my map and followed it around to the north of Ellerholme Farm and afterwards I carefully looked for the path going south to reach Moor Lane. After what seemed like hours of walking through the tree canopy I emerged into open countryside. What a gloomy afternoon it was with bad light and little of interest. Reaching the East Ring Drain I met a local dog walker and so I asked if it was feasible to walk east along the river embankment rather following the long road route around via Wroot. She told me that I could cross the footbridge north of Common Lane and then follow the southern bank of the

channel to Tunnel Pits Bridge even though it wasn’t shown as a right of way. From what I could see, it was a far better route even though it was along straight riverside embankments. Furthermore it would save me walking along two and a half miles of straight roads. I thanked her and set out along this route hoping that I wouldn’t need to back track. Ironically the footbridge over East Ring Drain even had a Peatland’s Way sign on it.

I was glad I found this footbridge over East Ring Drain.

I reached Tunnel Pits Bridge without any problems then continued east on a straight and low level road with little interest but at least it was quiet. Later I turned right along a private drive which later continued as a track beside Greenholme Lane Drain. About a mile and a half along here I turned left onto a pleasant wooded path through Haxey Turbary Nature Reserve. By now the rain had returned but it was only very light and not enough to warrant donning waterproofs. I pressed on and later turned right to join the path soon passing Haslams Farm. Beyond here, the ground started to rise and I later turned left with the track. In another quarter of a mile I had completed the circuit of the Peatland’s Way.

The attractive path through the nature reserve at Haxey Turbary.

I now turned right uphill and continued over to Cross Hill and turned left along this lane. The weather was closing in with rain to the south misting away distant power stations along the Trent Valley into the afternoon gloom. I set a good pace towards Haxey, taking a track to the north of the village before turning left again along the road called The Nooking. The rain was getting heavier and yet I was so close to the car. If I had caught the bus I had just missed in Doncaster earlier in the day I would have been back to the car by now. It was raining steadily as I reached the car and hurriedly changed out of walking boots as the rain turned quite heavy.

Summing up the Peatlands Way, my impression is that overall I was disappointed with the lack of signage along the trail. It will appeal to the ornithologist and naturalist as the trail passes through several nature reserves but in some places I questioned the reason why the trail had been routed via a less interesting route using roads when a suitable nearby path was available.

There are however a few areas where the walking is interesting especially crossing the Isle of Axholme where ‘big skies’ are the order of the day. On the other hand there are some grubby areas the trail also visits.

Along the Dart Valley Trail

One of many good direction signs along the Dart Valley Trail.

Having just completed a walk of 54 miles in three strenuous days along the South Devon coast between Kingswear and Exeter which included more ascents and descents than I can remember it was time to turn my sights inland with a walk along the Dart Valley Trail between Dartmouth and Totnes.

Walking to Paignton Bus Station with the threat of a bit of moisture to come.

It’s mid October and the weather forecast for the day isn’t good and indicates a plethora of heavy showers especially in Southwest England. I don’t need to get away early as it is just a short drive into Paignton where I park not far from the Paignton Bus Station. Already there are showers around with a vivid rainbow to the west. From the car it is just a ten minute march to Paignton Bus Station and I just make it before the heavens open for a few minutes. The bus number 120 is on time and I take a seat upstairs at the front for the scenic ride down to Kingswear where it is just a short walk to catch the Lower Ferry over to Dartmouth by which time it had turned fine and sunny.

Dartmouth on a fine sunny morning at the start of my walk.

Today my intention is to follow the Dart Valley Trail to Totnes, a distance of around thirteen miles along an undulating route. To start with, it is a delightful walk through Dartmouth in the bright morning sunshine. It’s already 10.30am so I take an early break on a seat overlooking the River Dart before setting off in search of the start of the Dart Valley Trail. With so many narrow lanes and alleyways to chose from I set off by heading too low and have to take a right turn steeply uphill to join my intended route. It is quite a stiff ascent up through the town passing St Clement’s Church as I reached the top. I cross over the A379 and my walk continues now via a long descent down Old Mill Lane back to sea level again but this narrow lane is surprisingly busy and I often have to press myself into the hedge to allow traffic to pass. The head of the well wooded Old Mill Creek is the site of a couple of well hidden boatyards. On the far side of the creek I follow a minor lane then track which soon runs through woodlands. Little streams are still in spate after the recent rains as I head east and I stop at one point to photograph Hermitage Castle on the southern and opposite bank of the creek. The castle was built really as a folly in the 19th century in what were once landscape gardens. I continue with a delightful permissive path ascending alongside field boundaries to reach Fire Beacon Hill where I briefly joined an exceptionally muddy lane if you can call it a lane. I soon turn right onto field path and the descent towards Dittisham is a delight to walk with lovely views over The River Farm to the River Dart beyond.

One of the hidden boatyards on Old Mill Creek.

Hermitage Castle on Old Mill Creek and once a feature in extensive landscape gardens.

In Dittisham I follow the narrow road through the village passing many picturesque cottages and make for the churchyard for my lunch stop. It is a lovely spot in the bright autumn sunshine under deep blue skies, and for now, no signs of any showers. St George’s Church has a fine tower and there has been a church on the site since the 14th century but there have been many alterations over the centuries. I don’t venture inside as there is some building work going on.

A most delightful walk on the descent into Dittisham with views to the River Dart.

Time for a spot of lunch and I find a pleasant seat just inside the churchyard at Dittisham.

From the village I head west on the lane and later take a pleasant field path to the hamlet of East Cornworthy passing the attractive Brambletorre Mill en route. Narrow lanes are again followed to Barberry Farm and here I continue with a watery track crossing the swollen stream at the mossy and shady Poor Bridge. I now have a long ascent via an enclosed track which is almost a watercourse. Reaching Longland Cross I pause where I have a good view west towards Dartmoor where the weather isn’t looking quite so bright. From this spot, I have a good view towards Cornworthy Church with its fine tower. A lane is followed into the village and passing the fine St Peter’s Church en route which dates mostly from the 14th century. In the village I decide on a detour to visit the remains of the Priory Gatehouse. It was founded in the early thirteenth century, for Augustinian nuns, and existed until 1536 but was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries leaving only the gatehouse. My diversion is a waste of time as the ruin lies the other side of a thick and high hedge with no access or close up view whatsoever. I therefore return to the Dart Valley Trail and follow the path down through Charleycombe Wood. The woodland and an area beyond is owned by the Woodland Trust. I soon reach Tuckenhay on the muddy Bow Creek. The tide is out but the streams entering the creek are very much in spate. In the hamlet I join a lane and pass two riverside pubs. The stepping stones across the upper part of the creek is the right of way for the Dart Valley Trail but are well under water due to the swollen stream so I carry on with the lane and make the ascent to the attractive village of Ashprington. I head for the interesting church of St David’s with its slender and tall tower. The church dates from the 13th century and I opt to take a quick look inside. The font dates from Norman times and I am impressed by the richly decorated wooden pulpit.

St Peter’s Church at Cornworthy and a typical Devon church tower.

St David’s Church at Ashprington.The finely carved wooden pulpit in St David’s Church, Ashprington.

Shower clouds building up as I near Totnes towards the end of my walk.

My route north now lies through the Sharpham Estate which is now run as many ventures including a vineyard and meditation centre. The path cum cycleway towards Totnes is initially surfaced but the cycleway heads off later at a higher level and my path descends towards the marshlands of the upper end of the estuary. It is a pleasant walk along this peaceful section of the valley in the late afternoon sunshine but towering shower clouds are now not that far away. The town of Totnes is soon in view and I soon divert on a very new path to enter the town. My timing is fairly good for the return bus journey to Paignton and I don’t really have the time to explore the town. The bus is on time and I am glad that I am on it as the weather to the west has taken on an inky look with heavy rain not far away. The bad weather ‘chases’ us all the way to Paignton where I smartly head back to the car just making it before it turning quite wet for the next half hour but I am rewarded afterwards with a fine rainbow as viewed from the cafe in Morrisons.

Overall I was quite impressed by the Dart Valley Trail and signposting was excellent the whole way which can’t be said for the coast path where many wooden signs had rotted or were missing altogether.

Weekend away Pickering 18th – 20th October 2019

The ‘Long walkers’ at Simon Howe.

Overview by Ann Thompson

Nearly 40 members of the group participated in this weekend on the southern edge of the North York Moors. Staying in various locations but centred on the Forest and Vale Hotel in Pickering, there were group meals as well as three different walks each day. It was agreed that the hotel provided excellent service and food and for those staying there were a goodly number of radiators for drying clothing. The weather of early October meant the area had had 136% of its October rainfall already and mud was the order of the day.
The Saturday walks were all linear in the Pickering area. The short walkers enjoyed a steam train ride to Levisham Station which brought back childhood memories of steam travel to many of us. The group then ascended out of Newtondale, a splendid glacial overflow channel, up to Levisham village with its wide verges and stone farms in a linear format. The Three Horseshoes pub had opened early so coffee could be bought or the break could be enjoyed outside in the benches. The walk then continued via Levisham old ruined church to cross the railway three times as well as Pickering Beck to arrive back in Pickering via a mixture of woods, field paths and tracks. The medium walkers caught a bus to the Hole of Horcum which is a magnificent semi-circular hollow formed by spring sapping at the end of the ice age. They traversed this feature to arrive in Levisham to eat lunch with the possibility of a drink at the pub, and then followed the short walkers on a similar route into Pickering. The weather was reasonably kind to these groups with only one prolonged shower around midday. The long walkers used car sharing to reach Goathland and walked back to Levisham. Their walk was a varied trek with views of the Fylingdales early warning station and glimpses and sounds of the railway. Refreshments were enjoyed at Levisham Station at the end but the weather however was not so kind with further heavy rain in the later afternoon.
Sunday saw the short and medium walkers start from Sinnington, another delightful village with extensive green areas and a fast flowing river. The short walkers left the village passing an interesting old barn and proceeded to Cropton for a coffee break under a conveniently large horse chestnut tree as it was raining. The group then descended into the Seven valley and up to the village of Appleton-le-Moor where the church said ‘church open’. Here we found a wonderful shelter from the rain for lunch amidst harvest festival decorations and tea and coffee on offer on a ‘help yourself’ basis. The nearby pub offered toilets in return for a donation to the air ambulance, so a very welcoming village. Our return to Sinnington even had a little sunshine. The medium walk headed up the valley to Lastingham where the church service had ended and we could visit the crypt church. The church is Norman with alterations but the crypt church has not changed since 1078 and is said to the oldest Norman crypt in the world. After eating our picnic in the sunshine the rain returned as we headed to Appleton with its splendid Victorian church and school buildings before continuing heading back to Sinnington where we enjoyed a pot of tea in the Fox and Hounds pub using their residents lounge. The long walkers started from the village of Hutton le Hole heading over the moors to Rosedale Chimney and Rosedale and returning along the valley. Overall, some lovely walks but rather too much rain and mud.
Due to the newspaper proforma restrictions, a shorter version of this write up will appear in the Macclesfield Express on Wednesday 6th Novermber.

Goathland to Levisham linear walk – (LONG WALK) Saturday 19th October (by Brian Richardson)

Ten walkers started out from Pickering in cars, and managed the logistics preparation by leaving a car at the walk’s end, at Levisham, and drove to Goathland to start the walk.

Under light clouds, we ascended southwards onto Two Howes Rigg, passing Simon Howe Cross (at 260metres), following Simon Howe Rigg down to Blawarth Beck. This open country overlooked distant moorland and forested horizons and to RAF Fylingdales.  We climbed over forested Wardle Rigg and followed a pleasant path down through a wood, in a heavy shower, to the North York Moors Railway station at Newtondale Halt. After a rather slippery walk beside Pickering Beck below the raised rail track, we turned south to ascend steep wooden steps in bracken in a very picturesque water-cut clough between gritstone cliffs to reach Hudson’s Cross (in name only) and Yewtree Scar.  We could hear, but not see, steam trains occasionally, hooting in the narrow valley cut in the moor below and beyond the wooded escarpment we had climbed.

We crossed the scar and climbed in bracken to Gallows Dyke and emerged to a spectacular view at the head of Hole of Horcum at 270 metres. Here, a half-kilometre wide gouge in the high moorland is created by softer ground eroding and undermining the tougher moorland surface crust for two kilometres southwards. The widened valley then reverts downstream to a narrow V-shaped cleft typical in this moorland.

After picnic lunch in a light but cold northerly breeze we headed west across Levisham Moor to Dundale Rigg and turned northwest, to seek the ruinous stone shell of Skelton Tower on Levisham Bottoms – a moorland mid-height ‘shelf’.  We were welcomed there by a herd of Highland Aberdeen Angus cattle (wide sharp-pointed horns in evidence, borne by the meekest and mildest animals you could imagine).  We took photos of course with them framed in stone doorways and windows of the tower, and sipped hot drinks before heading south, down the steep valley side to seek out Levisham Station.  Descending to the track crossing point, we were rewarded by a spectacle of a noisy steam train, engine belching steam, as it accelerated from the station to climb the valley towards Goathland.

At Levisham Station and level crossing, several of our group ate ice-creams or cakes at the station shop. Our final two kilometres took us up a long, grassed incline path to fields and across to Levisham and the Horseshoe Inn. Most of the group relaxed with teas there whilst drivers were driven back to Goathland to collect cars. We were blessed with very little mud under foot for this walk, despite the recent days of heavy rains, and some showers during the day. Overall 12.6 Miles were covered with 1690 ft ascent.

Hutton-le-Hole – Rosedale Circular Walk (LONG WALK) – Sunday 20 October 2019 (by John Gilligan)

On day two of the Pickering weekend a group of 16 assembled at Hutton-le-Hole car park for a day’s walking across Spaunton Moor towards Rosedale. The weather was supposed to be mostly fine with some rain in the afternoon, though there was some light mist as we set off. The route took us along part of the North York Moors Inn way towards Lastingham along first a wooded trail and then skirting the edge of Spaunton Moor to near Lastingham. Heavy rain over the previous week made what had been just a hop over Hole Beck a tricky crossing over a swollen stream. It was to be the first of several such crossings. Climbing up from the beck we reached the main path from Lastingham and a crossing of tracks.

We then turned north following a well-defined stone and gravel track along Lastingham Ridge to Ana Cross. Looking ahead we could see a huge rainbow in the sky with the left end little more than a few hundred yards away. Further along the track we could see the right end of the rainbow again a few hundred yards away. By now the rain was starting to get heavier, necessitating full waterproofs when we stopped for our morning break at Ana Cross.

Resuming our walk we followed the track to the top of chimney bank, a steep 1 in 3 road up from Rosedale Abbey known by cyclists as the chain-breaker.

Rosedale Abbey (which doesn’t have an abbey) is a former industrial area where ironstone was quarried at the end of the 19th and early 20th Century. A mineral railway had been built to carry the stone towards Teesside and it was the former track bed that we continued along, past Thorgill Head before  turning west across the moor to the Blakey Road.

This now took us to the return half of the walk, starting with a descent into the Dove River valley. The descent involved navigating a notional path across the heather to find a navigable gully to take us down from the open access area. At the bottom of the gully, there was a sheltered flat area, protected by the hillside from the biting wind and with the rain stopping for a brief interlude as we stopped for lunch. The spot afforded us a lovely view down the valley before the mist closed in again.

After lunch we continued downhill through a farm to Rawson Syke where a bridleway along the river valley would take us back towards Hutton. There was probably more water under foot than falling as rain, though the rain continued.  The bridleway took us for 2-3 miles along a tree-lined route to Lowna Bridge, before we followed the road for a mile or so back to the car park and our drive back to Pickering.

 

Sinnington (SHORT WALK) Sunday 20th October (by Melanie Davy)

The short Sunday walk took us through the pretty village of Sinnington past the church and through a variety of deciduous woodland to the village of Cropton.  We sheltered under a stunning Horse Chestnut tree for our coffee stop and then set off south down Low Lane through the woods. We crossed the River Seven at Appleton Mill Farm.  After a stiff climb up the farm drive we arrived in Appleton-le-Moors.  This has to be one of the most welcoming villages in Yorkshire. The plan had been to use the benches outside the village hall for our lunch break, but the heavens opened as we arrived in the village.  We spotted a large sign outside Christ Church saying “Church Open” and ventured inside where we found a church beautifully decorated for the Harvest Festival and tables laid up with tea and coffee and a sign saying “Help Yourself”.  We had a welcome break inside the very pretty church.  As we left, we called into the Moors Inn to enquire if there were any public toilets in the village and they said we could use theirs for a contribution to the Air Ambulance fund! Happily the sun came out again as we walked across fields to Bishop Hagg Wood and then followed the river back to Sinnington.

Autumn colours on the ‘Medium walk’.

The ‘Medium walkers’ enjoying morning coffee near the Hole of Horcum.
The North York Moors Railway as seen from near Skelton Tower on the ‘Long Walk’.
Highland cattle at the ruins of Skelton Tower ‘Long Walk’.
Crossing the moors on a wet day ‘Medium walk’.
One or many awkward stream crossings on the ‘Long walk’.
The ‘Medium walkers’ entering a rather wet Levisham village.
An afternoon rainbow on the moors ‘Medium walk’.
Medium walkers enjoying afternoon tea at the end of the walk in Pickering.
Medium walkers on footbridge at Farwath, north of Pickering.

If any of the photographs have the wrong caption or can be elaborated on please E-mail Colin Park and I will amend text.

Members may be interested in the following event at the Wilmslow Guild

70 YEARS OF NATIONAL PARKS IN BRITAIN

FRIDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2019

In the UK there are 15 members in the National Park family, which are protected areas because of their beautiful countryside, wildlife and cultural heritage.2019 marks 70 years since the 1949 Act of Parliament was passed which established the family of National Parks in England and Wales that we know and love. This was the result of decades of dedicated struggle including mass protests and political lobbying. It means that today the most beautiful countryside in England and Wales has the strongest levels of protection. People live and work in the national parks and the farms, villages and towns are protected along with the landscape and wildlife.

The lecture will investigate some of these parks and will concentrate on the geological background and geographical processes which mould the individual landscapes as well as investigating the social and historical aspects of the selected parks and the prominent functional role tourism plays.

Venue        Wilmslow Guild

Day             Friday

Time           19:30 – 21:30

Tutor                    John King

Tickets are available from the Wilmslow Guild and you can also book online via their website Wilmslow Guild