Path reporting in Glos

It’s Ramblers’ AGM season again and many of my weekends are taken up with visiting Areas.  I welcome this because I learn so much about what Ramblers’ volunteers do for paths, access and helping people to enjoy walking.

Last Saturday I was in Gloucestershire, at Norton village hall, on the A38 about three miles north of Gloucester.  The meeting was a fairly standard AGM but it was made more interesting by short talks which punctuated the proceedings.  This was the idea of Bernard Gill, the chair.  It worked well and I shall recommend this to other Areas as a way of keeping people’s interest during the AGM.

8 On top of Cleeve Common

On top of Cleeve Common, the highest point in Gloucestershire, November 2017

We heard from Mike Hillier, walks coordinator of the 20s-30s group (a subgroup of the Gloucestershire Walking Group for younger members).  He explained how the members communicate through WhatsApp and how experienced leaders help new ones.  Mike works hard at this, despite having a full-time job, and the walks are well attended.

Reporting problems
A bit later in the meeting the Cleeve Group footpath secretary, Martin Thornley, demonstrated two ways of reporting path problems.  You can use the online map on Gloucestershire County Council’s website, or the Ramblers’ Pathwatch ‘app’ with the advantage that you can log the problem on site and take a photo, and the app sends it to Ramblers’ central office.  Reports are forwarded every fortnight to the county council and the Area footpath secretary.

We were able to put this into practice on the afternoon walk, led by Derek Hughes of Gloucester Group.  We set off on a path heading east from the A38 (Norton footpath 34) and soon came to a crossing with Norton footpath 33.  There was no waymark on the stile, and one was needed as we were turning north onto a cross-field route which was not well reinstated.  Bernard Gill took a photo and sent a report using the Pathwatch app.  As I do not have the app on my phone, I made a note to report it later.

x2 walking towards Priors Norton

Norton footpath 33 across the fields north to Priors Norton. A waymark is needed at the junction with footpath 34.

We walked up to Priors Norton church, part of which dates from the thirteenth century.  It is known as ‘the disappearing church’ because it is built just behind the brow of a hill and, when seen from the A38, it appears to sink into the hill.

x4 Priors Norton church 1

Priors Norton church

Then we walked down to the A38 and, after crossing it, found that the signpost for the path we were to follow (Norton footpath 5) was leaning over and would shortly be hidden by vegetation.  Another report was sent via Pathwatch.

x10 A38 & Norton FP5 & BW41

Signpost supposedly marking Norton footpath 5 and bridleway 41 where they leave the A38 (grid ref SO 864 244)

We walked over fields and eventually came to the River Severn at Wainlode, with a view across to Barrow Hill with a clump of trees on top.

x14 Wainlode 2

From Wainlode, looking NE across the Severn to Barrow Hill

Just by the river is the Red Lion pub, a fine building.

x15 Red Lion Wainlode

The Red Lion at Wainlode

We walked back on the lanes, passing through Bishops Norton with its pleasant village green.  When I later reported the path problems to Gloucestershire County Council via its website I was pleased to discover that its map had a layer showing registered village greens.  Bishops Norton village green is VG25.

x16 VG25 Bishops Norton

Bishops Norton village green

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About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in Access, AGMs, campaigns, Obstructed path, Public paths, Ramblers, walking and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Path reporting in Glos

  1. Interesting about the path reporting. It is the same situation in Herefordshire. However pathwatch has two significant disadvantages. The reporter has no record of the problem reported (surely this can be rectified!) and secondly you get no acknowledgement from the highway authority, so you can’t chase up. So I much prefer using the highway authority’s own map system.

    All the best,

    Tom

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