Friday, 25 November 2011

Melbourne Footpaths Group

If you are interested in being involved with a group that is concerned with maintaining, repairing and promoting the Melbourne footpath network please contact Barry Thomas via the Contacts Us page here.

This will not be a walking group but a practical one to clear paths, repair stiles, erect signs and way-mark paths. The aim is to emulate the work of the highly successful Findern Footpaths Group here. Members will be expected to walk a number of paths twice a year to check on their condition (Melbourne has 37) and report back to the group.

The first meeting will be held early in January 2012.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Open Spaces Society announces Awards Scheme

The Open Spaces Society has launched its first Open Space Award.

The society is inviting applicants who can demonstrate an activity that protects, increases, enhances and champions common land, town and village greens, open spaces and public paths in England and Wales, and the public’s right to enjoy them.

Details are on the society’s website at or phone 01491 573535, and applications must be submitted by 31 January 2012. A national panel of judges will make a shortlist and visit those sites. The winning project will be announced at the society’s AGM on 10 July.

Jean Macdonald, the society’s vice-chairman, said: ‘We want to hear about the good things people are doing which support our aims of protecting, increasing, enhancing and championing open spaces and public paths anywhere in England or Wales.

‘If you’ve got a good story to tell, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, why not submit a proposal? You may have created or improved a path or an open space, or saved it from destruction. We hear so many horror stories about open spaces being developed and paths being gated or lost, but we know that there are lots of good things happening too. It would be great to be able to publicise your successes and show what can be done.’

Monday, 2 May 2011

New Posts Everywhere

Derbyshire CC seems to have been very busy erecting new signs in South Derbyshire. Some of these signs have been missing for many years so this will greatly help new walkers in the area. At Ingleby today I spotted this handsome new bridleway sign. It makes very clear who has access to the route!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A lovely half day in the Pistern Hills

A beautiful sunny day to revisit a path not used for many years. I took the Arriva 61 bus to Ticknall Top Farm and ambled along Staunton Lane to the footpath beyond White Hollows Farm. The path climbs through a tiny wood, past Heath Farm to the top of the Pistern Hills. Not high but great views back to Ticknall and Calke. Also an ideal spot for eating your lunch. Not a soul on the whole walk. From there I made my way around the top of Smisby and on to Hartshorne. The valley between these two villages is one of the hidden gems of South Derbyshire. In Hartshorne I caught the bus back to Melbourne. A perfect half day's walk.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Save Our Forests: Countryside Alliance - Deafening Silence

Quote from the Countryside Alliance's website:

"The Countryside Alliance works for everyone who loves the countryside and the rural way of life. Our aim is to protect and promote life in the countryside and to help it thrive. With the highest membership levels since 2006, we are the only organisation working across such a broad range of issues."

Despite this manifesto I can't find anything about their attitude to the forest sell off plans and so called consultation. Lot's on their website about hunting and shooting but nothing about the preservation of what's left of our public forests. Their declaration that they work "for everyone who loves the countryside" seems very hollow indeed!

I have now found an article on their website. Unfortunately it seems to have been written by DEFRA.

Reform of Public Forestry Estate

Monday, 14 February 2011

Save Our Forests: Alice Holt Protest

Excellent video from the protest meeting yesterday at Alice Holt Forest, Surrey.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Save Our Forests: Cameron Confused at PMQs

New Forest Hampshire
From today's Guardian, more misinformation from the Government:

Here is a statement. "The idea that all Forestry Commission forests are open to the public and do not charge is simply not true," said the prime minister. "Many forests, such as the New Forest, are not owned by the Forestry Commission and have much better access, no parking charges and very good records on habitat. While we are having this consultation, we should bust some of the myths that have been put around about this idea."

And here, by way of contrast, is another statement. "In 1924 the management of the New Forest passed to the Forestry Commission under the Forestry (Transfer of Woods) Act, 1923 and became vested in the Minister of Agriculture rather than the Sovereign."

Someone made a fool of themselves in the Commons this week, we think. We think it was Dave.

Hugh Muir - Guardian 11 02 2011

The BBC clip is here:

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Save Our Forests: Jonathon Porritt is on the Nail!

Why have the environmental NGOs been so slow to counter the Forestry Sale proposals in the Public Bodies Bill?

Jonathon Porritt discusses this issue on his blog and more besides. Stimulating reading.


Save Our Forests: Open Spaces Society response

Robin Wood sunset February 2011

The Open Spaces Society has published a set of safeguards for the public forest estate in England which will ensure open access to the forests which might be sold off. Of course I would prefer nothing to be sold off and the whole proposals (clauses 17 to 19) to be dropped from the Public Bodies Bill.

They have written to MPs urging them to advocate these safeguards in the debate.

All these safeguards must be satisfied before the sale of Forestry Commission woods and forests happen.

All land should be offered first to a charity or community group, together with the guarantee of sufficient funds for that organisation and its successors to manage it in perpetuity, for its access, biodiversity and landscape qualities.

Before any Forestry Commission land is sold, the prospective purchaser must sign an agreement, legally-binding in perpetuity, to:

1. retain and manage the land as woodland and not allow it to be developed for any other purpose,

2. where there are legal rights of access, maintain and increase these, adding rights for riders and cyclists wherever appropriate,

3. where there are no legal rights of access, dedicate the land so that there are permanent rights of access throughout the wood or forest for walkers, riders and cyclists,

4. welcome informal access, free of charge, at all times.

Says general secretary, Kate Ashbrook: "These are tough tests, but they are absolutely essential if our forests and woodlands are to continue to provide inspiration, refreshment and recreation for the public, as well being a vital component of the landscape and habitat for wildlife. Nothing less is acceptable."