Tag Archives: Julian White

2020 Norfolk Ramblers AGM

The inspirational core officers of Norfolk Area Ramblers, the secretary, Ken Hawkins, the chair, Richard P May and the treasurer, Peter James.

This year’s AGM was wonderfully hosted by Norwich group at Great Witchingham Village Hall and started with a walk around the local area, including along Marriott’s Way and we also stopped off at St. Faith’s church at Little Witchingham.

Local wildlife.

The walkers set off.

This is the church at Little Witchingham, which is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. More about the church here…..

The wall paintings inside the church date from as early as the fourteenth century and it is a magnificent piece of history.

An innovation started by Richard May (right) was the introduction last year of an award to the group which had seen the largest increase in members. The first winners last year were Hike Norfolk, and this group won it again, with a 25% increase in membership. Congratulations to the group’s chair, Łukasz Banka, who couldn’t make it to the meeting, so Julian White (left, the younger one of the two people in the photo) collected the award on behalf of Hike Norfolk.

Congratulations to Norwich group who came second, with the award now hotting up, as there’s a similar policy to Brazil and the World Cup. When they won the World Cup for the third time, they were allowed to keep the trophy, so there’s a chance Hike Norfolk will be clearing a space on their collective mantelpiece for the permanent award. And Richard will be buying a new trophy.

During the meeting we heard from Peter James about the work that he’s been leading with working parties, where the Ramblers get involved directly with repairing footpaths and improving accessibility. Ken also gave an update on the Local Access Forum and we received positive news about the national membership numbers of the Ramblers.

After the main part of the meeting and formalities, we received a presentation from Jack Cornish (left) and Chris Hodgson (right).

Jack is the programme manager for Don’t Lose Your Way, which is a campaign to ensure that we don’t lose 10,000 miles of paths after 2026. There’s more information about this project on the Rambler’s web-site. Jack gave an interesting talk about the challenges ahead, as well as the opportunities, including more information about the on-line mapping scheme launching later this week.

Chris, the chair of Ramblers Cymru, gave an upbeat assessment of the organisation and provided food for thought (we hadn’t had the cakes yet incidentally, as the chairman makes us wait until the end….) about some new ways of engaging with current members and the community.

Richard, Jack and Chris then answered questions on a number of different areas, before then Richard confirming that we could eat the cakes.

The main event (well, for those who are very food orientated), the cakes kindly made by Norwich group members. A rather lovely selection.

We always welcome members and those interested in our work to attend the AGM, as well as encouraging members to get involved with the work of our area committee. We are constantly looking for new volunteers as there’s always plenty to do!

Norfolk Ramblers Take Part in ‘Time to Talk Day’

Norfolk Ramblers are taking part this month in a national campaign which focuses on mental well-being. One of the great things about walking is that it’s a healthy pursuit and we have some wonderful areas of coastline, woodland and riverbanks to explore in Norfolk.

We also want to people to feel comfortable talking about any mental health issues that they wish to, so we want to get people walking and talking. There should be no stigma to mental health issues and we just want to say that if anyone wants to talk, then they’ll find an open ear to listen.

Julian White, the area publicity officer, said:

“One in four of us will experience mental health issues this year and we want our groups to be a place where everyone can feel welcome. Getting out and meeting people is a great way to get healthy and also talking to others helps to alleviate loneliness and mental health issues. We have many members who have joined one of our groups and have found it’s a new community of friends for them”.

We’re running a number of walks as part of this campaign. The main day is Thursday 7 February and Hike Norfolk have a 6 mile walk near North Walsham. There’s more information here:

Thursday 7 February 2019 – 6 mile walk from Honing Common (Time to Talk Day)

Thursday, Feb 7, 2019, 10:00 AM

Honing Common Road
Honing Common Rd North Walsham, GB

9 Brave Walkers Attending

The very lovely Heather, who is also our official radio spokesperson after an excellent performance in December (see the event photo above, Heather is the one without the beard, as the one with the beard is Richard May, our quite competent area chair), is leading a walk for Hike Norfolk on Thursday 7 February 2019. It’s a mid-week walk and everyone…

Check out this Meetup →

Norwich Group also have two walks. The first is 10.5 miles and starts from Swanton Novers on Sunday 10 February, with information here:

NORWICH RAMBLERS Sunday 10/02: Swanton Novers 10.5 mi (“TIME TO TALK DAY”)

Sunday, Feb 10, 2019, 10:00 AM

Swanton Novers Village Hall
St Giles Road Swanton Novers, GB

17 Brave walkers Attending

The Ramblers, Britain’s biggest walking charity, is teaming up with mental health awareness campaign Time to Change for their annual Time to Talk Day on 7th February (please see this link: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/?utm_source=Time+to+Talk+Day&utm_campaign=17bcddc254-time-to-talk-day-guide-all&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_14847c985e-17bcddc2…

Check out this Meetup →

And there’s a 10 mile walk from Mannington Hall on Wednesday 13 February, with information here:

NORWICH RAMBLERS Wed 13/02: from Mannington Hall, 10 miles (“TIME TO TALK DAY”)

Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019, 10:00 AM

Mannington Hall
3 Mannington Hall Mannington, GB

19 Brave walkers Attending

The Ramblers, Britain’s biggest walking charity, is teaming up with mental health awareness campaign Time to Change for their annual Time to Talk Day on 7th February (please see this link https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/?utm_source=Time+to+Talk+Day&utm_campaign=17bcddc254-time-to-talk-day-guide-all&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_14847c985e-17bcddc25…

Check out this Meetup →

There’s more information about the national campaign on the Ramblers web-site.

Hike Norfolk Training Day

Hike Norfolk, one of our groups in Norfolk Area Ramblers, held a walk leading training day today to help more walkers feel confident in leading walks. The event, attended by 24 people, was held in Dereham and involved some map training, a rather lovely lunch and then a six-mile walk to practice some of the skills discussed earlier in the day.

We had a lunch spread after all that listening to Richard made people feel hungry. Bev, Jonathan and Steve did a great job in the kitchen making the sandwiches, although there were some comments about the decision of Julian to buy uncut bread. Julian was quite right though (since I’m the one writing this, I define what is correct and what isn’t….) as it looked far more rustic that way.

Richard and Sarah during the hands-on training in the afternoon, where some of us used phones and GPS to navigate the walk, whilst some others used paper maps. We encourage walk leaders to use whichever method that they’re happy with. We were pleased to see the delight on the faces of a couple of members when they realised just how easy having GPX files on phones really was (I exaggerate slightly, but they were definitely pleased).

A mill on the walk in Dereham, which Richard taught people to consider as a landmark to assist in finding our location on paper maps.

Richard, our area chairman, holding up a sign and looking quite heroic. Also, thanks to our area treasurer, Peter James, for dropping off the Ramblers area marquee in the morning, something which proved essential given the rain we had.

The day was a combined social event and training day, which is designed to encourage individual to lead walks. The Ramblers offer hundreds of led walks across Norfolk every month, and we’re really grateful to all of our walk leaders for their hard work. We’re delighted to see new people keen to join their ranks and hope they lead many walks in the future.

Thanks to everyone who helped on the day, it’s much appreciated and following the feedback we received, we’ll do it again next year!

Congratulations to Łukasz from Hike Norfolk on Completing 100 Mile Walk!

Congratulations to Łukasz (on right in above photo), the chair of Hike Norfolk, for his brave efforts in completing the 100-mile walk across Sussex and Kent last weekend. The walk, organised by the LDWA, was attempted by 450 people and a third withdrew before the end.

Łukasz was joined by Rob (on left in above photo), from Suffolk Ramblers, who was also successful in his attempt to complete the walk. The pair completed the walk within the maximum time limit of 48 hours and the distance was completed without sleep.

Julian White, the area communications officer (and marshal at the event), said:

“Rob and Łukasz both showed enormous energy and determination in completing the walk. The walk requires significant mental and physical efforts and it’s a seriously impressive piece of walking”.

Successful 2018 Norfolk Area AGM

Saturday 27 January saw the Annual General Meeting of Norfolk Ramblers, this year hosted by King’s Lynn Group at Leziate. As usual, the day started with a walk, on this occasion a figure of 8 route through what used to be Bawsey Country Park. 28 Ramblers took part, fortunately avoiding the rain that fell later in the day. Nevertheless, this left them ready for the warmth of the Village Hall, and the hot drinks laid on by the Group.

More members then joined us for the AGM proper which considered all the usual business. Members received reports from all of the Area Officers, as well as from all of our Groups. Elections to Area Council also took place, with all current members re‑elected, plus a new Committee member. At the same time, Brian Ansell left the Committee, with thanks for his long standing work in organising distribution of our Area News. Delegates to General Council were agreed – Julian White and Peter James, with Ian Mitchell attending as a visitor. The sole further business was the approval of a revised constitution for the Area, following which, Richard May, both our Chair and a national Trustee, informed those present about The Ramblers’ work over the last year, and its plans for the future.

To round off the day (after drinks, cakes and biscuits), Philip West gave a talk on Crabs, Cliffs and Coasters – a tour along the coast from Wells next the Sea to Cromer, lavishly illustrated with historical photographs, and accompanied by information and anecdotes. A worthy end to an enjoyable and productive day.

Norfolk Ramblers Donate £300 to North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

Norfolk Ramblers agreed at our area council meeting on Saturday 11 November to donate £300 to the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust.

The funding will be used by the trust to help pay for notice boards at the canal which will allow them to publicise the walks which are available in the area. The area is used by a number of Ramblers groups and the trust is keen to open up the canal area for use by the community.

Julian White, the Communications Officer for Norfolk Ramblers, said:

“We’re pleased to be able to donate this money to the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust in the knowledge that it will be used to help promote walks along the canal. Several of our groups, including Hike Norfolk, have run walks along the route and we fully support the trust’s efforts to restore the canal”.

2017 Ramblers General Council

The beautiful Southampton University campus

Ramblers’ General Council, which is the national organisation’s annual meeting, took place on 1st and 2 April 2017 in Southampton. Four of us went from Norfolk, with Richard May going as a trustee candidate, Julian White and Peter James going as delegates and Ian Mitchell going as a visitor.

Pre-GC walk around Southampton Common

There was a walk before the formal proceedings of General Council began and this went around Southampton Common. The local Hampshire group led this and ensured that we given some interesting historical facts and it was a great opportunity to meet other delegates from across the country.

The meeting was opened and chaired by Des Garrahan, the national chairman, who balanced a professional and informal approach. The new Chief Executive made her first speech to General Council and I hope she is able to move forwards on her central theme of improving and enhancing communications. Our new President, Stuart Maconie, was also announced.

Richard during the Saturday hustings

Richard May, our area chairman, was standing again for trustee after losing out last year. He was one of 15 candidates, although one didn’t turn up to General Council because of other commitments, and one, Hugh Dyer-Westacott (who has written a book), withdrew during the event.

With regards to the motions, Norfolk area had an amendment to motion 4 on ploughing and cropping.

Motion 4 was proposed by SYNED (South Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire) group. They opposed our amendment and we felt, after discussion with them, that General Council would likely not support our amendment based on these comments. We decided on that basis to withdraw our amendment.

We proposed a motion on funding lost ways, which is essentially about appointing a project officer and establish funding for the 2026 project, also ensuring that volunteers are co-ordinated and offered national assistance. The board of trustees proposed an amendment which we were content with and accepted. Cheshire East proposed a motion which essentially said that we should focus only on key routes, not trying to put in a claim for all footpaths. We opposed this, and it was a close vote, which fortunately went in our favour as the amendment wasn’t passed. Our original motion was though passed unanimously.

The results of the trustee elections was a little complex as there were three places for three years, two places for two years and two places for one year. That meant two elections throughout the day, but in short, the results were:


Rebecca Dawson – 87

Paul Rhodes – 80

Richard May – 78


Teri Moore – 80 (will serve two years as a trustee)

Sophie Clisold-Lesstor – 77

Peter Carr – 53 (will serve one year as a trustee)

Peter Rookes – 51

Richard’s official victory photo

Well done to Richard, our area chairman!

The organisation from the national office was excellent, and there were plenty of staff on hand who made an effort to engage with the delegates. The event ran smoothly in terms of timing, technically and in ensuring all members were able to get their voice heard.

The meeting ended with a contribution from the European Ramblers, and they have a very positive agenda and the Danish chairperson came to speak. She spoke about the importance of getting people out into the countryside, whether on foot, by bike or on horseback.

It was another really useful weekend for everyone who attended, great for meeting other delegates and putting forwards the view of Norfolk Ramblers to the national organisation. Next year’s event will be held in Bangor in April 2018 and anyone who is interested in attending can let us know at any time over the next few months!

Norfolk Ramblers AGM – A successful and enjoyable day!

It was our annual AGM this week and we were delighted that it was well-attended. It was held in Acle and Great Yarmouth group did an excellent job at leading an interesting walk and ensuring that an extensive range of cakes were provided!

The pre-AGM walk went around the Norfolk Broads and was only partly muddy!

Richard May, the Chairman of Norfolk Area Ramblers, opens up the meeting. Ken Hawkins, our secretary, is on the left and Peter James, our treasurer, is on the right.

Richard presented Ian Mitchell, our Vice-Chairman, with a certificate marking his extensive work to protect the footpaths of Norfolk. He has worked tirelessly, and has a knowledge which is unparalleled in the county, to help the Ramblers and his honour is very well deserved. He now goes on to a national award at General Council in Southampton in early April 2017, and our fingers are firmly crossed.

The wonderful range of cakes provided at the end of the AGM. Walking is important to the Ramblers, but so is food   🙂

Des Garrahan, the national chairman of the Ramblers, gave a talk about the future of the organisation and how volunteers were helping to achieve our aims. He also gave further information about the 2026 deadline of when paths have to be recorded on the Definitive Map to ensure that they are protected.

Lloyd, the beautiful Guide Dog!

Graham, with his guide dog Lloyd, is partially sighted but was able to complete our pre-AGM walk with assistance, showing  that this no barrier to walking with the Ramblers! Helen Sismore came from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and gave a fascinating talk on how we could welcome those with sight difficulties and ensure they can take part in walks. There will be a future blog post about this!

Julian White, the External Communications Officer, said:

“This was a lively and interesting AGM where there were discussions covering several areas, particularly regarding the 2026 deadline. It was great to have Des present so that we could ask questions and so that our members could hear more about what is planned. Helen also gave encouragement and ideas on how we could welcome more blind and partially sighted people to our walks. And thanks to Great Yarmouth group for the cakes!”


Legstretchers are Back from this weekend!


Legstretchers, the long distance walking group within Norfolk Ramblers, has been restarted and the first walk will take place this weekend, on Sunday 5 February.

Everyone is very welcome at the walk which will take place near North Walsham, and which is 18 miles long. In future, the Legstretchers walks will take place on the first Sunday of every month and will be advertised in the area programme, on Meetup, Facebook, the area web-site and also on the group’s new web-site at http://www.legstretchers.org.uk/.

Julian White, the area publicity officer, is leading the walk and said:

“It’s great to have Legstretchers back in Norfolk, offering a longer distance option to those walkers who fancy the challenge! I’ve been delighted with the number of walk leaders who have come forwards, so I’m very optimistic that the group will have a successful future”.

Further information about the walk is available at:

Legstretchers : 5 February 2017 – 18 mile Inaugural Walk nr North Walsham

Sunday, Feb 5, 2017, 9:30 AM

Pigney’s Car Park
Hall Lane North Walsham, GB

13 Walkers Attending

Lots of advance warning for this one!Legstretchers is a long distance walking group which has been re-established by Norfolk Area Ramblers after a gap of several years. There will be a walk, of around 18 miles, held on the first Sunday of every month from February 2017. The first few walks, by chance, are around North Norfolk, but future walks wil…

Check out this Meetup →


We will report back with photos after the event!

Going, Going Gone – Dereham Footpath Warden Unblocks Route!


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: