RAMBLERS: Members of the local Ramblers’ Group are perhaps best known for their comprehensive walking programme with walks throughout the year from short to long. The programme is part of ‘promoting walking’, one of their charitable objectives.
What is less well known is the amount of time volunteers spend to make ‘just going for a walk’ possible, and available. In so doing, they are meeting their other charitable objectives, ‘to protect, maintain, and improve rights of way’.
During 2012, a core of regulars provided over 1200 hours of practical work, usually working with the Countryside Service rangers, to maintain and improve the footpath and bridleway network. The volunteers replace awkward stiles with wicket and kissing gates, install marker posts, and steps, cut back up-growth, improve drainage, and generally keep paths open.
Nearly all the parishes of North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield have seen the benefit of this practical work from the trained insured members during the year.
In addition to this hands-on work, many hours are spent checking planning applications, making comments as necessary, conducting path surveys for the Highway Authority and reviewing proposals to divert or add paths.
A spokesperson for the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire Group commented: “We have had a busy and successful year. We get pleasure from going for a walk but also from knowing we have helped to make that possible or easier for others”.
Those wishing to learn more or to participate by becoming a parish warden or possibly to volunteer can obtain more details by contacting email@example.com