On Saturday the Ramblers’ Chilterns 20s-30s Walking Group organised a five-mile walk from West Wycombe with Steve Baker, Conservative MP for Wycombe, and his wife Beth. Steve is my MP so I was particularly pleased to meet him.
What better way to get to know your MP than to walk with him, and we enjoyed the most glorious countryside in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We were able to chat about the benefits of walking to health and well-being, and the cuts faced by Bucks County Council and the effect on the path network, which is showing severe signs of overgrowth even in this popular area.
It was useful also to talk about campaigning techniques and whether petitions are effective in persuading politicians to change their minds (probably not), and I was glad to have a chance to talk about common land and common property rights, and to warn him about the Infrastructure Bill which has started in the House of Lords and potentially threatens public land.
Our leader, Ramblers’ trustee and group chairman Paul Rhodes, gave Steve a copy of the Ramblers’ manifesto for a walking Britain. We were delighted to see that, soon after Steve got home, he posted a blog about our walk advocating the health benefits of walking and linking to our manifesto.
It was great that Steve and Beth spared the time to walk and talk with us, and I hope that this is the first of many such expeditions. Thanks to the 20s-30s group for organising it.
The Ramblers are urging their areas and groups to make contact with their MPs and, in due course, parliamentary candidates, and take them on a walk to show them the issues which concern us.