100 years ago most people in the parishes around Melksham used local paths to walk to town. These paths need regular attention to ensure that they continue to be passable. Recently, West Wilts Ramblers have surveyed of all the rights of way in the parish of Melksham Without. As a result, if you pass that way, you may have notice that the number of waymarks in the parish has increased markedly. There are other repairs that need to be effected, and no doubt their working party will be involved in dealing with these. Only a few weeks ago, they erected a new kissing gate in Shaw to help improve access to the local primary school, and cleared a collapsed wall on a footpath nearby.
However, after years of cuts, Wiltshire Council cannot carry out all the maintenance that should be done, and WWR needs to help them decide which paths should take priority.
WWR are trying to pinpoint popular local paths that members and the local community, think should head the list in receiving better care and attention. Which footpaths in or around KEEVIL need improvement? You may have a favourite route that could usefully have stiles substituted with kissing gates? A rather too muddy section that could do with stabilisation? A footbridge that needs replacing?
The West Wilts Group of the Ramblers Association (WWR), has a volunteer working party out every Tuesday morning, under the direction of Wiltshire Council Rights of Way Dept, helping to maintain and improve the footpaths and other rights of way in western and central Wiltshire. They are encouraging people in local parishes to do the same and say: “Are there a few people locally who can spare the time to cut back a hedge or some brambles, clear the overgrown stiles? If you or the Parish don’t organise it, inevitably the brambles and nettles are going to start to win the war! The Rights of Way Dept cannot be everywhere.”
If you would like to make suggestions, the WWR also recommends you –
- Copy in your Parish Council, who may have a Footpaths Warden. (Parish Clerk Richard Jones email@example.com)
- Copy in Wiltshire Council Rights of Way Dept. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Copy in your local Wiltshire Councillor Jonathan Seed email@example.com
The Community Area Board has funds that can be accessed to support suitable projects such as kissing gates or footbridges. However, Wiltshire Council needs your feed back to know which paths should have priority.
Walking is such a simple and easy way enjoy the countryside and to look after one’s health. Rights of way maintenance is a really low cost service, so it is important that Local Government gives Rights of Way all the financial support it needs.
Living in the Melksham Community Area as you do, the WWR would be grateful for your opinion and look forward to hearing from you.
Brian Micklam, Footpaths Secretary, West Wilts Ramblers Group
Link to the Council footpath map, check here for the correct identification of each right of way e.g. MELK90 is Melksham Without footpath 90: wiltscouncil.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=43d5a86a545046b2b59fd7dd49d89d22