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

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

 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)


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!!! 


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

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