Shirley M Addy, Editor, Footpath and Signpost Inspector
This article is from Signpost 67, Spring 2021
In June 2020, I asked the Wilpshire Parish Council if it could consider improving one of the four paths that meet at where PNFS's new signpost S598 was to be placed. FP1 was very muddy, cow churned and walking it involved negotiating a very messy and slippery ditch. Fourteen months earlier I had proposed a PNFS signpost for this location, but its placement had been delayed by the dreadful wet winter and then the coronavirus restrictions. Eventually it was erected in August 2020 during a lull in very strict lockdown conditions.
Wilpshire Parish Council receives an annual grant of £500 from the Lancashire County Council to strim footpaths locally but nothing for actual stoning or bridges, etc. It also gets a concurrent function (25%) grant from the Ribble Valley Borough Council towards footpath improvements (although the Borough no longer has responsibility for footpaths). Under the Highways Act, the Parish Council has statutory powers to improve footpaths, but it is believed that the Wilpshire Parish Council is the only such council that actively pays and arranges for a contractor to improve footpaths in this manner. For several years, residents in Wilpshire have enjoyed footpaths and bridleways with better surfaces, waymarking and several benches through its efforts.
The Parish Council considered my suggestion at its meetings and agreed to two timber walkways being placed across the ditch on FP1 and some foliage removal and tidying-up at a cost of £1,175. Permission was then obtained from the LCC, landowner and tenant of the field where the footpath crosses.
In late November and in spite of the heavy rain and horrible muddy conditions, the contractor started work. A few days after completion - and on a dry day - I walked on both walkways and I was impressed by their robust construction, which should last for many years.
Many thanks go to the Wilpshire Parish Council, especially Councillor Tony Gaffney, for financing and arranging the work on FP1. It is to be congratulated on this and other path improvements in Wilpshire, which go a long way to make it a most pleasant parish for walkers. It is gratifying that through very little effort on my part that Wilpshire has a PNFS signpost and one of the footpaths radiating from it has been vastly improved. I have previously written about this parish in Signpost 59.
Next: Obituary: Bob Proctor
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