Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Chairmans Piece

Gavin Miller, Vice Chairman and Trustee

This article is from Signpost 64, Spring 2020

Our chairman David Hurrell continues his convalescence in a stroke rehabilitation unit in Sheffield. Unfortunately this has been disrupted by the effect on the NHS of the coronavirus epidemic and he has been moved to a different unit. The address, at time of writing, is Chapel Lodge, 105 Station Road, Sheffield S35 2XF. The current lockdown has meant that he is not able to receive visitors and I am sure, therefore, that he would welcome hearing from his many friends by letter or card in the meantime. We all wish him well for his continuing recovery.

The last issue of Signpost went to press before the effects of the covid-19 pandemic had begun to be fully recognised in Britain. It was not long afterwards that restrictions started to be introduced, firstly on large gatherings, which caused us to postpone our AGM from April to October, and then, as we all know, to full lockdown. This has inevitably led to further significant curtailment of the society’s activities. We are unable to hold meetings, and footpath inspections, the erection of signposts and our walks programmes were all suspended. However, any footpath problems brought to our attention are being reported to relevant rights of way authorities and we know that some authorities are actively dealing with these where they are able to.

As I write, the so-called exit strategy from the lockdown restrictions has barely begun and the ‘road map’ showing the way forward is far from clear. No doubt we, as a society, will have to adapt to the ‘new normal’, whatever that turns out to be.

Photograph by David Hurrell

I have personally noted that some people who have previously taken little interest in footpaths have become much more aware of their existence in their local area and have begun to explore and value them in their daily exercise. Perhaps this will lead to a greater public appreciation of our footpath network. Who knows?

The society is poised to resume its normal activities as soon as government guidelines allow and meantime work continues behind the scenes where possible.

I do hope you enjoy reading about some of our recent activities in the following pages and that they don’t make you too nostalgic for the days not so long ago when we could roam freely wherever and with whoever we wished!

In the meantime, do keep safe.

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