Newsletter November 2018
So much has been happening since the last Newsletter, not least a most glorious summer! The Network Rail Public Inquiry is now well under way and I know a number of you have been along to one or more of the hearings. Gordon Bird has, of course, been very involved; please see his comments below. If we lose the battle, we also lose many of our footpaths, or have to follow unfavourable diversions. This could also be the case with the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, which will have serious repercussions for our countryside. Again, there are plenty of opportunities for you to find out more and give your views, using this link lowerthamescrossing.co.uk/haveyoursay At a mobile information unit recently I was told that suitable crossings would be installed “where practicable”. Maybe I’m just an old cynic but I somehow couldn’t imagine many crossings that they would find were “practicable” . . .
On a happier note, we have had some developments on Committee. Mike Wheatley has kindly agreed to take over as Tuesday Walks Secretary and Les Cox is going into semi-retirement. As you all know, Les has been an absolute stalwart of Brentwood Ramblers for many years, man and boy, but he’s not hanging up his boots just yet. He will now be organising slower, shorter walks once a month on Saturdays. Mike has already managed to encourage 2 new leaders to come forward, so welcome to Brian Lloyd and John Gregory on the forthcoming programme.
We have also been looking at introducing a Facebook page for Brentwood Ramblers, or should I say Steve Johnson has! I’d like to thank him for all his hard work and I think it will prove to be an important way of advertising our group and increasing membership. Steve has also kindly agreed to become part of the Committee.
Lorraine Hayward has decided to stand down from Committee but I’m pleased to say she has offered to continue as assistant to Brian Scroggs with the Mailchimps when necessary. On behalf of everyone, I’d like to thank Lorraine for all she has contributed over the past few years.
And last but by no means least, my 3 years as Chair finishes in November. I haven’t quite been injured in the rush to replace me, nor even slightly bruised, but I am delighted to announce that Geoff Sharman has kindly agreed to stand for election at the AGM. He is a very efficient and effective Committee member at present and has the full support of the rest of the Committee. Do come along to the AGM if you possibly can. As well as keeping up-to-date with what’s happening, it’s also a really nice social event pre-Christmas with, this year, wine and mince pies.
Mailchimps are sent out to give information to all members, often at short notice. Please note that no-one should Reply to these emails. They are always sent on behalf of an organiser/leader, so any queries should be directed to that person only. Your co-operation is much appreciated.
Incident Report Forms
If you are leading a walk and there is an incident that should be reported, such as an injury to one of the group, please make sure you complete an Incident Report Form available from Ramblers website. Don’t forget to take as many details as possible at the time from all those involved. And it is advisable for all leaders to have at least a basic First Aid kit.
For further details on the Network Rail Public Inquiry go to http://essex-level-crossings.persona-pi.com/
Your support at any of these locations will be welcome. All crossings have been inspected by Ramblers in preparation for the Inquiry; in many cases we were accompanied by our barrister, Merrow Golden.
Footpath 45 Herongate Diversion Order
An Order to divert FP45 which presently runs through Button Farm next to the A128 Herongate was confirmed on 15 August. The landowner now has 90 days from this date to execute the Order and bring the diversion into public use. Unfortunately the diversion is obstructed by a large sign next to the A128 advertising Button Farm products. I have reported this to Essex County Council.
Public Rights of Way 32, 110, 176, 177 Warley - Diversion Orders
Essex County Council intend to make Orders to divert these paths. They presently cross land at Hole Farm and Codham Hall, Warley. It is a complex proposal and involves diversion as well as the creation of a new bridleway. At present Footpaths 176 and 177 are impassable. They are obstructed by buildings and security fences in several places and the paths have been 'tarmaced' as part of a development to provide extensive parking/standing areas for both commercial and passenger vehicles.
Re PROW110 Path Order
FP110 runs in an easily navigable east/west line between Great Warley Street (B186) and a bridleway that crosses the M25. It provides quiet, peaceful and safe walking conditions and affords superb views over the Thames Valley. It is also a key link in the PROW network for walkers wishing to travel between Havering and Brentwood country parks (e.g. Thorndon).
The proposed diversion is long and complicates navigation - detouring south before turning north, doglegging a field, then eastwards to Great Warley Street, then northwards alongside The Street. There is a loss of amenity and pleasure for walkers - lost views and vehicle noise from the busy Great Warley Street. This proposed diversion conflicts with Essex CC Public Right of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) - it degrades the PROW network.
I have therefore objected to these Orders on behalf of Ramblers.
FP32 Warley - Diversion Order
At present Footpath 32 runs in an easily navigable straight southwest-northeast line and enables single and groups of walkers safe passage to Footpaths 112/113 located nearby on Little Warley Common.
The proposed diversion complicates navigation by including a longer dog leg path around a field before entering Bird Lane. Bird Lane is a 'rat run' for vehicles using the B186 Warley Street. The Lane is narrow and includes vehicle-passing bays without a footway. Walkers, particularly groups and those with limited mobility, are therefore exposed to risks of accidents and interference from vehicles - unlike the present definitive path.
This proposed diversion conflicts with Essex CC Public Right of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP). It degrades the PROW network, adds to the problem of linking footpaths to busy roads and does not contribute to reducing the number of killed and seriously injured road casualties; it is likely to do the opposite.
For these reasons I have objected to the diversion on behalf of Ramblers
Byway 164 Hulletts Lane
As reported previously a stile on a footpath adjoining this byway had been deliberately smashed and subsequently blocked by barbed wire. During the last month our Brentwood maintenance team replaced the stile. Well done to Miles and his team!
Footpath Working Party
On the fine morning of July 2, we were working on the footpath clearance on 273 - 5 behind some houses, Doddinghurst. A very kind couple came out of their house and offered us a welcoming cold drink. We had a pleasant chat with the lovely couple and needless to say the topic was about walking.
At a later date near The Viper, Mill Green, we did some path signage and put in a waymarker post after the old one has rotted away at the base. A farmer who owns a stile off Hullet's Lane, (Brentwood 272 - 164) had to get it replaced after it was vandalised. We were asked by Essex County Council to install it after the farmer wanted someone else to do the job, which we did on August 20.
On 3 September the footpath nearby Dawes Farm (Ingatestone and Fryerning 274-26) was cleared by our volunteers after a good morning's work.
We did some path clearance (Blackmore 271 - 19) at Hook End on 10 September. Fortunately, there were 8 volunteers to complete the work a fortnight later, in time for a walk along this path with 34 ramblers.
Rambles Secretaries’ Notes
Sundays/Bank Holiday Mondays – Colin Banner
As the weather now changes and the evenings draw in we can reflect on what was an exceptional summer, some may say too hot, and happy mud-free walks!
On the next programme most of the Sunday walks are closer to home to avoid longer trips to Suffolk and Kent during the winter months and also include a few London walks to add variety and be mud-free. Particularly look out for Lorraine’s London walk on 16 December which will take in the Xmas lights and have a later start time of 2.15 but be only approximately 8 miles to embrace this.
As usual thanks to all the leaders who have again volunteered for the next programme.
Tuesdays – Les Cox
I wondered how easy, or otherwise, this winter programme would be to fill but with 2 new leaders and the return of some who haven’t led in a while, it has gone OK.
This is my last Tuesday programme, so please give your assistance to Mike Wheatley who has agreed to take over. Many thanks for your help with this part of the programme over the last 10 years. I will be putting together a once-a-month slower, shorter Saturday walk in conjunction with the regular programme.
Wednesday Evenings – Frankie Carpenter
The wonderful summer weather meant that Wednesday evening walks were well attended this year averaging about 17, many more than the previous year. We also attracted some new walkers and several people from other Ramblers groups. The only evening when there was any significant rain was the final one when we walked from Southend to Leigh-on-Sea in heavy rain but no one seemed to mind too much!
We have decided to simplify the start times next year to 7.00 or 7.30 depending on the length of daylight and start at the beginning of May to avoid clashing with the trip away. Thank you to all the leaders who gave us a great variety of walks.
Saturdays – Dianne Ingram
What a lovely summer we had and hopefully it will continue into the autumn.
We have seen some new faces and our Saturday mornings continue to be very sociable occasions with a regular number going for a pub lunch after the event. I have heard it said that the pub is the main attraction!!
Many thanks to all of you who valiantly offer to lead for us! Very much appreciated.
On the next programme of walks (December 2018 to March 2019), there will be an additional Saturday Walk aimed at people who feel that 5-6 miles is too long, or find the pace of the half day walk too fast. They will also be suitable for people who need to build up their stamina or simply just want to try walking with our group.
In December, the Slower/Easier walk will be on the 8th and in January to March, they will be on the first Saturday of the Month. The length of these walks will be aproximately 4 miles.