On Saturday 18 May the Society celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a memorable lunch at The Old Beams, Ibsley.

Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary  of the Open Spaces Society was the Guest of Honour and the speaker for the event.  The OSS posted the following  article on their Facebook page.

‘The Ringwood & Fordingbridge Footpath Society (RFFS) is a vital eyes and ears on the ground in this part of Hampshire, adjacent to the New Forest.’  So said Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary, speaking at the lunch in Ibsley to celebrate the RFFS’s 50th anniversary on Saturday (18 May).

‘The RFFS has been a member of the OSS for most of its existence, and we have valued the symbiotic relationship, with the RFFS providing intelligence and local knowledge about path and access issues, and the OSS giving national insight and support.

‘It is more essential than ever that we defend our paths from obstruction, neglect, and development and the role of RFFS in opposing anti-public path changes and undertaking practical work to improve paths and keep them open is significant.’

Kate paid special tribute to founder and president Rowan Brockhurst, who served as the society’s local correspondent for the New Forest district from 1986 to 2003.  ‘Rowan has spearheaded many campaigns and was instrumental in the creation of the Avon Valley Path between Salisbury and the sea at Christchurch,’ said Kate.

‘He was responsible for rescuing the seat in memory of the OSS’s founder, Lord Eversley, on Hightown Common, moving it further from the A31 and arranging for its refurbishment[1].  This was typical of his persistence and attention to detail which has been of such value to the RFFS.’

‘With paths and access under threat of development, and local authorities facing austerity, the efforts of local campaigning organisations such as RFFS in defending our rights increases in importance’, said Kate.  ‘All strength to the RFFS for the next 50 years.’

[1] When the OSS founder, Lord Eversley, died in 1928 the society bought Hightown Common in his memory, to save it from development, and gave it to the National Trust, together with a memorial seat designed by architect Elisabeth Scott.  When the A31 was widened in the 1960s, the seat (which was close to the road) fell into disrepair.  In the 1990s Rowan Brockhurst led the campaign to move it away from the road and refurbish it, and in 2010 again arranged for its refurbishment.

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About us

The Ringwood and Fordingbridge Footpath Society was formed in 1974 to protect the interests of users of public paths by ensuring (a) their reasonable maintenance and freedom from obstruction and (b) their adequate signposting and waymarking. It aims to urge local authorities to discharge their responsibilities with regard to public paths and seeks to foster and maintain friendly cooperation between path users, landowners, local authorities and the community generally. We participate with Councils in surveying, improving and maintaining local paths and devising healthy walks and many other circular walking routes which are published in leaflet form.

The Society's area is made up of thirteen parishes and covers about 160 square kilometres of greatly varied countryside ranging from quiet water meadows to high wind-blown common, from the edge of the New Forest to the borders of Cranborne Chase. A variety of flora and fauna including deer may be seen and within the New Forest, grazing ponies, cattle, donkeys, sheep and pigs may be met. Although we are essentially a footpath protection organisation, we believe that the best way of maintaining the network in good order is to make good and regular use of it.

The Society provides a comprehensive programme of guided walks and social events throughout the year that are published in “Waymark”, the quarterly magazine that is sent out free to all members. This magazine is also available on our website.

Newcomers to the area, prospective new members and visitors are very welcome to join us for walks in these delightfully varied parts of Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. Many of our walks take place on the rights of way in our 13 parishes in an area of wonderfully contrasting scenery, from the New Forest to the rolling chalk downlands. We also venture to other areas such as the coastline of Dorset and the rural landscapes of southern Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire.

Welcome to the website of the Ringwood and Fordingbridge Footpath Society. Newcomers to the area, prospective new members and visitors are very welcome to join us for walks in these delightfully varied parts of Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. Our walks normally take place in an area of wonderfully contrasting scenery, from the New Forest to the rolling chalk downlands and coastline of Dorset and the rural landscapes of southern Wiltshire.




Find out where the scheduled guided walks will be by downloading Waymark NOW or go to our Events page


"Waymark" is the quarterly newsletter of the RFFS. It is published in March, June, September and December.  Click here to contact the editor for more information about submitting articles and photos. 













Regular copies of this newsletter are sent to Members.  Would you like to join us?  Just CLICK HERE to download the Application for Membership, print it out, fill it in and send it to our Membership Secretary either on-line or by post, the addresses are on the form.  You can send payment for £4 for a single member or £6 for family membership on-line by BACS or with a posted cheque.  

Photo on walk from Abbotswell to Dur Hill © D Knapp 2012

If or when you manage to go on any of the scheduled walks on the Events page or our NEW self-guided walks, please feel free to post photos or comments up on our FACEBOOK PAGE. It is lovely to stay connected and exchange news about how much exercise and good fun we all have.  Facebook is, after all, a way of keeping in touch with one another. 

Rowan Brockhurst (President and founding member), Bill Morley (Chairman), Kate Ashbrook and Kelvin Winch (Mebership secretary)

Helena Day (former society secretary) Rowan Brockhurst, Kate Ashbrook, Ruth Croker (former Chairman) and Graham New (founding member of RFFS)