At our recent annual general meeting, the Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and West Middlesex Ramblers were delighted to present a certificate to two dedicated footpath workers, Peter and Diana Gulland from Haddenham near Aylesbury. The certificate celebrates their outstanding contribution to walking.
Peter and Diana have retired as Ramblers’ path checkers after almost 50 years of service to walking, defending and caring for paths in northern Buckinghamshire.
When they first ventured into North Bucks from their London home in 1968 they found the paths to be unwalkable. They soon got involved in voluntary work, clearing and waymarking paths.
North Bucks Way
After they moved to Haddenham, they helped to create the North Bucks Way (NBW) at a time when the only other named path in Bucks was the Ridgeway. They wrote two editions of the Ramblers’ guide to the NBW and then On Foot in the Vale of Aylesbury and The Vale of Aylesbury Walker. These publications were intended to encourage people to venture beyond the well-walked Chilterns into the lovely but undiscovered countryside of northern Bucks.
They organised a series of coach rambles to bring walkers from West London and South Bucks northwards to enjoy the paths and thereby keep them open.
They both served on the Area committee of the Ramblers: Peter was chairman from 1988 to 1992 and Aylesbury Group countryside secretary (1996-2002) and Diana was Area membership secretary.
It is thanks in no small part to the tireless and dedicated work of Peter and Diana that the paths in Aylesbury Vale are in a much better state today than they were 50 years ago. They literally blazed a trail by getting paths reopened and then encouraging their use. Walkers owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.
Says Peter: ‘When we cleared our first stile in Westbury, nearly 50 years ago, it would have been beyond our comprehension that this small action could lead to such a variety of interesting and absorbing activities and to such recognition. We have enjoyed playing our part for the Ramblers.’