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From time to time Kent Area or the Ramblers send the committee stuff that the wider membership might find interesting. A lot does go on in the background so we thought we would make it available here either directly or by links. Some would say why should we be the only ones to suffer.

So here are emaisl from the CEO of Ramblers
 

 

        


Update from your CEO

 

 

 

The future of access - please complete the petition and the survey and share the new guide

 

Last month in this newsletter we asked you to help us to celebrate 800 years since the Charter of the Forest, a seminal moment in our access journey. Thank you to all of you who shared your woodland walks with us. As you are aware, we are using this anniversary to start a conversation about the future of access and to build a base of supporters to join us in championing improved access to the countryside. As part of this work, we are now working closely with our area access volunteers to help us to gather and review evidence. In any areas where we do not have a known and identified access volunteer, we are making contact with the chair in the first instance to ensure all areas get a chance to feed in.
 
We promised to share our new petition with you this month. Almost 8,500 people have already signed it and over 2,500 people have completed the accompanying survey. But we still want to reach more people, and in order to do that we need your help in:

  1. Asking people to sign our petition to call on the government to increase woodland access.
  2. Asking people to share their views on the future of access by completing our survey.
  3. Helping more people to enjoy their existing rights by sharing our guide to open access.

We’ve also produced a toolkit with helpful information that your area/group can use if you want to get involved. If there’s anything else you need, or you have any questions, please get in touch with the campaigns team campaigns@ramblers.org.uk.

 

 

 

Festival of Winter Walks - please look out for the toolkit and i newspaper supplement

 

As mentioned in the PPL item earlier in this newsletter, promotion of this festival is underway, please look out for an eight page supplement in the “i” newspaper on Saturday 2 December, which is dedicated to the Festival of Winter Walks and celebrates the wonders of winter walking. The festival will also be profiled on the “i” website at the same time, encouraging people to get involved. To help you publicise your festival activity, our festival toolkit has been updated with new resources, including the festival logo, poster template, press release template, and visual identify guidelines. Please take a look and use the resources wherever appropriate when promoting your festival activities.

We are also working with a research partner called Skyblue, to evaluate the impact of the festival. We will be in in touch with group chairs shortly, to ask that walk leaders use walk registers to help us with this research – it would be terrific if you could encourage your groups to use them. In January 2018 we will be sharing a survey, also created by Skyblue, with volunteers. The survey will help us to capture what’s working well and what needs to be developed. It will also help us to tell our story around Festival of Winter Walks to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and to other potential future partners and funders. If you have any questions, please get in touch with our festivals programme manager at
patrick.scott@ramblers.org.uk.

 

 

 

Don’t Lose Your Way - please note we have appointed a new project manager

 

We are delighted and grateful that the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust has funded us to be able to appoint a project manager for a year, to scope out what a longer term project would look like. We have now been through an extensive recruitment process and I’m pleased to say we’ve secured an excellent candidate to take up this important post. I’ll be able to share their details with you next month and hope you’ll help with their induction in the areas that this work is taking place. One of the first tasks will also be to set up some sort of volunteer advisory board and again we’ll let you know how this will work and how to participate in due course. If you have any queries, please get in touch with our director of advocacy and engagement at nicky.philpott@ramblers.org.uk.

 

 

 

Network Rail - please note there will be a delay to the public inquiry

 

On 20 October, during the third day of the month-long inquiry into the proposed closure of many level crossing footpaths in and around Essex, an announcement was made that the inquiry would have to adjourn until 2018. Network Rail, promoter of the closures, had not given statutory notice to some of the owners of the affected land, and the adjournment was necessary to enable this to be done. We have since learned that the inquiry may not be resumed until May 2018. We will obviously keep you posted on any further developments. In the meanwhile, thank you for all your support with our fundraising appeal to help towards our legal fees at the inquiries - we’ve already raised close to £5000 which is amazing!

The Cambridgeshire inquiry starts on 28th November so this appeal is still live and every penny we raise will go towards supporting volunteers at the inquiries. Please share the video and fundraising page with your groups and get in touch with
campaigns@ramblers.org.uk with any questions.

 

 

 

Shared use (England and Wales) - reminder that consultation closes on 27 November 

 

Following on from the update in my October newsletter and the follow up email to area chairs and footpath secretaries, the draft shared use advice note is still out for consultation and we have already received some very helpful feedback. The deadline for comments is just after this newsletter is distributed, on Monday 27 November, after which time the consultation feedback will be collated and discussed with the working group of volunteers who have helped draft the document, at a meeting to be held in early December. Once finalised, the advice note will be available online for volunteers and will form the basis for ongoing engagement with organisations representing other users. The draft advice note is available here. If you have any queries please contact Stephen Russell at stephen.russell@ramblers.org.uk.

 

 

 

“Walkable” places  - new report launched with the Local Government Information Unit

 

As the pressure to deliver more housing increases, we are keen to start a public conversation about the kind of places we want built rather than just the number of houses delivered.

With this aim in mind we’ve teamed up with the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) to publish a new report investigating how local authorities are working with developers to make places more ‘walkable’. We have just held a panel discussion in the Houses of Parliament which attracted local government, developers, planners, MPs and like-minded organisations to discuss the findings of the research and the Ramblers’ new policy on urban walking. For more information visit our website here.

 

 

 

High Ham - please note the update on this case

 

Readers of this newsletter may remember that we learned back in August that, despite carefully-argued objections from the Ramblers and others (like the British Horse Society, with whom we were working), the Inspector acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had decided to confirm an order to delete a public right of way at High Ham in Somerset, on the basis that it must have been put on the definitive map by mistake, decades ago. This was unfortunate, as it was a picturesque and strategic route; and it was Ramblers’ volunteer Stan Marriott who had this path registered in the 1950s. We believed that the Inspector had misapplied the law, effectively making us prove the existence of the right of way now when the evidence available in the 1950s was no longer accessible. We sent a letter-before-action to the Government Legal Department asking them to consider whether the Inspector’s approach was correct.
 
Disappointingly, the Government Legal Department rejected the arguments we made in our pre-action letter. The trustees have therefore reluctantly decided that, in this particular case, the dangers of conceivably losing significantly outweigh the merits of possibly winning, so we’ve decided not to go to the High Court, to avoid the risk of a potential adverse principle being set in the higher courts.  There is still an important point of principle here which needs to be aired in the courts - but this is not the case to do it with. Our volunteer in Somerset, Carl Earl, has worked tirelessly in the matter, but has kindly recognized the reasons for our not taking the matter further. Other organisations (such as the OSS, the BHS and the Byway and Bridleway Trust) have all offered to make a contribution to our taking counsel’s opinion in the matter, and we have accepted these with thanks. For further information please contact
policy@ramblers.zendesk.org.uk.

 

 

 

Clipstone, Nottinghamshire - please note that Ramblers have secured a new path

 

In a more encouraging development, Nottinghamshire Ramblers, in collaboration with Clipstone parish council, have won a new, strategic path 863 metres long, which, in combination with other paths makes a good circular walk for local residents. Walkers can now step off a bridleway called Clipstone Drive, walk alongside some attractive woodland, Garibaldi Plantation, down to the river Maun, and return a different way through a nature reserve on another bridleway, past a series of ponds, Spa Ponds.
 
The basis for this path to be recognised was long use by the public, but it was bedevilled by all sorts of legal complications: the land was Crown Land, to which the Highways Acts (under which rights of way are usually proved) do not apply, so we had to rely on the arbitrary rules of ‘common law dedication.’ Nottinghamshire Council rejected the application on that basis, but our volunteers, led by Steve Parkhouse, appealed to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State agreed that there was at least a prima facie case for this, so ordered the council to make an order. The landowner objected to this, so the matter fell to be determined by an Inspector.  To prove ‘common law dedication’ we have to be able to show that for at least some point in time during the period of use, the land was in the possession of somebody with the capacity to dedicate a right of way; and the Forestry Commission - occupiers of the land during most of the material period of public use - appear not to have capacity to dedicate.   
 
The Inspector was persuaded that in certain circumstances it is possible to infer the dedication even where the land is leased. Such an inference as this is hardly ever drawn. But she found it was possible here: the freeholders lived locally and would have been aware of the long use and they took no action to prevent the use. The Inspector therefore confirmed the order adding the path to the definitive map. For further information about this, or any other legal cases, please contact
policy@ramblers.zendesk.org.uk.

 

 

 

Group Walks and Events Manager (GWEM) - please note the system updates this month

 

Please note that there will be a small update to the GWEM this month, to improve the contacts system. This is because we have received a significant amount of feedback that contacts are too easy to duplicate and hard to delete. GWEM editors and contributors have been updated about what to expect, what the changes are and what they need to do. There may be some short-term work to tidy up contacts - but this will make contact management much easier in the future. If you have any questions about this update please email volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com.

 

 

 

Walk leader checklist - please note there will be some delays in order fulfilment

 

Thank you to everybody who has ordered hardcopies of the revised checklist and new In case of emergency (ICE) cards. We have had a great response and have had to reorder stock as a result, so some volunteers may be experiencing a delay in receiving your order – we apologise for this and thank you for your patience and understanding. In the meantime you can download printable copies from the Walk Leader toolkit. If you have any questions about your order please get in touch via volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com.

 

 

 

Area AGMs - please let us know if you have further support requirements and/or feedback

 

We have received a fantastic response from areas in response to our request for support requirements for the area AGMs which are taking place from November 2017 until March 2018. Nine out of ten areas have requested a trustee to join them at their AGM this year. We hope to be able to provide a trustee for almost all AGMs - apart from a few which clash with the board meeting - in which case we will try and ensure a member of staff joins these AGMs instead. We have briefed the trustees and staff joining AGMs on the topics which areas have an expressed an interest in hearing about. We have also asked trustees to fill out a post AGM survey so we can look at how to support AGMs again next year. If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback regarding support for area AGMs this year - or next - please contact Richard.sharp@ramblers.org.uk.

 

 

 

Area chairs and secretaries induction - please let us know if you would like to attend

 

If you are an area chair or secretary from a Ramblers England area and new to your role, please join us 7 to 8 February at the Ramblers London (Vauxhall) office for an induction session. The induction will run from mid-afternoon on day one (including an optional walk and dinner) until around four o’clock on day two. If you are a volunteer who is stepping down from an area role, please let your successor know about this opportunity. Area chairs and secretaries who came to past inductions have told us that they found them very useful and would strongly recommend the session to others. They also gave us feedback which we have used to continually improve the induction.
 
The induction will provide volunteers with the information and support needed to run an area. It offers an overview of our mission, vision, strategy, structure, staffing and systems, so that volunteers can gain a broad understanding of how the whole of the Ramblers works together to deliver our charitable aims. It is primarily intended for volunteers who are new to the role of area chair or secretary. However, if there are free places we may also be able to offer them to volunteers who are considering standing as area chair or secretary at next year’s AGMs and want to find out more before they do so, or to existing areas chairs and secretaries who would value some refresher training. For further information contact
Diane.Simcoe@ramblers.org.uk.
 
For volunteers in Wales, Ramblers Cymru is pleased to announce a new training programme will be rolled out across Wales next year. Training will be offered in subjects from rights of way law, to navigation skills and social media. If you are a new area chair or secretary, or think there is any specific training you feel would be of benefit to you, please get in touch with
Catherine.morgan@ramblers.org.uk.
 
And in Scotland, Ramblers Scotland are planning a further Area Leadership Development Day in Scotland next March and chairs will be contacted in the coming weeks to find out their availability. 

 

 

 

Ramblers Christmas cards and other gifts - please visit our online shop!

 

If you’re looking for Christmas cards and gifts this Christmas - look no further. You can visit our online shop to browse for great gift inspiration. You can choose from a selection of Christmas cards and other Ramblers products. Every purchase you make will help to fund our charitable work to improve walkers’ rights and protect the places we all love to walk.

 

 

 

Ramblers Cymru - please note the date for Welsh Council 2018

 

Welsh Council will take place on 3 - 4 March 2018 at Gregynog Hall in Powys. The first day will include training, talks, walks, social and a Q&A session with members of the Welsh Council Executive Committee. All are welcome to Day 1, which is open to voting and non-voting members. Day 2 will focus on formal AGM business. Details abut registration will be communicated shortly. Ramblers Cymru will be seeking new members for the Welsh Council Executive Committee (WCEC) this year and will also be featuring groups and areas with successes to share. If you are interested in standing for WCEC or have any best practice you would like to share please contact Catherine.morgan@ramblers.org.uk.

 

 

 

Ramblers Scotland - update on our Mountains of the Mind initiative

 

More than 300 people enjoyed a wonderful evening of inspiring photography and talks in Edinburgh this month, raising £2,000 in the process. Edinburgh Young Walkers (EYW) organised the Mountains in Mind  exhibition to highlight the benefits of walking for mental health and wellbeing. It was made possible thanks to funding won by EYW during a pitch to our Scottish council executive committee during a Dragon’s Den-style contest earlier this year. Ramblers Scotland’s convener Alison Mitchell said: “The amazing response from the Scottish outdoor community highlights the increasing recognition that walking can play a major role in boosting people’s mental health and wellbeing.” All the money raised will go back into a new budget for EYW and other Ramblers groups to develop further exciting initiatives next year – so this lovely event will leave a lasting legacy.
 

 

 

 
 
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         Update from your CEO

Update from your CEO
 

Sent to: area chairs and secretaries – for onward cascade to area executive / council members and group chairs; and then from group chairs onward to all members, and from area membership secretaries to those who are area-only members ie. not in groups. 
 

20 October 2017

Hello Robert

Salutari / Greetings. This month I was lucky enough to join Alison Mitchell, Convener of Ramblers Scotland, at the European Ramblers Association (ERA) Annual Conferencein Brasov, Romania. The ERA consists of 61 walkers organisations, from 34 nations, with over 3 million members. Romania is such a beautiful country: bears, wolves, 13 national parks and one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe. It was an energising and fascinating experience and - whatever Brexit brings - I think we should remain involved with this network in the future, as we clearly have many shared issues and opportunities.
 
Since I last wrote to you, I have also spent time with the Scottish and Welsh teams. It has been a busy month of travelling, but I think Mark Twain was right when he wrote that “twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do”. Our staff management team spent some valuable time at the Senedd - home to the Welsh Assembly - where it was great to meet Assembly members and discuss the opportunities open to us to influence policy and provide delivery solutions on such important issues as the protection of Wales’s exceptional natural environment.
 
In Edinburgh, the Scottish team took us for a delightful ramble along the Water of Leith Walkway. This 24 mile long river flows through Edinburgh and out to sea, via the Firth of Forth. The Walkway runs beside the river for 12 miles, through what was once Edinburgh’s industrial heartland, with over 70 watermills. It is now a peaceful wildlife paradise and we saw herons fishing for brown trout. It was also great to take a morning walk in the beautiful Pentland Hills with Jess Dolan, Director of Ramblers Scotland, who has just returned from maternity leave this month. I know you will all join me in welcoming her back.
 
The staff team have also facilitated a full month of valuable GB meetings. Our board committees – Finance & Operations, Mission and Devolution – have all met, in advance of our September board meeting. It was a significant board meeting, where we finalised repayment of our historic pension liability with the Pension Trust. The trustees have worked diligently and strategically to set aside funds to repay the debt across a number of years and, in September, the debt of £980,000 was repaid in full, and all future liabilities extinguished by agreement with the Pension Trust. This is a tremendous achievement. 

In their September meeting, the trustees also discussed and approved the Ramblers annual budget. Our new financial year runs from October 2017 to September 2018. Highlights for the coming year include the approval of a significant budget of £535,000 to update our IT infrastructure and an expansion of staff directly employed in providing strong mutual support to our areas. I will continue to ensure that the full minutes of our board meetings are posted on the members area of our website in a timely fashion and I will also provide you with a summary copy of our exciting new business plan in my November newsletter.
 
Turning then to what is coming over the hill this month, you can see that we are seeking your support in celebrating 800 years of access in November. We are also looking for our countryside protection volunteers to help us to update our guidance in this key field of work. This newsletter also contains updates on our progress on Don’t Lose Your Way, shared use, Network Rail, roadshows, Countryfile coverage, Stalling Busk conference, Walking for Health, group and area survey, area AGMs, General Council and recent casework developments – so plenty of grist to our collective mill. 
 
And finally, thank you to all of you who took part in our joint activity on 1 October - National Grandparents Day - with a fantastic charity called Grandparents Plus. They are dedicated to supporting grandparents valuable roles in the care and development of their grandchildren. I met their Chief Executive earlier this year and we realised that our organisations have very complementary missions. We are now working together to encourage different generations to spend quality time walking and talking together – I can’t think of a more worthwhile activity for us to support.
 
I wish you, and your friends and family, some lovely autumn walks.


Kindest regards,



Vanessa Griffiths, chief executive officer
Phone: 020 7339 8578
Email: ceo@ramblers.zendesk.com
Twitter: @RamblerVan

 
Charter of the Forest - please help us celebrate 800 years of access and share your walks with us 
November 6 marks the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest, a historic document that gave common people the right of access to forest land. This can be seen as the first step on our access journey which, in more recent years, has seen the Kinder Scout trespass, the founding of the Ramblers, the establishment of National Parks and National Trails, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, the right to create the England Coast Path, and many other achievements. 
 
To mark this anniversary, we’ll be celebrating everything that has been achieved over the last 800 years, and looking forward to think about the future of access. We’ve commissioned new research looking at how people use access and their views on its future, we’ll be launching a petition calling for increased access to forest land, and we’ll be starting a conversation with members around the next 800 years of access. In my November newsletter we will share the petition with you and will be asking members to join in the conversation. In the meantime, please look out for the anniversary, follow the Ramblers on Facebook or Twitter, have a read through your winter edition of Walkmagazine, and get ready to celebrate with us…
 
If you have any particularly great walks through access land in your area then please do get in touch with us. We’d love to hear of your favourite open access areas and how members are enjoying their rights of access. Please could you send your information through to campaigns@ramblers.org.uk this month.
 
Countryside protection - please help us to ensure we have identified all our volunteers in this field
As part of our current drive to increase mutual support for volunteers, we’re updating our guidance for countryside protection volunteers. This guidance is currently called The Walking Environment Officer Handbook. We’ll be in touch with those of you who volunteer in this field soon, to better understand what you think of your current role and what tools you need to do this vital job.
 
We plan to make contact with all volunteers who are recorded on our database as a group or area countryside secretary or as a walking environment officer but - just to make sure we don’t miss anyone - please can you keep an eye out for an email on this topic this month, and forward it to any other volunteers who you believe should be included in this dialogue. We know there are gaps in some areas where it hasn’t been possible to find volunteers willing to take on this key role and we hope that this work will make the countryside protection volunteering role more attractive and easier to fill in the future.
 
Additionally, if you know of a volunteer who has been doing outstanding work in this field, or a volunteer who has recently had particular success on a countryside protection issue, we’d love to hear from you so that we can highlight these efforts. If you have any comments or queries please contact alison.hallas@ramblers.org.uk.
 
Don't Lose Your Way - please note this update on training and project manager recruitment 
Training has taken place this month on the Isle of Wight and in Dorset and we're grateful to both areas and their volunteers for supporting and attending these important sessions. Sarah Wadey and Phil Bucks - the trainers - are from the British Horse Society (BHS). They will be running more training days in November for the BHS and Open Spaces Society and Ramblers volunteers are welcome to attend these sessions. Please see the Don't Lose Your Way section on the website for more details. Bucks and Wadey have also published a new edition of Restoring the Record. Most areas have received a copy but if you have not, and you would like one, we’ve a small number left. Please email policy@ramblers.org.uk if you would like to request a copy.
 
A Don’t Lose Your Way project manager role - generously funded by the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust - has now been advertised. This role will scope out this vital project so we can provide support and coordination to volunteers leading up to the cut-off date on 2026 and beyond. Interviews for this post are being held on 1 November and we will give you an update on the outcome in a future newsletter. Once appointed, our new project manager will be coordinating a volunteer advisory group and we will let you know how you may be able to contribute to this group in due course.
 
Shared use - please register your interest in commenting on our draft guidance 
In the last edition of Walk magazine we highlighted the continued pressure to convert pedestrian-only routes into shared routes for pedestrians and cyclists. The Ramblers policy on shared use is that upgrading a footpath to bridleway or cycle track status must be considered on an individual basis, not by way of universal conversion. A working group has been set up to help shape guidance to support this policy, and to outline the key considerations which volunteers should take into account when responding to shared use proposals in their local area. A consultation draft of this guidance will soon be available and we would welcome your comments to help inform the final version. If you would like to review the draft guidance, please pre-register your interest with stephen.russell@ramblers.org.uk. Stephen will be in touch once the consultation document is available in November.
 
Network Rail update - please help us spread the word and donate to the Ramblers legal fund 

As you know, over the last year Ramblers volunteers in East Anglia have been challenging Network Rail’s proposals to close 130 level crossings. Thanks to their hard work, 18 have already been saved from closure. The first public inquiry - which will decide whether or not these footpaths stay open - has just started for Essex, Hertfordshire and the London Borough of Havering. Ramblers’ volunteers and local residents are giving evidence to ensure walkers and other local path users are heard. The public inquiry for Cambridgeshire will start on 28 November, followed by Suffolk in January 2018. We are expecting the Secretary of State to make the final decision on whether these crossings will stay open late next year. 

Please help us to challenge closures that aren't suitable for walkers by donating to our legal fund. Your donation will help pay for expert legal representation to support our local volunteers and to help us to demonstrate how important these paths are to the local community. You can find out more and donate here, and we would be grateful if you could also help to spread the word by sharing our campaign video with your members. Thank you for your support.

 
Ramblers Roadshows - please let us know if you would like to host a roadshow in 2018  
Our Ramblers Roadshow programme for 2016-17 has just come to an end. Thanks to some great teamwork between staff and host area volunteers, we were able to meet an amazing 909 members and volunteers across 122 workshops at 12 events. Every participant went away with deeper knowledge of our charitable purpose and how we can work together to deliver our mission. Thank you to everyone who helped to host the roadshows and to everyone who attended.
 
It is time to plan our next round of roadshows, which we anticipate will run from April to September 2018. If you are interested in hosting a roadshow in your area, please get in touch with Ed Wilson, volunteering co-ordinator on volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com by 30 November. (NB. In Wales, Ramblers Cymru will be liaising directly with areas during the first week of November, to identify specific training needs so please contact catherine.morgan@ramblers.org.uk instead of Ed, if you are a Welsh area).  
 
The staff team will take care of the event logistics, including venues and registration. The role of the local area is to help to promote the roadshow and to co-ordinate a small team of volunteers to support the smooth running of the event on the day.
 
BBC Countryfile coverage - please let us know if we can support you with media requests

Earlier this month we were delighted to watch Ramblers’ volunteer Terry Howard and access expert Roly Smith, on BBC Countryfile, talking about the history of the access movement, the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers, and their book, Clarion Call: Sheffield’s Access Pioneers.
 
The Ramblers will feature on the programme once more this month so please do look out for us again on Sunday 22 October. Our policy manager, Adrian Harvey, will be appearing to put forward our views on proposals to call for a change in legislation (which would allow public rights of way to be temporarily diverted from fields containing livestock). Adrian has already been interviewed on this topic on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme, which you can listen to here until Tuesday 24 October (the feature is c.07 minutes, 40 seconds into the programme).
 
If you receive any significant interview requests or secure any major media opportunities - or would like some support in doing so - our press team would love to hear from you well in advance of any publication, press release, or air dates, so that we can work with you to ensure we gain maximum publicity for your area or group, and for the Ramblers as a whole. Please email press@ramblers.org.uk to let us know of any significant “new news” which you have on the horizon. The more we work as one team to collectively raise the profile of our work, the more people will become aware of what we do, and lend their support to our cause.

 
Stalling Busk – update on Ramblers gathering to mark historic launch of access fight 
Senior Ramblers met at the tiny Yorkshire Dales village of Stalling Busk earlier this month, where vice-president Janet Street-Porter unveiled a plaque to mark the Stalling Busk conference. This conference was a meeting of the Ramblers’ campaign planners in August 1996; those present agreed many of the principles in the draft Access Bill. This became the basis for the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, giving the public freedom to walk over mapped mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land. The event was organised by Mike Church and Keith Wadd of the West Riding area.
 
The 1996 meeting was held in the old school house at Stalling Busk, next door to a cottage owned by Jerry Pearlman, Ramblers’ former honorary solicitor and long-time member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, who drafted a prototype Access Bill. The plaque is on Jerry’s cottage. Unveiling the plaque, Janet Street-Porter said “There are three basic freedoms: the freedom to vote, the freedom to be equal, and the freedom to walk in as many places as possible. The 1996 meeting was a vital step in the Ramblers’ campaign towards the third of those freedoms”.
 
Kate Ashbrook, Ramblers’ vice-chair, who chaired the 1996 access meeting said  “The Countryside and Rights of Way Act was a major milestone in the campaign for greater freedom to roam - but the Ramblers’ job is not done. Whatever one thinks about Brexit, it is an opportunity to ensure that public subsidies for farmers and landowners include significant spending on public access to the lovely countryside of Yorkshire and beyond”. Paddy Tipping, the ex-Nottinghamshire MP who led the successful access campaign in Parliament added “The next campaign must be to secure greater rights for ordinary people to enjoy the land - this land is our land”.
 
Walking for Health - please note this progress update 

As mentioned in my July and August newsletters, we have been exploring the potential future direction of our English Walking for Health programme, once the current partnership with Macmillan comes to an end next April. We have taken feedback from a wide range of stakeholders including Walking for Health volunteers and co-ordinators, Ramblers area and group volunteers, staff and trustees, and other national organisations with an interest in physical activity through walking. I know that many of you have given us online and workshop input - for which we are very grateful - thank you.
 
The views of all our stakeholders, combined with survey results and a literature review, have helped us to create two diagrams which describe the desired outcomes for the future. The first diagram explains the benefits that a participant should experience and the factors that motivate them to try a walk in the first place… and then keep coming back. The second diagram outlines the services that the Ramblers aspire to put in place in the future - in principle, and subject to funding - to help local co-ordinators to organise a great local short walk programme. The diagrams and an accompanying narrative are available here. We will continue to keep you updated and if you have any queries or further input, please email rob.wallis@ramblers.org.uk.

 
Group and area survey - please look out for an update later this month

In June this year we shared the key findings from the survey which many of you completed earlier this year. The intention of this survey was to help us to better understand area and group volunteer infrastructure needs and to improve the mutual support which staff provide as a result. We promised to come back to you this month to let you know what improvements we believe we will be able to make as a result of your feedback. Please look out for an email to all area and group chairs and secretaries outlining our planned improvements. We’ll also be posting a news story in our volunteer zone after the email has gone out. If you have any queries or would like to give feedback on this email please email Susie Corfield, volunteering manager on susie.corfield@ramblers.org.uk.

 
Area Annual General Meetings (AGMs) - please let us know if you would like any staff support

We have been delighted to receive your area AGM forms back over the last few months. It has been fascinating to read about all the different plans which areas are currently making to maximise member attendance this year, and to attract new volunteers to these key meetings. Some areas are sending out personalised invitations, providing lunch or tea, running pre-AGM walks and offering transport to and from the AGM. Some areas have invited great external speakers from partner organisations such as national parks, local authorities, wildlife trusts, or even the town crier! If you would like support with speakers and/or a discussion on how to get more people involved in your AGM please contact the area support team via richard.sharp@ramblers.org.uk or visit our area toolkits on the Ramblers website.

 
General Council (GC) - hosting GC in 2019, registering your membership of the online forum and GC 2017 motions update

The board is inviting expressions of interest for any area considering hosting General Council in Spring 2019. The board will review all expressions of interest and select a venue at its meeting on 25 November. Submitting an expression of interest is a straight-forward process and involves completing a short form which is available here. Completed forms should be submitted by email to simon.kellas@ramblers.org.uk by Thursday 16 November and any questions directed to Simon in the interim.
 
As covered in previous newsletters, we are piloting a new online forum, for General Council delegates, trustees, area chairs, area secretaries and members of Welsh and Scottish Council executive committees. This forum was requested by General Council in 2016 and has been available for registration since May 2017. Many eligible volunteers have already registered and shared posts, on a variety of different topics, via the forum. If you have not yet registered and are keen to make contact with your colleagues you can do so here. Please remember that if you change your volunteer role you will need to let us know via volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com so that we are aware that you are entitled to be a member of the forum and are able to process your registration. 
 
At the General Council meeting in Southampton we promised to keep in touch through the year and provide a six-month update on the motions approved in April 2017. Ahead of the formal update - which will be provided as part of the general council papers for the 2018 meeting in Bangor - we have prepared a short report setting out some the work which has taken place around those motions since April. If you have any queries or would like to give any feedback on this report please email ceo@ramblers.zendesk.com

 
Casework - update on recent decisions at High Ham and Cavendish-Pentlow

We learned in August that despite carefully-argued objections from the Ramblers and other organisations (like the British Horse Society, with whom we were working), the Inspector, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has decided to confirm an order to delete a public right of way at High Ham in Somerset, on the basis that it must have been put on the definitive map by mistake. This is unfortunate as it is a picturesque and strategic route. Ramblers’ volunteer Stan Marriott had this path registered back in the 1950s, and we believe that the Inspector may have misapplied the law, effectively making the Ramblers prove the existence of the right of way when the evidence available in the 1950s is no longer available. We have taken a barrister’s opinion and have written a letter-before-action to the Government Legal Department asking them to consider whether the Inspector’s approach was correct.We will keep you updated.
 
On a brighter note, we have just won an ancient case in Suffolk-Essex that has been on our books for as long as the longest-serving members of staff can remember. A bridge on a footpath has been missing over the River Stour between Cavendish (Suffolk) and Pentlow (Essex) since the floods of 1947. The definitive map on the Essex side wrongly didn’t show the path connecting with the bridge: so the relevant councils declined to repair it. Volunteer John Andrews applied to have the map amended so as to give them the duty to replace the bridge, but Suffolk County Council gave it a very low a priority – and effectively sat on our application for 20 years. But now, 22 years after setting the formal procedures in motion, after much lobbying and several appeals to the Secretary of State, an Inspector has corrected the definitive map, so the path is now shown as connecting with the bridge, paving the way for a campaign to have the bridge restored after more than 70 years. Patience is indeed a virtue!

 
Walk leader checklist and ICE card - please note that the updated forms are now available

As I mentioned in my newsletter last month, we promised to have the updated Walk leader checklist and In Case of Emergency (ICE) cards with you this month, so that you can start to use the refreshed checklist and new ICE card. All walkers can fill in emergency contact details and important medical information on the ICE card, and carry it in an accessible place when out walking. Should anything happen, the walk leader or emergency services can then use the ICE card to quickly establish any medical conditions and emergency contacts. If you would like weatherproof copies of the checklist for your walk leaders and the ICE card for your walkers, please get in touch via volunteersupport@zendesk.ramblers.com. If you would like digital copies, you can download them from the Walk Leader toolkit.   

 
Sounding board for volunteering - please let us know if you would like to be involved

I also promised last month that I would provide further details in this newsletter about how you can formally put yourself forward to apply to be part of our volunteer sounding board. We’re looking for up to 12 volunteers, undertaking a variety of volunteering roles, across Great Britain. The sounding board will be asked to review each stage of the volunteer journey, as currently set out in Our approach to volunteeringThe sounding board will provide feedback on the extent to which the Ramblers currently meet the high standards we have set ourselves, and agree the most urgent priorities for developing and improving standards across our areas and groups.
 
The sounding board will also be asked to provide feedback on key new volunteer resources: on topics such as safeguarding, data protection, equalities and health and safety. The group will meet remotely by video conference approximately every two to three months, with some work carried out by email in between. If you would like to be involved please email Susie Corfield, volunteering manager, on susie.corfield@ramblers.org.uk or telephone 020 7663 8569 for more information.

 
An inspiring project to offer walks for carers

I mentioned last month that I had attended a walk at the popular Kent area White Cliffs Walking Festival, run by Les Preston and the White Cliffs group. The walk I went on was part of a pilot programme developed by Les, Sue Mott, Carers UK and supported by Sport England.

Carers are invited to join the Ramblers once a month for a relaxed, fun and sociable walk in the Kent countryside or along the coast. The idea is to help carers get fit, make friends, exchange stories or just soak up a few moments of peaceful contemplation in the midst of hectic lives. It was a moving and inspiring experience and following the walk Sport England has put together a wonderful film that captures why these walks are so inspiring. It's well worth a watch. 

 
Ramblers Cymru - thank you for helping us to get walkers voices heard in the access debate

The significant Welsh Government consultation which I have featured in the last three newsletters closed on the 30 September. Thank you to everyone who joined our campaign. We were delighted that over 2,400 people sent an e-letter to the Welsh Government backing our position, supporting some of the more welcome proposals (including the removal of the 2026 cut-off date for recording historic paths, a statutory code for access and a digital definitive map for Wales) and giving a strong voice to our concerns about the proposed wholesale opening up of the Welsh path network. We will keep you informed of developments.

 
Ramblers Scotland - find out more about our new Out There campaign 

As part of Ramblers Scotland’s new Out There campaign we held a social media celebration this month to say #ThanksForThePath to all the volunteers and groups who are improving Scotland’s path network. The response was excellent and showed just how much people value investment in paths. As mentioned in my September newsletter, Out There aims to encourage more Scots to appreciate Scotland’s amazing landscapes and world-class access rights. You can find out more at www.ramblers.org.uk/outthere.

 
 

 

   

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This page was last updated 25-11-17