As can be seen from the above ‘before the work photos’, the steps on the slope down had nearly disappeared and the stile had become unstable and hard to use. The bridge in the area was rotten and so at a cost of £250 and 20 volunteer hours, the work is now complete! Thanks to the helpers from the Ramblers and the parish who helped with the work, and we hope that the path continues to be much used.
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.
The Dereham Times has published an article featuring the work done by Dereham Walkers are Welcome and the Ramblers in making paths more accessible. It also makes reference to the plaques that have been put up to improve the signage on the route.
Peter James, pictured above in the article, is fast becoming the poster boy for Norfolk Ramblers with all the publicity his path clearance is generating! He helps run numerous path clearance teams where volunteers go out and clear overgrown paths to make them more accessible.
As is well known, Spring is the growing season. Unfortunately for walkers, growth is not restricted to those nice flowers in your garden, but also includes rampant growth of brambles and nettles across public rights of way. In Dereham, two paths are particularly prone to this – Restricted Byways 30 and 31. These carry the legal right for horse and carriage drivers to use them between Neatherd Moor and Northall Green, but at their best, they are currently suitable only for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. And even those users can find their way blocked by nettle and bramble growth, so to tackle this before the route became impossible, Dereham Walkers are Welcome and The Ramblers together cut the paths on 3 May.
Peter James, the Area Treasurer, laying new protective covers for the path, from a previous path clearance day.
Not in the pictures were Rambler Gerald and Ken Hawkins from Dereham WaW. Try these paths for yourself – and let us know of any potential blockages on these or any other paths. We like to keep Peter busy! 🙂
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.
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 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:
ELECTED IN FIRST ROUND
Rebecca Dawson – 87
Paul Rhodes – 80
Richard May – 78
ELECTED IN SECOND ROUND
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
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!
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!”
Volunteers from Norfolk Ramblers have cleared FP3 (footpath 3) beside the Paddocks and FP4 from the road in Mulbarton. Much fun was had by those involved in what was another well organised event by Peter James, the area treasurer.
Above is the FP3 path before clearance, and below is after clearance was completed.
Opposite the common land area at Mulbarton the footpath FP4 has been completely blocked for over two years. The volunteers were able to clear many fallen branches and trees, with the brambles then cut back.
The volunteers, not yet tired by their hard work, then moved on to Bracon Ash FP1 which had previously been completely blocked. The two photos above show this path before and after clearance. They were able to get halfway along this path and will return as soon as practical to finish off the clearance.
Anyone wanting to get involved in path clearance, please get in touch with Peter James, his contact details are at http://www.norfolkra.org.uk/, it’s a fun day out and the area Ramblers have invested in a range of equipment to make the task easier.
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/.
Members from Norfolk Ramblers have again been battling overgrown footpaths in the county, this time our equipment has been used in Dereham.
The rapid growth of nettles and brambles had once again rendered Dereham Restricted Byway 31 virtually impassable for ordinary walkers. In addition to ordinary walkers denied access to this path, it was scheduled for a Ramblers’ walk next weekend.
So Peter James, supported by Catherine and Ken Hawkins, spent the morning of 16 June clearing it to his usual high standard. Not content with this, he went on to clear a nearby footpath (1a), where the farmer had cleared the crop, but weeds had grown up making walking difficult (and unpleasant in wet weather).
Thanks to those involved with this clearance – which is much appreciated not just by members of the Ramblers, but also by the local community. Please get in touch with us if you have problems with overgrown footpaths in any other parts of the county.
Peter James will soon become the new Anneka Rice in Challenge Anneka type projects to clear footpaths across Norfolk! There is video footage of his path clearance on our Facebook page at: