Increasing numbers of Ramblers groups seem to be getting out their gardening and DIY tools and giving a helping hand to clear footpaths. It's not about doing the local council's job for them - it's showing that by joining forces we can unblock more walking routes. In Cornwall, for instance, there's now a great partnership between the Ramblers, the council, and some of the local landowners to sort out some long-overgrown paths.
It's also fun. Last Saturday I helped out in a group of volunteers organised by British Waterways to clear weeds from the edge of a towpath and paint lock gates on a heavily-walked canal through London. Lots of people stopped to ask how they could get involved.
To respond to this demand, the Ramblers is organising the first practical path work workshop in Kettering, tomorrow. It'll be in partnership with Bosch, which is kindly providing sponsorship.
Although Ramblers Central Office has undertaken most of the organisation, the majority of the day will be led by volunteers from around England and Wales. These include Sue and John Stubbs from Anglesea, Graham Ronan from Cornwall, Basil Merry from Chesterfield, David Craddock from Northamptonshire, and Chris Beney from Hertfordshire Area.
This list is by no means everyone and special mention should go to David who has bent over backwards to ensure that Northamptonshire could host the day. We are also really lucky to have MGSWP, which is the contractor responsible for undertaking highways work on behalf of Northamptonshire County Council, to help to really highlight how the Ramblers can work in partnership with Rights of Way Teams. At the moment we have nearly 50 people attending the day and it will be split in two the first half is a chance for everyone to share ideas as well as learn about various elements of practical path work to clear those walking routes. The second half of the day is a feild visit to Twywell where the Northamptonshire practical path work team have done a huge amount of work installing a number of steps up the side of a disused quarry.
Volunteers can find out more about getting involved in practical path work by going tohttp://www.ramblers.org.uk/NR/exeres/3A458B7C-60E3-470C-95FF-0A2DD879C1F0,frameless.htm?NRMODE=Published. Bosch have also agreed to give equipment to our path work teams and the day will be an opportunity for them to request power tools from Bosch.
Thanks finally to Ed Wilson, our Volunteer Development Officer, who has worked really hard to pull this together.
The Ramblers' Association is a registered charity (England & Wales no 1093577, Scotland no SC039799) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales (no 4458492). Registered office: 2nd floor, Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW.
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