I reported in the last issue on the Rolling Review
carried out by our volunteer members during 2016 and shortly afterwards I received the first
report from this years Review! Most of our reviewers are extremely dedicated to the task they have volunteered to do but I must confess I do not fall into this category and am usually the last person to complete mine.
The report I have already received was mainly on one of our commons so, as expected, the paths were well used but the usual lack of signposting at roads was again the major problem to be reported. We now seem to be getting a quicker response to signposting problems and hope this continues.
HCC have finished the work at Sandleheath on the paths through Sandle Copse and we look forward to having a look at the improvements soon. Alas I have no further news on Fordingbridge Footpath 78b to Puddleslosh Lane, nor on Ringwood Footpath 38 at St. Andrews Lodge.
By the time you receive this copy of Waymark, the very awkward stiles on the path between Ibsley and Gorley Commons, from Chibdens Farm at South Gorley going north across Huckles Brook, should at long last have been replaced by gates. HCC Rights of Way are supplying the gates and a small group of our members will be installing them before the end of the month.


Memories of Max

A year ago we lost our chocolate Labrador. He was one of a long line of canine members of the
RFFS! Max was three when he came to live with
us, an energetic, lovable character who adored
everyone & everything edible. In fact, his only dislike in life was celery!!
He joined us for the Rolling Reviews each year and helped find the way on many "reccy" walks as he always headed for the next style or gate along the route. As he got warmed up he wallowed in every available muddy stream and puddle covering twice the distance needed.
He tolerated the Summer Shows, but, the edible pickings made up for sitting in the Gazebo. Ellingham was acceptable as our pitch was always next to a cheese stall!
The excitement was tangible when Max realised
a group was gathering. Unfortunately, not always an RFFS group. If he saw a line of walkers in the forest, his ears pricked up and he was off to join returning very reluctantly when called back.




This will give a stile free route between the two Commons.
Other Landowners in our area are discussing the possibility of installing gates to replace awkward stiles or other diffcult obstructions and this will no doubt involve more work for our volunteers.
Now is the time of year when we will begin to get problems with seasonal growth. HCC do not
have the resources to keep all paths clear but they do endeavour to work on the major paths in
agreement with the Parish Councils. The Parish
Councils are also using their lengthsman to keep other paths clear.
All users can also do their bit to help so please, if you attempt to use a gate or stile where light
growth such as nettles is present, please try at least to tread it down. A big thank you for those of you that carry hand pruners when you go out
walking as keeping the light growth back early
prevents it becoming a major problem later in the year.
Enjoy your time walking this summer but please remember to report any path problems you come across to me and do not worry that you may be
duplicating a report as this is far better than having no report of the problem at all.

               Kelvin Winch - Footpath Secretary



To his annoyance, there was always a pause prior to a walk for the leader to say a few words.
Max usually interrupted in his urgency to get going. He did like to lead, but was always anxious if there were any stragglers. Coffee and lunch stops made the day as apple cores came in his direction, he always returned to the area in search of crumbs!
Was he always perfectly behaved? NO! His acute sense of smell was overwhelming if there was a "tasty" unmentionable morsel in the undergrowth or a deer to chase. Memorably on a very cold day he vanished, after a fruitless search he was found sitting in front of the fire in a nearby cottage!
The years took their toll, even the weekday walks became too much. When his back legs gave way once too often, his time had come.
Hopefully there will be other well behaved four
legged honorary members of the RFFS in future

                                            Julie Whiteing


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