October saw our last full Footpath Maintenance task of the season. We finished in style with 18 maintenance team Ramblers plus John Baker the new SCC officer (just appointed to work with volunteer groups) and erected three new kissing gates, a self-closing slam gate, an extended waymark post and vegetation clearing on three footpaths, all at Compton. During the year we have run seven large Footpath Maintenance Tasks and two smaller winter tasks making it a very productive year.
The highlight of 2016 was through our work re-signing and vegetation clearing on the first eight miles of the North Downs Way. We made the Farnham Herald on the 1st April who reported on the unveiling of the new sculptural sign at the junction of Station Hill (Hinckley’s Corner) marking the start of the National Trail. We had both Mayors of Waverley and Farnham at the relaunch of the North Downs Way as this is the first national trail to be fully captured by Google Trekker. (This is the same as street view but for footpaths). The North Downs Way Trail manager highlighted the benefits of the trail to the local economy and thanked all for making this project possible, in particular to the huge enthusiasm of Farnham Ramblers who worked this initial stretch of The North Downs Way.
During the year our teams worked in Farnham, Badshot Lea, Pirbright, Puttenham, Seale and Sands, Rowledge, Thursley, Shackleford, Normandy, Wrecclesham and Compton mainly on vegetation clearing and re-signing as we were without a volunteer officer at Surrey County Council so we could not liaise with land owners to reach agreements on kissing gates or transport the heavier materials needed for gates and boardwalks.
However we have done very well in 2016 although it has meant a lot of extra work sourcing the tasks to complete and here we would like to thank a number of our active Footpath Wardens for their feedback which has been of great help.
Two of our task leaders Mary Stuart Jones, who looked after the first aid main kits and kept the working hours and tasks logs and John Plympton will be standing down at the AGM. John was Footpath Maintenance Task coordinator agreeing the tasks with SCC and in many cases sourcing the tasks which was very necessary this year without SCC back up. John also started our Footpath maintenance team back in May 2003. These posts will need to be filled to carry on our maintenance work in 2017. John Baker, the new SCC officer now using the new CAMS reporting system and with lots of task Ideas passed on by John, assures us he will have all tasks ready to go for us next year which should mean less preparation work for us to do. Please we do need these posts filled so both John Plympton and John Baker will be happy to give a full outline of the job and support for new Task and team leaders.