David Hurrell, Chairman
This article is from Signpost 56, February 2018
Winter is upon us, so it can’t be long before spring is just around the corner. But what of Autumn? In its usual mixture, there were good and bad days in about equal numbers. Some people much prefer Autumn to any other time of the year, with its wonderful colours and contrasting shades. Fortunately, I was able to be out in the countryside on some of the better days, viewing flowers of the summer that had managed to remain protected by banks and walls. We are fortunate in being able to enjoy what is left of the summer colours to help us through the long winter nights. Footpath Inspectors will be out in the heart of the countryside this winter looking at all the problems that the wet weather brings.
Footpath Inspectors in a number of areas are now using our digital mapping application to help with record keeping and fault reporting. It is so much easier for recording inspection dates and path condition, and will give us a record of paths with recurring faults every year or two. The Highway Authorities of Derbyshire, Cheshire (East & West), Stockport, Barnsley, Staffordshire and Trafford are now on the Inspections Database. Our thanks to David Gosling for his work on the project, and to Mel. Bale for installing the system on the computers.
We shall soon be having a lady editor for Signpost. Shirley Addy has agreed to work with Ian Salvage on the next few publications, before she takes over as Editor herself. She will make her own mark on the publication, I am sure.
In the Autumn, the Trustees and some members met for our Strategy Day, giving us the opportunity to air our views on a number of issues. Many good ideas were proposed, which are currently being worked on. A number of points raised concerned how information is shared amongst the volunteers at Taylor House, how records are kept, and how some of this data could best be shared with the membership. There are too many ideas to work on all of them at once, and some will need further thought before being put into use.
Those of you at the Half Year Meeting in November will know of the proposed small changes to the Constitution to make it easier for the Trustees to continue with the work of helping to maintain footpaths for the use of communities and visitors. At an unofficial vote after the presentation there was sufficient support for us to continue with the process. We are now working with the Charity Commission on the changes required to allow us to put forward the proposals for an EGM during the AGM in April 2018.
A recent announcement has been made about a new Northern Forest, extending right across our area, from Liverpool in the west, through the Manchester and Leeds conurbations to the east coast, and also skirting Sheffield and Doncaster. What should we make of 50 million new trees being planted in the next 25 years? Naturally, not too many can be planted in urban areas, so is the planting to be on farm land, or moorland? Walking through woodland can be enjoyable, but we do not want to lose the views that we have from the many high level paths stretching over the expanses of moorland surrounding some of our great cities. I think there may well be problems in finding sufficient room for 50 million trees.
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