Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Chairman’s Piece

David Hurrell, Chairman

This article is from Signpost 59, Spring 2019

All around us are trees. Many trees are found in city and town centres, adding to the feeling of the country side alongside our houses and factories. For those of us able to walk in the country side we see trees everywhere, from avenues of trees along our lanes to full woodlands in many of the areas in which we walk.

Situated where I live on the east side of the pennies there are many areas of woodlands around the reservoirs which serve our cities with drinking water. Many were planted in the 1950s, and being mostly coniferous, they are now ready for felling.

Felling of trees are now taking place on a regular basis, not on too large a scale, but in fairly discrete segments, followed by planting of new saplings, again mostly coniferous. But what does this felling of trees and replanting of saplings do to our footpaths? In many places footpaths are closed, sometimes for quite long periods, whilst the area is prepared for replanting. No longer is the ground cleared, but the tree debris is stacked into large piles along the lines of future planting. Then the replanting happens. I suspect that those who carry out this work do not appreciate the fact that there are public footpaths involved, and that they have already been disturbed, and in some cases completely annihilated, so do not concern themselves with the restoration work.

There are a number of cases that I know of where there have been prolonged closures, and where in one case the path has not been restored at all. The public footpath sign at the road side proudly points the way across the replanted wood, but there is no sign of the actual footpath. Neither will there be as the trees grow larger year by year, and it is not possible to determine the line of the path. In this particular case Barnsley PRoW have promised to replace the path. We wait to see how long this will take. We shall be hearing more of woodland planting at our AGM in April.

It is now a few weeks since we held the Half Year Meeting at the Britannia Hotel in Stockport. Following this meeting a number of complaints were received by the Trustees, concerning the heating in the venue and the standard of the meal. In addition the hotel was concerned at the small number of people taking the prepared hot lunch, when it as necessary to engage a chef to prepare a meal. In view of this the Trustees are looking for a new venue to hold our public meetings, as well as a review of the format for the Half Year Meeting. Because the rooms are booked well in advance, our AGM in April will again be held at the Britannia Hotel, with a cooked meal as previously, and a guest speaker in the afternoon.

The Trustees will be looking for a smaller venue, in view of the reduced number of members attending recent meetings. Stockport seems to fill the bill, rather than, say, Manchester, where parking could be a problem, and public transport not as convenient. Venues are more expensive in a large city, and finding one that is suitable on a Saturday more difficult.

A number of suggestions have been received, and these suggested venues will be investigated for their suitability and their availability at serving hot lunches, if these are desired. Other alternatives could be for a cold lunch, or even no lunch at all at the Half Yearly Meeting, and also dispensing with a guest speaker. We shall await the outcome of the current discussions.

If you have any strong feelings about the format or venue of the public meetings, please contact myself or any other Trustee, and we will consider those proposals.

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Page title:Chairman’s Piece
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