Dereham Walkers are Welcome and The Ramblers (Norfolk) welcome the confirmation of the establishment as rights of way of 6 routes in Dereham, as reported by the Dereham Times and EDP recently.
The 6 routes all lie to the east of Dereham, and are already mostly well established tracks used by farmers and residents in the area, as well as members of the public. This decision now means that all of the routes will be recognised as Restricted Byways, giving the public a legal right to use them. Restricted Byways can be used for walking, cycling, horse riding and carriage driving (ie with a horse and cart). The public cannot use a restricted byway in a mechanically propelled vehicle such as a motorbike or a car.
Our congratulations go to Dereham Town Council, which initiated the process and made the claims, more than 2 years ago. Throughout the process, the Town Council has been supported by The Ramblers (which provided much evidence and comment) and Dereham Walkers are Welcome. The claims, supported by reference to historic records and statements from people who had used the routes over a period of more than 20 years, have progressed through the legal processes needed to evaluate them, resulting in the recent decision. In accordance with the usual procedures for such matters, the decision was made by Heidi Cruickshank of the Planning Inspectorate.
Richard May, Chair of The Ramblers in Norfolk, said “The Ramblers is delighted to see these new routes and has been pleased to have worked closely with the Town Council to get them established. They will form useful additions to our regular programme of walks for existing and new members.”
Ken Hawkins, Chair of Dereham Walkers are Welcome added that this will take the number of public rights of way in the town to 41. In order to celebrate these valuable additions to our rights of way network, Dereham Walkers are Welcome has arranged a ‘New Routes’ walk on Monday 27 August. This walk will explore all of the routes now recognised. (It will also use one additional route which is to be dedicated as a bridleway, and will take the opportunity to call in briefly at Badley Moor Common.) The walk is about 6½ miles long, taking about 2¾ hours. Any walker is welcome: bookings can be made through Ken Hawkins at email@example.com or on 07505 426750.
Details of the routes are available at this link – Application Routes.
On a fine but frosty day, Peter James was out once again, but this time without path cutting equipment. Instead, he was geared up with generator, compressor and staple gun to renew 50 metres of decaying wire mesh on the boardwalk at Scarning Fen in Dereham (Footpath 14a).
Once the equipment had been carried on site (a small job in itself), Ken and Catherine Hawkins scraped off the old wire netting – and the frozen on leaves – and Peter followed up installing the new wire mesh.
It was gratifying that a number of people using the path stopped by to say ‘thank you’ for the work being done. Four hours later, and the mesh was down and ready for use.
We’re always keen to get more volunteers for path clearance work, it’s good exercise, great for the local community and also fun! We have lots of equipment available to use, and we’re also keen to hear from anyone who has blocked paths near to where they live. Please do contact us (we love hearing from people!), our details are available at http://www.norfolkra.org.uk/.
Julian White, from Hike Norfolk, led a walk around Dereham on Sunday which was attended by fifteen walkers. The interesting walk went past Borrow Hall, the former Jolly Farmers pub, Bishop Bonner’s Cottage and St. Nicholas Church.
The walk was interesting and varied, but there was a fallen tree near to the Mattishall Road. The tree blocked the footpath, requiring a small jump to get past. In the above photo is Clive Manwaring showing how to do it 🙂
Ken Hawkins, who had initially been behind the creation of the walks, is the Dereham Footpath Warden and Norfolk Ramblers Area Secretary and on hearing about the obstacle he promptly went to ensure that it was removed for anyone else wanting to walk the path. Thanks to Ken for such a fast response!
Above is a photo of Hike Norfolk after the walk, which can be found at:
At the end of October 2016, Norfolk County Council is holding its second Walking Festival which now also includes cycling. The full event runs from 22 to 30 October, and incorporates the ‘official’ opening of the second Norfolk stretch of the England Coast Path (Hopton on Sea to Sea Palling) on Monday 24 October. The Ramblers has, via Peter James, entered a walk along this stretch in two parts, on Sundays 23 and 30 October. Our member Ken Hawkins has also entered walks for Dereham Walkers are Welcome on 23, 26 and 28 October.
Booking for all of the walks in the Festival is through the Festival website at http://www.norfolkwalkingfestival.co.uk/, and there are also good links from the Norfolk County Council home page https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/.
A member of Norfolk Ramblers has been instrumental in helping Dereham become the fourth Norfolk town to gain the coveted “Walkers are Welcome” status. This is an award from the national body which is given to locations which are attractive destinations for walkers with high quality information about the local walks.
The planning for the application started when Ken Hawkins, the area secretary for Norfolk Ramblers and the footpath warden for Dereham Town Council, was able to lead an application to secure funding from Breckland District Council to produce 3,000 copies of a Dereham Walks pack. There were two guided walks for members of the public arranged to show local residents what was available just a short distance away.
It wasn’t just Ken’s hard work which has been important in seeing this endorsement as others including Tim Birt, Neil Cliff, Kate Millbank, Dorothy Sneesby, Martin Sneesby, Sue Rothwell and Jean Stratford all played their parts in driving the process forward. They helped to ensure that sufficient public support was demonstrated as 5% of the town needed to get behind the project, which was 900 Dereham residents. Over 950 signatures were achieved thanks to the committee members and other local institutions.
Richard May, the area chairman of Norfolk Ramblers, said:
“This is great news for walkers living in Dereham and another good reason for visitors to come to the town: we’re all proud of the work that Ken and others have put in to not only getting this proposal off the ground, but also by engaging with local residents.”