EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
All members are invited to our AGM which will be held at 2pm on Saturday 25th November 2023 at Macclesfield Tennis Club, Learning Zone Campus, Park Lane, Macclesfield SKI1 8LF Papers for the AGM are available to download below. To help with conserving the planet no paper copies will be available unless requested.
At the beginning of September Colin Finlayson kindly sent me an article from the Autumn edition of The Ramblers Magazine. The article described how in 2015 June Maybon applied for a well-used path, running from the back of Timperley Metrolink tram station to the Bridgewater Canal, to be added to the Definitive Map. This was not an easy objective to achieve, especially when Railway and Canal Traffic Acts are involved. On this occasion neither the Canal and Riverside Trust nor Metrolink objected so an attractive off-road route, in a busy area, is now preserved for ever. Many thanks June.
Early History of East Cheshire Ramblers
The inaugural meeting of what was to become East Cheshire Ramblers was held at Roe Street Sunday School in Macclesfield on the 4th October 1973. It was organised by Lesley Meadowcroft from Manchester Ramblers Association and about fifty people attended the first meeting.
The meeting covered Rights of Way and the need for a definitive map for Cheshire. Some of those present at the meeting expressed some concern about potential confusion with Macclesfield Rambling Club and not everyone was keen on the idea of public rights of way! Concerns were raised about walkers leaving gates open, climbing walls, letting dogs loose and “How would you like people walking through your garden?” One person was particularly vocal about walkers trespassing on Big Low, Rainow.
Despite the views aired, twenty people were keen to start Macclesfield Ramblers Association and a committee of ten was established. It was made up of Chair Tom Chalmers, Secretary David Hughes, Footpath Secretary Pat Bowyer, Treasurer Alan Pedlar, Publicity Pauline Pedlar and committee members Sid Forse, Henry Trufit, Mike Corfield and Margaret Oldfield. Later Marjorie Cooper became Chair and Anne Court became the Secretary.
One of the first tasks was to create a copy of the Definitive Map of Cheshire showing the Public Rights of Way in the Macclesfield area. The only maps, available at six inches to the mile, were held in the Cheshire County Council Offices in Chester and the Macclesfield library. The committee spent hours creating maps with a scale of 2.5 inches to the mile with each footpath drawn in by hand. These maps still exist today. Routes were colour coded: Purple (Footpaths) Green (Bridleways), Yellow (Parish Boundary). They created a “real treasure trove of footpaths”. In addition a great deal of time and effort was spent to ensure that every right of way was inspected annually. In order to achieve this, footpaths were divided into Parishes and each member agreed to inspect the footpaths in two Parishes. As we do today, the data was collated centrally. In the early days it was sent through annual reports to Pat Bowyer, the Footpath Secretary. Complaints about ‘obstructions’ were passed to Cheshire County Council who, it has to be said, at that time, ‘moved very slowly in the plains’! The Committee achieved more progress in Peak Park area where the support of the Countryside Rangers was invaluable. Pat Bowyer also had great support from Donald Lee of Peak and Northern Footpaths Society.
The Committee faced a constant battle to prevent developers building over footpaths, particularly on new housing estates. In addition, major issues arose over the proposed route of the Silk Road through Dumbah Hollow. Over the years careful negotiation was required when farms were converted into private residences. No one wanted a public right of way through their new back garden. Paths were moved away illegally from farms and often via unsuitable diversions.
The group gained publicity and increased members through Pauline’s articles in the Macclesfield Express, where they allowed her a ‘few inches’ each week. A particularly difficult confrontation with a farmer on a footpath in Wincle required the intervention of the local police. Fortunately, the constable was familiar with the Definitive Map and the walkers were allowed to proceed. This resulted in some welcome but unexpected publicity! The Macclesfield Express ran with the headline: “POLICE CALLED IN OVER FOOTPATH DISPUTE”. Numbers in Macclesfield Ramblers doubled as a result! The path in question now has a stile, gate and footpath.
The group also offered support to Chris Bamsey, one of the Country Side Rangers. Together they put in stiles, improved muddy paths and helped install the bridge over Shell Brook. Another major legacy is the work the group did to secure the Gritstone Trail. Initially the route was to be called the Cheshire Ridgeway as Derbyshire Ramblers were setting up the Gritstone Way. It was eventually agreed to call the route the Gritstone Trail to match and complement the Sandstone Trail in the West of Cheshire. It’s proved to be a great success and has certainly increased footfall over the years. Forty miles of the trail were walked in the 40th Anniversary year and this year fifty miles were walked to celebrate our Golden Anniversary year.
With grateful thanks to Alan Pedlar
Brian Richardson, a long serving member of East Cheshire Ramblers, and the Groups Projects Coordinator responsible for leading a large number of improvements to Cheshire East’s footpaths, is taking on the Spanish Three Peaks Trek Challenge in the Sierra Nevada National Park from September 13-17th 2023 to raise money for The Christie Charity.
Brian, who has two artificial knees, will be participating in a trek which takes three days to complete. The walk will cover almost 50km, including three peaks one of which is Spain’s highest peak Mulhacen at 3,482m.
Brian decided to take on the challenge as a thank you to The Christie hospital, where he’s been treated for stage three bladder cancer. Having undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, he was given the ‘all clear’ in September 2022.
As a regular long walker, and a member of his local gym, Brian is confident he’s well prepared for the challenge!
If you’d like to support Brian with his fund raising efforts please go to Brian Richardson is fundraising for The Christie.
You are invited to our Live Music Night of popular songs from the 60’s and 70’s for you to sing along with, hosted by John Galligan on guitar.
Where: Macclesfield Tennis Club, Learning Zone Campus, Park Lane, Macclesfield SK11 8JR
When: Friday 22nd September 2023 to include a light buffet, bar drinks available to buy
To book: Gina Thompson email@example.com 07843 914886. Bookings close 15th September
Online Payment (please let Gina know that you have payed)
Account Name: Ramblers Association (CH2)
Sort code: 60-83-01
Account number: 20129929
Please quote reference MUS
By Cheque: Cheques made payable to RA East Cheshire Group and send to
6 Reynolds Mews
Date for your diary 50th Anniversary Luncheon at Davenport Golf Club 7th October. More information to follow soon.