Since my last Way Ahead we have had our Annual General Meeting. 2015/16 was another successful year. There was a good attendance at the meeting but I thought some of you unable to be present would be
interested in a few of the facts I presented.
We have 339 members. All supporting our aim of trying to ensure that the rights of way in our 13 parishes are in good order. Walking on our local paths is one important way of achieving this. Of course lots of you do this on your own and with friends and report any problems you find to us so we can try to resolve them. We also continue to
concentrate our April and October walks on routes in our local parishes.
The total number of miles offered in the years walks programme was 458 miles. About average for a year but this was 41 miles more than than the previous year.
Most of the planned walks took place despite some adverse weather conditions.
Attendance on walks has been good. Usually the longer the walk the fewer the number of walkers. On a 4-5mile walk we get about 20 walkers. A nice number. It would be difficult to cope if even 20% of
our walkers turned up for the same walk. They never have. The walk to our Trig Point at Whitefield Plantation usually attracts the largest numbers. This is because the walk is short, short cuts can be taken and because it is a social occasion giving an
opportunity to meet up with friends and the chance to enjoy some refreshments. The Society provides some nibbles and drinks but additional contributions from members are always appreciated. I hope to see lots of you on this walk or at the trig point.
The Health Walks Programme is proving popular, particularly in Fordingbridge. A number of our members are walk leaders, as are others. Much of the credit for the success must go to Craig Daters of the
New Forest National Park. The programme has certainly moved forward since we planned and waymarked (with a heart logo) some Health Walks routes. These routes are likely to be re waymarked soon with a new and different logo.
Walking is a popular pass time and seems to becoming more popular. There are now local (Hampshire) and national walking strategies. The popularity brings problems.
You may have read or seen reports about paths wearing away because of excessive use. This is of particular concern on the routes to the 3 Peaks, and Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike. I don't think
many of our members are tackling these routes but there certainly are erosion problems elsewhere. There is also land slippage on coastal paths. A lot of work to remedy problems is needed with limited resources. Rights of Way Officers often have to seek out and apply for funding from a number of sources and make a "special" case. A difficult and time consuming task for Sam Jones and his HCC team.
At last summer seems to have arrived.