Annual General Meeting
Saturday 4th February 2012
At 10am for 10.30am
To be hosted by Alde Valley Group and held at:
Sizewell Sports and Social Club
King George's Avenue, Leiston, Suffolk, IP16 4JX
Grid Reference: TM455624
A12 from the North – Turn left off the A12 at Yoxford onto the B1122
(sign posted Leiston). In 5 miles before entering Leiston, turn into
Lovers Lane (brown tourist sign post to Sizewell Beach). In just over a
mile turn right into King Georges Avenue (sign posted Leiston). Venue
on left just after level crossing.
A12 from the South- Turn right off A12 just past Farnham onto A1094
(sign posted Aldburgh, Knodishall & Thorpeness). In another 2¾ miles
just after a brown tourist sign leading ahead to Sizewell beach turn right
into Cross Street. Continue ahead and over traffic lights for ¾ mile to
venue on right just before level crossing.
Annual General Meeting - Saturday, 4th February
To be held at Sizewell Sports and Social Club
King George’s Avenue, Leiston, Suffolk, IP16 4JX
Programme for the day
10:00 Assemble [Coffee and Tea available]
10:30 Annual General Meeting
12:15 approx Lunch. Bring packed lunch, coffee and tea
13:00 approx Walk lead by Alde Valley Group
1. Welcome and apologies for absence
2. Minutes of Annual General Meeting held on 5th February 2011
3. Matters arising from the Minutes
4. Presentation and acceptance of the Annual Report
5. Presentation and acceptance of the Accounts for the previous year
6. Election of Chairman
7. Election of Officers
8. Election of Representatives of Affiliated Societies and Individual
9. Appointment of General Council Delegates
10. Appointment of Independent Examiner
11. Consideration of motions for Area Council, notice of which shall
have been given to the Secretary
12. Recommendations to Area Council or Groups and motions for next
13. Any other business (time permitting)
¹There is provision for one delegate to represent affiliated
organisations and one for individual members. Both positions
There are currently three affiliated societies to the Suffolk
Area, namely Suffolk Rambling Group, Saxmundham Rambling
Group and Ipswich Natural History Group.
Following the AGM:
A talk by Owen Plunkett, a member of the EC/Board of Trustees
since 2004, Hampshire Area’s publicity officer and current
chairman, a keen campaigner with particular interests in the
environment and countryside protection.
RAMBLERS' ASSOCIATION SUFFOLK AREA
The Minutes of the Annual General Meeting
Saturday 5th February 2011 at 10.30am
at Moulton Village Hall, Moulton, Newmarket, Suffolk
hosted by Newmarket and District Group
1. Welcome and Apologies for absence
Newmarket Group Chairman Brian Milner welcomed 38 members, including
guest speaker Rodney Whittaker (RA Board of Trustees), to the 2011 Annual
General Meeting of the Suffolk Area of the Ramblers’ Association, which was
then chaired by Area Chairman, Jim Richards.
Apologies for absence were received from Trad Buck, John and Sheila
Beamish and Norman Jennings.
Jim Richards thanked Newmarket Group for hosting the AGM and John
Morris for leading the afternoon walk.
2. Minutes of the Annual Meeting held on Saturday 6th March 2010
Acceptance of the minutes of the 2010 AGM was proposed by Roley Wilson
(Stowmarket), seconded by Ralph Brighton (Newmarket) and duly approved
as a true record.
3. Matters Arising
There were no matters arising.
4. Presentation of the Annual Report
Chairman Jim Richards presented the Annual Report.
He thanked Dick Leech for his 20 years’ service on the Area Council, latterly
as membership secretary.
Also thanked secretary Philip Snelling and treasurer Geoff Knight for
continuing in their respective roles. Geoff has indicated that he intends to
stand down at next year’s AGM, so a replacement will be required. Anyone
willing to take on the role or should contact a member of the Area Council.
Members were urged to lobby their MPs against the proposed sale of Forestry
Jim also drew attention to the proposed withdrawal of funding for country
parks which would be decided by the County Council on 17th February 2011.
Further to the Area Footpath Secretary’s report, the Bentwaters RoW
proposals are being considered by Ipswich and Alde Valley groups.
Jim had served notice on SCC requesting the removal of illegally erected gates
across FP Framsden 6. SCC had issued a notice on the owners to remove the
obstruction by 28th February 2011.
Margaret King has retired as Footpath Secretary for Patch V11 (Babergh) and
has been replaced by Alan Worsley (Sudbury).
Dick Leech (retiring membership secretary) reported that both national and
Suffolk Area membership numbers have continued to decline, both down
about 10% on last year.
Access Officer Richard Tyson updated the meeting on current access issues
including the proposed sale of public owned forests by the government and the
inherent risks to public access. He had recently attended a seminar with local
MP Teresa Coffey, and impressed upon her the RA’s concerns over the
preservation of public access to any forests sold into private ownership and
their five action points which should be prerequisite to any sale.
Wilfrid George (Alde Valley), an RA member for 49 years, spoke of his
concerns for the potential loss of walking opportunities in forests and parks as
much of the access to these locations is permissive and not a right of way and
could therefore be withdrawn in the future. Wilfrid then treated the meeting to
a rendition of “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” with lyrics suitably amended to reflect
the RA’s opposition to government proposals. This received an enthusiastic
round of applause.
A number of other members expressed their concerns and advised of methods
of protest including the 38 degrees website and other petitions and the
possibility of arranging a protest rally.
(Post meeting note: Government subsequently withdrew proposal for sale of
forests for the time being)
Adoption of the Annual report was proposed by Iain Taylor (Sudbury),
seconded by Dick Leech (Ipswich) and approved by the meeting.
5. Presentation of the Accounts for the year ending 30th September 2010
Area Treasurer Geoff Knight highlighted matters of interest to members
within the published accounts.
Geoff advised that the coming year would be his last as Area Treasurer and
asked members to consider taking on the role. Geoff will be available to assist
the new treasurer to take over the role.
Adoption of the accounts was proposed by Anne Hubert-Chibnall (Alde
Valley), seconded by Roger Wolfe (Ipswich) and approved by the
6. Election of Chairman
Area Secretary Philip Snelling congratulated Jim Richards on his
chairmanship of the Area Council and thanked him for offering himself for re-
election and proposed that he continue for the coming year. There being no
other nominations Jim was re-elected unanimously.
7. Election of Officers
There being no more than one nomination for each position on the Area
Council, for the year 2011/12, the following were proposed by Wilfred George
(Alde Valley), seconded by Rosie Perham (Bury St Edmunds) and duly
Secretary Philip Snelling
Treasurer Geoff Knight
Membership Secretary Ralph Brighton
Footpath Secretary Jim Richards
Rights of Way Advisor Nigel Meadows
Access Officer Richard Tyson
Area News Editor Tim Cavell
Area Website manager Dave Hodgkinson
The following positions remain vacant:-
• Countryside Officer
• Publicity and Media Contact
8. Election of Representatives of Affiliated Societies and Independent
There were no nominations from the affiliated societies, (Suffolk Rambling
Group, Saxmundham Rambling Group, and Ipswich Natural History Group)
or from independent members to sit on the Area Council.
9. General Council delegates
Richard Tyson (Alde Valley) and Jim Richards (Alde Valley) volunteered to
represent the Area at General Council 16th/17th April at Oxford.
10. Appointment of Independent Examiner
Geoff Knight confirmed that Mr John Cresswell would be willing to continue
as independent examiner of the accounts, to which no objection was raised.
11. Consideration of Motions for Area Council
No motions had been proposed for consideration.
12. Recommendations to Area Council, local groups, or Motions for
No recommendations or motions had been proposed for consideration.
13. Any Other Business
13.1. Linda Wilson (Stowmarket) agreed to chair a subcommittee to look at
ways of improving publicity and media contacts. Anyone willing to assist
should contact Linda. Tessa Wise (Newmarket) suggested arranging a Teddy
Bears’ picnic involving children and parents to publicise our concerns over the
proposed forest sell-off.
13.2. There was some discussion of the merits or otherwise of the possible
issuing of AreaNews electronically rather than by paper copy. Members have
been asked to indicate if they would be willing to receive electronic copies
only in future.
13.3 There was also discussion on the perceived image of RA groups with the
general public as long distance walkers, though this is not the case. Groups
offer walks of varying lengths and difficulty and have found that shorter walks
are quite popular particularly with new members. It is a question of
advertising this to the general public which may then encourage new
The chairman then closed the meeting and introduced Rodney Whittaker,
chairman of the Board of Trustees of the RA, who gave an interesting and
informative talk on issues affecting the RA including the RA’s financial
position, the proposed forestry sell-off, local authority divestment of paths and
parks, falling membership and improving the RA’s image with the public.
At the conclusion of Rodney’s talk a vote of thanks was proposed by Ralph
Signed ………………………………….. James Richards - Chairman
Chairman’s Report 2011
The 2011 Area AGM at Moulton was a very enjoyable event in the
splendid new Community Centre. Although fairly routine in the main,
there was much passionate discussion over the now shelved
Government proposal to sell off the forests including a greatly enjoyed
rendition by Wilfrid George of his parody of the Teddy Bears' Picnic a
copy of which was taken back to the Board of Trustees by our guest
speaker, national Chairman, Rodney Whittaker. Rodney spoke to us
after the formal business and fielded questions on various topics. The
post-meeting walk was the beautiful Three Churches Walk via Gazeley
and Dalham led by John Morris.
Richard Tyson and I attended General Council as Suffolk Delegates in
the grand historical surroundings of Keble College, Oxford. The
facilities were excellent, whilst the wooden benches were perhaps a
little uncomfortable in the grand Dining Hall.
Under Rodney Whittaker's excellent chairmanship, time was found to
debate all 17 motions. Of particular note was a resolution passed on
forestry which makes it clear that we expect the Ramblers five key tests
on protecting and enhancing forest access to be met before any forest
sales, and that if those tests are not met, sales should not take place.
Also. A resolution concerning the proposed high speed rail route from
London to Birmingham (HS2) was discussed at length. You have no
doubt read about this in the last Walk magazine.
As announced before, as an economy, we are moving to a once-a-year
only paper edition of Area News so there should not be another one
until this time next year. We are therefore including in this issue formal
notice of the 2012 AGM to be hosted in February by the Alde Valley
Group in the parish of Leiston-cum-Sizewell. The Annual Report and
the Accounts will be posted on our Area website before the event. It is
hoped that electronic bulletins will be posted on the website in the
I shall be very pleased to welcome Owen Plunkett as our guest speaker.
Owen was re-elected to the Board of Trustees this year having enjoyed
two previous stints on it. He is an active volunteer with the Hampshire
Area and his forte is campaigning, having been Vice Chairman of the
successful South Downs Campaign for many years.
On publicity, both Richard Tyson and John Andrews spoke on Radio
Suffolk recently about Access Land and the favourable outcome of the
Inquiry re Stansfield Footpath 7, more about which appears in the
As to changes in our Area Officers, former chairman Ralph Brighton
was elected to succeed Dick Leech as Membership Secretary at the
AGM. We recorded our appreciation for all that Dick has done for
Suffolk Ramblers in varying roles over many years. Two of our local
footpaths secretaries also recently stepped down. We record our thanks
to Margaret King and Geoff Gardiner for all they have done and we
welcome Alan Worsley and Phil Prigg who have taken their places.
Geoff and his wife Lil have recently suffered injuries in a serious road
accident and we wish them a very speedy recovery. Geoff Knight has
decided he will not seek re-election as Treasurer after a dedicated stint
of 10 years. Geoff's will be a hard act to follow and we are seeking his
successor. As mentioned before, having completed more than three
years as Chair, I will not be seeking re-election in 2012, but rather
concentrate my efforts on rights of way issues as a footpaths secretary.
Now that Suffolk CC have cleared the way (no pun intended), I hope
that groups will have started to form or re-form their practical path
working parties. Nigel Meadows talks about this later in this edition.
I trust you all enjoy plenty of good walking this autumn and winter and
I hope to see you at the AGM which should be followed by longer and
shorter versions of a coastal walk.
Access Officers Report
Several items have caused concern recently. In the early Spring
I attended a crowded and boisterous meeting arranged at Rendlesham
by Suffolk Coastal M.P., Ms T. Coffey. I was able to present the
Ramblers’ five criteria for the proposals for the future of forests such as
Rendlesham and Tunstall. I also attended a meeting at Rendlesham
arranged by the Ranger (Nigel Turner); a surprising variety of leisure
interests were represented, all concerned about the future of recreation
in the forests. These people rely on Ramblers as a national protest
organisation. Significantly our chief executive, Tom Franklin represents
leisure interests on the body set up by government to consider the future
of forests. Access on foot should continue unless the CROW Act was
Anxieties here and in other regions with similar coniferous
plantation forests were discussed at the Ramblers General Council at
Oxford in April which I attended with Jim Richards.
In our Area a Rally supporting forest access is being organised
by Ramblers Head Office and will be held at Rendlesham on October
9th. I would like as many local members as possible to attend starting
at 1100am at the Forest centre (GR354494) off the B1084 Woodbridge
to Orford road 6 miles from the A12 (n.b. this forest centre in not in
Rendlesham village formerly Bentwaters).
A recent complaint concerned the wiring up of a gate which
gave access to Clare Common in south Suffolk; it is access land by
virtue of being registered and there are right of way paths there also.
The wiring up was found to be allowable because the paths were not
blocked and/or there was at least one access point to the land. Only one
access point is needed for a parcel of access land.
Not being a constituent of Ms Coffey I was unable to attend a
meeting at Sutton regarding tree felling etc at Sutton Common but
access seems not to have been affected
I have been disappointed to hear that work on the proposed English
Coastal Trail has slowed down and looks unlikely to start soon in
Richard Tyson – Access Officer
AREA MEMBERSHIP REPORT (figures as at 1st Aug 2011)
Since last year national membership of the RA has fallen sharply from
121533 to 115503 (-5%). Suffolk membership has fallen similarly, the
present figure being 1819 (last year 1907).
Group figures are:- (last year's figures in brackets)
Alde Valley 134 (144) Bury St Edmunds 336 (352)
Ipswich 483 (511) Newmarket 163 (169)
Stowmarket 155 (186) Sudbury 211 (210)
Waveney 308 (310) Stour 21 (19)
Not allocated to any group 5 (6)
At the time of writing this report (7th September) Central Office has
arranged a webcast and phone-in teleconference in the next few days
entitled “Increasing Our Membership”. As well as looking at results of
research into why members leave, there will be opportunities for
questions and ideas from members across the country. We must hope
this produces positive results to reverse worrying membership trends.
Ralph Brighton - Area Membership Secretary
Waveney Group Walk of Border’s Abbeys Way
This 65 mile circular walk was featured in Walk magazine and
encompasses the ruins of the Abbeys at Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and
Jedburgh. We based ourselves at the Waverley Castle Hotel and used a
combination of cars and public transport to cover the various stages;
1) Melrose to Kelso – 2) Kelso to Jedburgh – 3) Jedburgh to Hawick
4) Hawick to Selkirk – 5) Selkirk back to Melrose
Much of the walk followed the banks of the rivers Tweed and
Teviot and so walking these was not at all strenuous. However being in
Scotland, obviously there were some significant undulations that proved
more challenging. The scenery was magnificent and the weather was
kind to us. Obviously the company was amicable and the
accommodation and food was first class. All in all the holiday was a
Newmarket Group News
It’s been another busy period with plenty of long and short walks and
several outings – and committee meetings.
A very enjoyable walk in London led us from Hyde Park Corner via
Shepherds Market and China Town to a lunch stop in Covent Garden, then
through some quiet back ways in the city to St Pauls and the Tower – a
leisurely stroll which was full of interest.
A successful weekend of walks in and around Bakewell in Derbyshire
was well attended and went without a hitch! Ralph and John organised the
daily walks, both long and short, and members arranged their own
accommodation be it B&B or camping. Doing it this way relieved the
committee of a lot of organisational tasks and worked very well. We’ve had a
lot of requests for more of the same in future years.
Another excellent venue was St Albans where again we put on long
and short walks and allowed plenty of time to look around the Cathedral and
historic centre as well as get a bite to eat.
A recent Sunday walk at Needham Market had an extra element for
those who got there early; the local model boaters were sailing their handmade
craft on the lake. Quite a few of us had time to watch these works of art
undergoing their manoeuvres and to talk to some of their friendly owners. The
boats ranged from huge naval craft, fishing and motor boats to an elegant
racing yacht and a stern driven paddle steamer complete with coal supply. It
was time well spent and I recommend it to other groups. Just remember you’ll
need to park in the larger car park as the one at the edge of the lake most likely
will be occupied by the model boat club members. As most of you will know
there are several good walks nearby and it’s easy to arrange walks of 5 miles,
figure of eight 10 miles, or a longer route.
Last year’s AGM had to be rearranged because of bad weather so we
held it in January after our Sausage Lunch. As a result attendance was up and
after the AGM business had been completed, we had an hilarious, and
competitive, Mini Olympics. This year we hope to attract members by holding
the AGM before a soup and rolls lunch, followed by a bracing walk. Here’s
hoping for a good attendance as I know we are likely to lose a couple of our
committee members, including John Morris, who has served us for a long
time, most recently as Social Events Organiser. We’ll miss him on the
committee but hope he’ll still be able to join us on our walks. Thank you for
all your hard work John.
Brian Milner - Newmarket Group Chairman
Background to John Andrews Ongoing Battle for Suffolk
Rights of Way
From our foreign correspondent ? When Tim invited me to write this
piece, it struck me that this might be an appropriate introduction – but it
doesn’t explain a lot.
Nobody could be more surprised than I to realise that, over four years
since departing for Scotland, I am still involved in the affairs of Suffolk
Area. It’s just one month short of 40 years since I joined Ramblers -
before Suffolk Area existed, and immediately became a local footpath
secretary. One of the big problems quickly discovered was that the
`Definitive Map’ of rights of way was anything but that because there
were literally hundreds of old rights of way that had not been placed on
this official record by the former West Suffolk County Council – the
result of a lethal combination of incompetence at all levels and
`political’ interference with the process.
Consequently, much of my time from then until my emigration in May
2007 was spent in researching evidence of historic rights of way and
steering these `claims’ through the tortuous legal procedures that had to
be negotiated before the public right of way along the path or road in
question was eventually safeguarded by its formal addition to the
aforesaid map. Although I managed to see many cases through to
completion – which sometimes meant failure – the County Council has
taken so long to play its proper part that a number are still dragging on
and I hope to see them over the finishing line one day
One case that we thought had finally succeeded would have seen the
putting in place of the last missing link in the Icknield Way route –
between Shelterhouse Corner and Barrows Corner just SE of Elveden.
Unfortunately, the landowners have challenged the ruling of the
inspector who found in our favour and the next stage for this one will
involve a visit to the High Court some time next spring. However the
worst that the Court could do is just send it back a couple of stages, i.e
add a couple more years to the story !
On this simple map on the following page of part of Breckland, the
missing link is marked by an arrow.
It’s not all about rescuing `lost ways’. We have also had to take steps to
prevent attempts to remove paths from the map. By far and away the
most well-known case of this kind in Suffolk has been the long-running
saga of FP No 7 at Stansfield - a path leading north from Stansfield
village to a place called Cordell Hall and on to Rede. As long ago as the
mid -1970s path users had to face a barrage of abuse and threats. When
these proved ineffective, there followed illegal `Private’ notices and
locked gates. Eventually the owners managed to persuade the County
Council to make an order to delete the route from the Map – on the
grounds that a mistake had been made and it had only ever been a
private farm path. After a lengthy public inquiry in 2002 an inspector
decided that the owners and Council had failed to prove their case and
we thought that was the end of the matter. However, shortly afterwards
the Council’s Rights of Way Committee, rejecting the advice of its own
expert researcher, resolved to make a fresh attempt. Finally, after a
further hearing in March this year another inspector has reached the
same conclusion. Stansfield FP No7 should now be safe for posterity,
but can one ever be completely sure?
Bury St Edmunds Group Newsletter
What a contrast between an early recce for our Spring Break 2011 in the
Cotswolds, where a frozen Rambler iced in on the Oxford canal at Banbury
gave no hint of the glorious weather which would greet us there in April!
(see colour picture – centre pages)
We had booked nearly 60 of us into the lovely Wroxton House Hotel which
we occupied totally, giving the feel of a "house-party", and are delighted to
recommend to anyone considering a stay in that area. We were wonderfully
catered for and spoilt for choice with walks and visits, which included
Broughton Castle (of Fiennes family fame) by special arrangement. We also
enjoyed a "Lark Rise to Candleford" themed day with the Butcher’s Arms Pub
at Fringford (Flora Thompson’s Candleford Green) providing an excellent
focal point and local historian Martin Greenwood walking with us on the
village trail, sharing some interesting insights into the people and places
behind the BBC series.
Bury Ramblers on the Fringford Village Trail in front
of the Old Forge and Post Office where Flora worked.
We are now preparing for next April’s week away in the Lake District – and
hoping for similar sunshine!!
Nearer to home we have enjoyed our usual diversity of
walks (and weather! – often on the same walk!!)
Thanks to all who contribute so much to our
programme, for coming up with new ideas, and for
your unfailing humour, even on the wettest of walks!
Thanks also to all who do so much behind the scenes in relation to footpaths
for the benefit of all. Our local footpath officers must frequently wonder if
there will ever be an outcome, after years sometimes of frustrating and
unwarranted delays. So how refreshing for Brian Bagnall to receive a letter of
appreciation from Suffolk farmer John Pawsey along with a special invitation
to the group for a visit, following a mutually happy and successful outcome to
a long-standing issue.
Brian had earlier written to Mr Pawsey
…It seemed appropriate to write to say how much our Association
and the Bury St Edmunds Group appreciate the creation of Footpath 12
on your land, which fills a missing link in the St Edmund Way. This is
part of a long distance footpath across Suffolk.
You probably felt like ourselves that it takes a very long time to resolve
local objections, such as those affecting changes to Footpath 9 that
delayed the creation of Footpath 12.
The new footbridge where the footpath joins the Shimpling Street road
C686 is very impressive. We would be grateful if you would pass on our
appreciation to your fellow Director when the opportunity allows…
Do have a look at John Pawsey’s blog for 25th August 2011 entitled "Get on
my land!" on the NFU website (www.nfuonline.com › news) which, to echo
his words, "brings a warm glow!" – and it seems we have much to thank Mrs.
Pawsey for as well!!
Chairman Bury St Edmunds Group
Stour Walking Group
Stour Walking Group has had another busy and successful year with
walks, short and long. Our walks can be anywhere in Suffolk or north
Essex and just to mention a few, we had one from historic Lavenham,
coastal walks at Felixstowe and another from Cattawade.. We ventured
into Essex for a couple of walks from Tiptree and enjoyed tea at the jam
factory after one of these. In addition we went to Thaxted and walked to
the impressive village green at Finchingfield. It is a bonus when our
walks include a very welcome pub or tea shop stop, as they often do. A
couple of us participated in the 25 mile sponsored Orwell walk on a hot
June day and suffered a little the next day.
A few of us enjoyed a weekend away in Bakewell in the Peak District
in June. The walking and scenery made it worth it even if it was rather
wet at times.
Recently we had a short walk by the river in Cambridge, followed by a
punting trip and were given an interesting commentary on the history of
Now and again we like to have pub meals in the evening and often plan
our next programme on these occasions.
Over the years many friendships have developed through the walking
group and we had the 3rd wedding of group members in May 2011.
We welcome new members and take on board fresh ideas for walks or
social activities etc. Our web site is www.stourwalkinggroup.co.uk
Ipswich & District Group
We have been lucky with the weather on our walks in the last
programme, having had it mainly fine and warm, even when the rest of
the week has been cold and wet. Given the variety of weather we have
in this country as a whole, Suffolk seems to be a lot dryer this year.
That may be an under-statement when you see the state of the crops and
the cracked earth as we wander through the countryside.
Membership numbers continue to fluctuate between 495 and 505.
Despite having had numerous new walkers join us, there are obviously
those existing members who drop off the roll for various reasons and
therefore overall numbers remain static. A few walks in new areas have
been tried; otherwise we seem to rotate the old favourites. We did
manage to go astray on one of the new walks when the leader turned
into the wrong wood but still managed to get the group back to their
cars, albeit on hour later than planned! I cannot give any more details
on this as the leader immediately took out a super injunction to ban
reporting of the incident; the judge said that he could only be referred to
by the initials GE! Walks have taken us through both Pareham and
Martlesham airfields and we have learned a bit more history about their
place in the last war. The museums are well worth a visit if you are in
Evening walks this summer have not been as well supported as in past
years but that only means that members have missed out on the two
occasions when we were rewarded with creamed scones, cakes and tea
in very attractive private gardens.
Sudbury & District Group News
Coach Outing 26th June 2011 - Sections 13-14 of the London Capital
Ring - Clapton to Royal Albert Dock -10 miles
On a hot Sunday in June, 29 members walked the two sections of the
Last year we did sections 11-12 and finished in Stoke Newington. This
year we started about ½ mile further on at Springfield Park in Clapton.
After refreshments in the Park we walked through the park towards the
River Lea, which forms the boundary between Hackney and Waltham
Forest. Crossing the River took us past a marina which offers services
to travelling narrow boats and other craft.
We continued alongside the river with the Walthamstow Marshes on
our left and came across the railway arches where A V Roe built the
first all British powered aeroplane in 1909. It flew 900 feet across the
The walk continued underneath the busy Lea Bridge Road and on to the
disused Middlesex filter beds. Until 1969 the site produced a daily
supply of 42.5 million gallons of water. Since 1988 it has been managed
as a wildlife reserve.
The highlight of the walk was to get a close up view of the Olympic site
at Stratford, but to do this we had to contend with diversions from our
Victoria Park was our lunch stop where we were also able to get
After lunch and another diversion we made our way to the Greenway
which is on top of a sewage system that runs for 6 miles from Hackney
to Becton. It conveniently passes through a part of the Olympic site and
to a viewing area.
At this point after, about 6.5 miles, a number of us left the main party
and made our way by train and bus to the Royal Albert Dock.
A section of the Greenway through the Olympic site is closed so
another diversion took the remaining group to Stratford High Street to
rejoin the Greenway. An interesting structure on this path is the Abbey
Mills Pumping Station, built by Sir Joseph Bazelgette in 1868.
Continuing along the Greenway for about 3 miles took us to Beckton
District Park, and from there a short distance to the end of the walk at
the Royal Albert Dock.
While waiting for our coach we had a good view of planes taking off
and landing at London City airport.
Alde Valley Group News
In our current walks programme which lasts until October 16th we have
experienced an increase in the numbers of walkers; as well as some
evening walks we included a couple of walks out of our area to Beccles
and Shotley. We are pleased to welcome several new leaders who have
designed walks in their local areas which are new to most of us. If you
would like to lead a walk for us please contact me or David Holmes.
A new programme should be enclosed with this Magazine and
(as we now have only one magazine annually) another will be sent
separately in the spring. Meanwhile please note the date for our Alde
Valley Group A.G.M. at Quakers Meeting Hall in Leiston at 7.30p.m.
on Wednesday November 23rd.
It is also our turn to host the Suffolk Area A.G.M. which will be held at
the Sizewell Club in King Georges Avenue, Leiston at 10.30a.m. on
February 4th 2012; the Club is next to the level crossing on the road to
We will also be involved in a rally about forest access to be held
at Rendelsham Forest Centre (GR354494) on October 9th. I hope all
forest recreation users will be represented. Please could as many
members attend as possible.
Our path improvement group has also been active in Thorpeness,
Laxfield, etc and on August 18th Jim Richards and I travelled to
Kettering to attend a Ramblers seminar about volunteer path working
My walk of The Great Glen Way. (See picture in centre)
Some history and facts.
The Great Glen Way is a long distance trail from Fort William to Inverness. It
was opened by H.R.H. Prince Andrew Earl of Inverness on 30th. April 2002.
Overall the trail is 73 miles long. Basically it follows the line of the
Caledonian Canal. The recommended route is from Fort William on the
Atlantic coast, to Inverness on the North Sea coast. Walking the route this way
means that the prevailing wind is behind you.
The Caledonian Canal took 21years to construct. The man responsible for this
project was Thomas Telford. It entailed the digging out of 22 miles of
artificial cuttings in order to join up 4 natural lochs. There are 28 locks for
vessels to pass through on their passage through the canal. An impressive
aspect of the canal is known as Neptune’s Staircase. This is just after Fort
William, and consists of 8 locks over 500yards which raises vessels to 70 feet
above sea level. The complete stretch of the Caledonian Canal means a shorter
and safer passage for vessels, as opposed to the longer, and sometimes
stormier, passage around Scotland’s north coast. Unfortunately the canal
cannot cater for vessels of over 800 tons.
My lone walk of this excellently way marked trail was done in 5 stages. The
first 3 stages- Fort William to Gairlochy 10.5 miles; Gairlochy to North
Laggan 12 miles; and North Laggan to Invermoriston via Fort Augustus 16
miles, entailed comparatively easy walking. These stages were low level with
very few undulations, as basically the route was along the banks of the
Caledonian Canal. The last 2 stages were more challenging. Invermoriston to
Drumnadrochit 14.5 miles; and Drumnadrochit to Inverness 18 miles,
involved an ascent to 1250feet, the highest point on the trail.
Overall the scenery was varied; magnificent; and sometimes awe-inspiring.
The B&B establishments that I stayed at were welcoming; clean; and
comfortable. I was fortunate with the weather, having just a couple of hours of
intermittent rain on the last day of walking.
In my best political parlance, I commend this walk to the house.
Chairman and Programme Secretary of Waveney Ramblers.
Privatisation or The Ramblers Picnic
If you go down to the woods today
You may get a big surprise
The word is heard in the woods today
They may be reduced in size
The greatest threat that ever there was
Will spoil our woods for certain because
They say the day is coming when we can’t picnic.
Every Rambler who’s been good
Has promised to come and say
That such a marvellous place to walk
Must never be thrown away
Beneath the trees we walk as we please
But privatised, we’re sure to be squeezed
So now is the time to rally and save our picnic.
Forests should be ours - not theirs
We are not unawares of what it is they propose today
Every walker now prepares
To stop them privatising where we play
Rally round and write and shout
(We must still have some clout)
We’ll show them the public cares.
Or find our Forestry out-of-commission
(That’s what they’re trying to do)
Just for dealers in stocks and shares
43, Linden Road,
Volunteering – from Nigel Meadows
See also Andrew Woodins Report and Chairmans Report
Alde Valley working party group is now in its twelfth year. We
are a small group of Ramblers who like to go out and do practical work
on public rights of way, and often have a social chat afterwards in a
nearby hostelry. We meet on summer weekday evenings at 4.30 for
approx 2 / 2.5 hours, so getting to the Pub stop afterwards by 7pm,
roughly every 3 weeks. The winter tends to be mostly weekend
morning surveys starting at 9.30, lasting approx 2 / 2.5 hours, getting to
the Pub afterwards by noon, and these are about once a month. We
have 2 planning meetings a year to organise the programme. Anybody
is welcome to come along. SCC provides materials, backup and public
liability insurance for any work done. People can do as little or as
much as they like, and we provide the hand tools, expertise and training
This year has been fairly typical, with several sessions doing
clearing work and waymarking, with a few interesting construction
jobs. Notable jobs this year have included Laxfield, where we removed
2 redundant stiles and recycled the wood to help build a flight of steps
and a handrail up the old railway embankment. Also a major clearance
through gorse on Aldeburgh common, re-opening a path which had
been completely lost to overgrowth, and a good sort out of the routes
through Thorpeness car park, which is due to be sold off, so we opened
up the paths and waymarked them all. We also added a new handrail on
a slippery path near the school in Peasenhall, replaced a broken sleeper
bridge in Earl Soham, and did lots more small clearing and waymarking
jobs around the area. New volunteers are always made very welcome to
join us, and we would also like to hear from anybody who has ideas for
new bits of work that need doing in, or around, the Alde Valley area.
Now Suffolk County Council has approached the Area Council
to ask if there are any other groups or individuals who might be
interested in doing similar volunteer work throughout the rest of the
County. The request should be filtering through to the Area Committees
by now, but any member would be more than welcome to join in, so this
is a direct message to you all. If you, individually or as a small group
would like to participate in any practical activity, then SCC and Alde
Valley working party group are getting together to give help, training
and practical advice. Please let your Area Committee know, or go
direct to Nigel Meadows, who is currently co-ordinating the AV group,
on 01728 403059 or email@example.com
Report from Andrew Woodin of SCC
Since I last appeared in your newsletter and wrote about Suffolk County
Council’s plans for the future, there have been some changes at the top
of the organisation. The previous Chief Executive has left, Jeremy
Pembroke has retired as Leader and Mark Bee has taken his place, with
Lucy Robinson, our director in the Economy, Skills and Environment
directorate, being appointed as the authority’s interim Chief Executive.
It should be helpful having a chief exec who has some knowledge of
public rights of way and their complexities!
The news we hear ‘from the top’ is that in the next few weeks and
months, the Cabinet will be working closely with Lucy and senior
managers to develop detailed plans to meet the challenges the county
council still faces. The biggest of these challenges is undoubtedly
making a budget saving of £50m over the next 2 years and whilst there
may have been a change of leadership, the county council will still want
to work with community groups and partners to rethink and reshape the
services it delivers to reduce costs.
I have no doubt that SCC will have some difficult decisions to make to
achieve these savings.
Meanwhile, the whole of the county council’s highways and transport
service (which includes the rights of way team) has been restructured to
improve efficiency. Rights of way staff have come through this
relatively unscathed, but in this financial year we have had to make a
£100k saving in the maintenance and improvement budget, as well as
taking a £100k reduction in the capital budget, which funds mainly the
replacement of bridges.
Closer to home, SCC continues to work on the transfer of its
countryside sites to local communities. More on that can be found on
Routes for the proposed dedication of public footpaths have been
identified at Clare Country Park, Dunwich and on the former railway
line sites at Lavenham, Long Melford and Sudbury, the latter with the
proposed upgrading to a cycle track as it is already part of the national
cycle route. Small areas of land at Iken and on the foreshore at Nacton
have been proposed for dedication as open access. If these dedications
go ahead, public access on the sites will have been protected in
perpetuity, something they do not in theory enjoy presently. Suffolk's
local access forum had been critical of the transfer of the countryside
sites and lobbied hard for the dedication of public rights of way prior to
transfer. The final decision on dedication is awaited.
In the rights of way team, the challenge we have is to work with
communities and groups like the Ramblers to do as much as we can to
fill the gap in works outputs the £200k saving would otherwise mean.
To meet this challenge, we have been talking to individual parishes who
have expressed interest in helping with minor ROW maintenance, with
SCC and other local authority projects who use volunteers, and I have
met with reps from off road groups. We have been discussing their
capacity, the type of works they can get involved with and the various
health and safety and environmental constraints we all have to work
with. This has to be taken step by step but I very much hope it will not
be too long before we can show some progress on the ground and I am
pleased the 4WD reps were very keen on helping SCC and we have
identified two byways for them to work on. I know Nigel Meadows is
talking to RA members about extending your volunteer activity on
rights of way and I look forward to taking this forward and identifying
possible rights of way around the county where we can work together
on minor maintenance.
If you would like to help please contact Nigel Meadows or me on
As I said in my introduction (and in the last newsletter), the reality of
savings is still very much with us as is the Suffolk Rambler’s challenge
on what you can do to help maintain rights of way, and how you can
influence the county council to ensure you can continue to enjoy the
public access your organisation has fought so hard for in earlier times.
Rights of way and open access land still provide a very cost effective,
healthy and sustainable means of enjoying Suffolk and we will all want
to try and keep it that way.
And now for some other news which will be of interest to you.
We have launched a series of walks and rides publications, starting with
Treasured Suffolk walks and the launch of the Hoxne leaflet at the
walking festival event there back in May and, out this month, a
Mendham and Metfield walk including marshes, ruins, churches, views,
and pubs. The leaflets are funded by contributions from the various
partners involved. The riding and cycling community is being served by
a series of rides we are publishing, including superb circuits in the
Newmarket Rides leaflet and a new set of rides around Stanton. All
these and much more are available on our Discover Suffolk website,
just Google Discover Suffolk and hit ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ and for those
Tweeters amongst you go to http://twitter.com/#!/DiscoverSuffolk and
follow the action there.
Finally, I am sure you were all as concerned as I was about the
proposed plans for the public forest estate. Whilst the original plans
were abandoned an independent panel is considering the future of all
forests and woodlands in England. Your own Chief Executive, Tom
Franklin, is the only access representative on the panel so at least the
Ramblers and walkers should be well catered for! The county council
has written to the chair of the panel with its own view and that of the
Suffolk Local Access Forum, which believes strongly that the estate in
its entirety should be publically accessible to walkers, cyclists and
Rights of Way and Access Manager Suffolk County Council
Recent Rights of Way Issues
Stansfield Footpath 7
This was a long-standing attempt to extinguish a route between Cordell
Hall and Purton Green. John Andrews, our former Area Footpaths
Secretary first met with problems on this path in the mid 1970's and has
written an interesting report on it in his article.
Part of Fonnereau Way
This concerns a claim submitted by Geoff Knight, our Area Treasurer
and Ipswich member to modify the new Definitive Map for Ipswich
Borough by adding to it the path from Valley Road, Ipswich, to Lower
Road, Westerfield, crossing the East Suffolk Railway line by means of
a pedestrian level crossing about 250 metre west of Westerfield Station.
The subsequent Order was objected to by Network Rail.
In her decision of February this year following a Public Inquiry, the
Inspector decided to modify the Modification Order, excluding from it
the section which crosses the railway. This was because of doubts as to
whether the evidence of long user is sufficient to support a presumption
that a short section of the Order route that crosses railway land is a
public right of way. The objector drew attention to the effects of
Section 55 of the British Transport Commission Act 1949 (the 1949
Act) which make trespass along or across railway lines an offence.
Assisted by Eugene Suggett at Central Office, John Andrews and
photos of notices at similar crossings taken by Roger Wolfe, Geoff has
submitted detailed representations arguing that the whole route should
be added to the Definitive Map. A further Public Inquiry will be held at
Tuddenham St Martin Village Hall, Westerfield Lane, Tuddenham St
Martin, Suffolk, IP6 9BH on Wednesday 7 December 2011 at 10.00am.
The decision should be very interesting indeed.
Jim Richards - Area Footpaths Secretary
Stowmarket Group News
As I write this in early September we are looking forward to our
popular Bowling night. Something that has become a regular in our
social calendar. Shortly after that a coach load of us will be travelling
down to London to participate in the Lady Diana Memorial Walk. It
will certainly be a change from walking in the rural landscape of
Suffolk. Walking is something we have been doing plenty of with our
full programme of guided walks this year.
In response to the local authority rights of way budget cuts and
their potential impact on the maintenance of our footpath network, the
Stowmarket Group have decided to form a working party to tackle any
problems as and when they arise within the area of footpaths they
cover. Older members can remember when groups like this existed in
many areas and not just a few as today. It may be the way of the future
and being positive we are looking forward to having some fun along the
If you are reading this as a member who has not yet participated
in any of our walks or events do consider coming to join us. We are a
friendly bunch of people with a shared love of walking and will give a
warm welcome to new participants whether you are on your own or
Roley Wilson - Group Chairman
Front Cover – We have Pauline Nettleingham of Alde Valley
Group to thank for our lovely cover picture.
It is a view of the footpath we will walking after the AGM
Thank you everyone for your contributions. I think this edition shows
how much work is being done by dedicated people from as far away
as Scotland, to improve the lot of Suffolk RamblerThe next edition of the
Newsletter will be next September, a long time ahead I know but if you
could remember the deadline will be 31st August 2012. It would be
good if we could get some feedback on how volunteer groups did
during the year.
Copy as usual to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramblers Association – Suffolk Area
Chairman Jim Richards 01728 453746
Email – email@example.com
Vice Chairman Roley Wilson 01449 672945
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary Philip Snelling 01787 248079
Email – email@example.com
Treasurer Geoff Knight 01473 726584
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Footpath Secretary Jim Richards 01728 453746
Email – email@example.com
Countryside Officer Position Vacant
Membership Secretary Ralph Brighton 01248 703969
Email – firstname.lastname@example.orgSecretary
Recruitment Officer Position Vacant
Access Officer Richard Tyson 01728 663571
Email – Tyson.email@example.com
Website Manager Dave Hodgkinson 01824 761239
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rights of Way Nigel Meadows 01728 746698
Advisor Email – email@example.com
RA Central Office 2nd Floor, Camelford House
87/90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW
Phone – 020 7339 8500
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org