Ringwood & Fordingbridge Footpath Society

         Details of the RFFS annual general meetings



The next Annual General Meeting will be held at Greyfriars, Ringwood on 20th March 2017


Minutes of the Ringwood & Fordingbridge Footpath Society 42nd  AGM – March 14th 2016

Gina Logan, John & Janet Shering, John & Elaine Mawhinney, Sandie Bradshaw, Keith & Pat Davis, Christine Pope, Robin Hardie, Joy Tosdevein, David Knapp

The minutes of the AGM on 16th March 2015 were accepted.

Matters Arising:
There were no matters arising.

Chairman's Report - See attached.

Footpath Matters - See attached.

Rowan Brockhurst thanked Ruth Croker for her work as Chairman and Kelvin & Hazel Winch for all they do for the Society.

Treasurers Report:
The accounts were presented. The end of year surplus was £441.79 and our assets stand at £5302, giving us a healthy position. We received a donation of £250 from Ellingham, Harbridge & Ibsley Parish Council to assist with our work and a further £173 from other donations, including Ramblers Holidays. Evening meetings are still running at a slight loss.
The committee proposed that subscriptions and fees for evening meetings remain unchanged for this year.
Acceptance of fees was proposed by Rowan Brockhurst and seconded by Patrick Whiteing. All were in agreement with no dissentions.
Acceptance of the accounts was proposed by Rowan Brockhurst and seconded by Patrick Whiteing. All were in agreement with no dissensions.
The Chairman thanked the Treasurer and Auditor.

Election of Officers:
All Officers and Committee members were re-elected unopposed, save for Elaine Mawhinney who stood down.
Catherine Avery-Jones was proposed as a committee member by Hazel Winch seconded by Patrick Whiteing and was duly elected..

Any Other Business:
The Chairman reported that there are 3 possible visits this summer, one to Down Farm Museum on Friday 3rd June at 10am - To be confirmed, another to an Open Day at Ann Seviers Farm in late May/early June and a third to the Iblsey Airfield sites when the ground is drier.
The Chairman asked for more to come forward to lead walks.
The Chairman asked for members to propose and organise social events.
From 2015 onwards, Hampshire Countryside Access Plan will be available on line.
Under the scheme Our Past, Our Future New Forest Connect funding of £4.5m has been obtained from the Heritage Lottery Fund and others and is to be used for landscape projects of which 20 have already been identified.
Refreshments were followed by an informative presentation by the Chairman on recent works done by and the structure of the HCC Countryside Team.

CHAIRMANS REPORT February 2015 -2016

This last year has once again been a busy one for The Ringwood and Fordingbridge Footpath Society. We have continued to try to ensure that the rights of way network in our 13 parishes are in good order.
Of course we have also continued to take an interest in our neighbouring areas in the New Forest National Park and in the parishes of Dorset and Wiltshire on our boundary. We are only doing footpath "work" in our 13 parishes but of course we walk over the boundary.
We have continued to take an interest in national matters relevant to our Society.
This includes:
The "Right to Apply" Bill now passed by Parliament which should simplify the way of dealing with some rights of way problems. Hopefully government guidance on its implementation will be available in April.


Our total membership at 31.12.15 was 339 (107 family memberships and 115 single).
This is a net loss of 19 members.

Footpath Secretary Report      Kelvin Winch.

Walks Programme.
We have produced a walks programme offering a total of 458 miles. (Only 417 miles in 2015 but 508 miles in 2012). It has been a struggle to put a programme together because of reluctance of members to lead walks and because Elaine Mawhinney whom we co-opted as Programme Secretary in 2014 found it difficult to carry out the role due to illness and bereavement. My thanks to other who have helped to produce the walks programme, particularly to Kelvin Winch.
We know that walking our paths is a good way of helping to keep them in good order. It means we noticed and report problems early and sometimes remedy the problem ourselves before leading others on the route. Our April and October walks continue to include some paths in our 13 parishes.
Few walks have been cancelled because of the weather but we have encountered a lot of mud and some water. The weather has necessitated extra recces by leaders and sometimes resulted in changes which may have shortened or lengthened the planned walk.
Finding suitable car parking places from which to start a walk is difficult. For this reason we seem to use some start places a lot.  It does not mean we always do the same walk.
The Health Walks Programme.
Craig Daters a Ranger of the New Forest National Park has taken over responsibility for this and the programme is expanding. At least 70 people have signed up for Fordingbridge walks. There is a programme from Blashford Lakes and the Ringwood programme is being expanded. A number of our members are acting as walk leaders.

Julie Whiteing has written articles for local publications and from comments I know many locals read them and appreciate our work. We had our "stand" at the summer shows in Fordingbridge, Ellingham and Frogham.
This January I took some of our publicity material to the National Park Volunteer Fair in Lyndhurst. There was a lot of interest but most of the prospective volunteers were not local to us. I am hoping John Cartwright will be able to make use of their talents.
Walk Leaflets written by us continue to be sold.

David Knapp continues to manage this and its use is increasing.

Email Alert System.
This is a good way of communicating with members. If you have an email address do sign up. It is particularly useful for informing people of any walk changes. Barry Thornton gets messages out in a very timely manner.

This continues to be produced quarterly. Our editor Charles Sexton is always pleased to receive contributions from members.

We had less events than in previous years.
The Trig Point Walk took place. Our inspection showed the Trig Point to be in good ordered having been recently painted by Janice Thomas.
We had an enjoyable cream tea and talk about the murals in Woodgreen Village Hall.
The Christmas meal/party was in a different format which was successful. I think everyone enjoyed the evening.
We had a talks programme monthly in the winter with interesting and informative speakers.
We participated in the Greyfriars Challenge Quiz but were unsuccessful.
Group holiday. Only 3 people showed interest in this so the idea is not being progressed.
If more social events are wanted it is important that people come forward to organise them.

I continue to represent walking through a number of channels.
New Forest Access Forum
Hampshire Area Council of the Ramblers Association.
New Forest National Park Recreation Advisory Group.
PATHH - Providing Access to Hampshire s Heritage

Other Matters.
England Coast Path - work has started on planning the route on the coast of the New Forest National Park.
HCC Countryside Service have had another reorganisation and further reduction in staff during the year. My thanks to Sam Jones and John Cartwright for their hard work. Our rights of way are in a far better state than those in many parts of the country.

To the Officers and Committee.
Rowan Brockhurst - President, Vice Chairman and Assistant Footpath Secretary.
Kelvin Winch - Footpath Secretary. This role includes organising rolling review, BVPI reporting problems to HCC and carrying out path clearance and waymarking.
Hazel Winch - Honorary Secretary including Waymark distribution.
   (Both Hazel and Kelvin have helped with many other tasks especially with the organisation of social events.)
Tricia Holloway - Honorary Treasurer
David Knapp - Auditor and Website Manager.
Marlene Sexton - Membership Secretary.
Charles Sexton - Editor.
Julie Whiteing - Publicity
David Seymour - organiser of the tea and coffee making at our evening meetings.
Elaine Mawhinney - Programme Secretary.

All of the above have worked hard during the year on matters related to our Society.
All but Elaine are standing for re election.

My thanks also to Barry Thornton for managing the Email Alert System.
Also all walk leaders and those of you who have contributed to Waymark and those of you who have delivered copies.

Ruth Croker.

Footpath Matters

I am sure that most of us regard this last year as one of the wettest they can remember and the extensive flooding in many parts of the country would seem to confirm this. We have had to cancel a number of walks due to the weather conditions and on those that have gone ahead we have encountered considerably more mud than I can remember.
However on checking our records I found that we have had very few instances of paths within our parishes being impassable due to flooding, unlike 2012 when a large number were impassable. I can't explain this contradiction in observations perhaps others may have an explanation.Now that spring seems to be arriving we can perhaps enjoy our walks with less disruption.
As we state each year we are a Society created for the preservation of Rights of Way and one of the best ways of doing this is to continue using them and encouraging others to do so. I would like to point out to those who may not be aware of what our Rolling Review entails, when each year we survey all the Rights of Way in a third of our thirteen parishes. We rely on a dedicated team of volunteers who give up a considerable amount of their time each summer to walk a number of allocated paths and make detailed notes on the condition of them, such as the adequacy of signage, the state of the surface and any overgrowth, any problems with gates, stiles or even animals. Using the information the volunteers provide we attempt to get problems rectified either by reporting them to HCC and/or the landowner, arranging for other volunteers to clear obstructions and in the case of signage problems affixing the small round Waymark signs. I must confess that so far this year we have been somewhat lacking in applying Waymarks.

Although the number of path problems is still very large, this year's survey recorded a 15% drop in the number of problem paths compared to when we last surveyed the same parishes.

I think we all owe a great deal to this small group of volunteers, without their help I am sure that the state of the path network would deteriorate.

We have had two major problems resolved in the last year:-

1. Hyde Footpath 740 alongside the Chapel at Stuckton, which had been washed away The work on this was completed shortly after the last AGM.

2.  Fordingbridge Footpath 97 near Fordingbridge Church which has been a long standing problem due to badger activity. Ruth will have more to say on this path and on the New Bridge just off Ellingham drove on Footpath 703.

There is still a temporary closure on Fordingbridge Footpath 78b off Puddleslosh Lane and there is now a major problem with a bridge on Fordingbridge Footpath 56 part of the AVP, but as this is a long distance path it is a high priority problem for HCC.

Over the last few months I have been involved in the production of the Walks Programme, not something I wish to continue with for more than this summer.  Catherine Avery-Jones has volunteered to act as Programme Secretary in future but she is very committed to other voluntary activities this summer and will then be available to take up the duties. Pat Whiteing, who performed sterling work as the Programme Secretary for many years, has agreed to help this summer and to assist Catherine in taking over the role.

I am sure Ruth will be offering thanks to Elaine for the work she has done as Programme Secretary.

Please continue to enjoy walking Rights of Way both in our parishes and elsewhere, but remember to report to me any problems that you encounter in our parishes.
                                                                                                                                                               Kelvin Winch


Date of the next AGM:  17th March 2017