November 2022: Rights of Way Map Packs…

The Rights of Way Map Pack is currently being delivered to all houses in the village – if one hasn’t dropped through your door yet, it will be very soon! It’s an initiative of the Rights of Way Advisory Group, a team of villagers that came together last year with Cllr Geoff West with the aim of improving accessibility around local footpaths in a way that works for both residents and the farmers whose land we all enjoy so much.

The maps in the packs provide a clear picture of where our public footpaths radiate from the village centre, the course they follow and their related destinations or circuits, along with the gates, stiles and dog poo bins along the way. The Rights of Way (ROW) group are acutely aware of the need to our support local farmers, who often suffer from walkers straying over arable and pasture land, away from the designated paths.

It is hoped that the guidance will be useful to all village walkers, not just those with dogs. The ROW group appreciates that the majority of dog walkers are responsible and diligently clean up after their pets: it has been apparent, however, that some walkers are not always so attentive. Not cleaning up after dogs can cause farmers considerable distress, especially where grazing cattle are concerned, and as we live in a rural area with busy farms all around us, we want to do our best to help the farmers in any way we can.

The ROW group cannot reach out to every individual that visits Keevil, however, they are working on an initiative whereby these maps might be displayed on notice boards so casual walkers will also have no excuse for wandering aimlessly through fields rather than staying on the footpaths. Since the spring, members of the group have travelled many of the footpaths, reporting the state of stiles, attaching ‘Public Footpath’ pointers and arranging new stiles to replace damaged ones. They are working on getting finger pointer signs made and sited to aid easier walking.

Rome, however, was not built in a day! These things will take time. Most people at some point like to take a stroll around our lovely countryside, even if it’s only the odd occasion in the summer, so maybe tuck the Map Pack away for just such a time. If you honestly feel you will never have need of the maps, then feel free to drop it back through the letterbox of 71a Martins Road, they can be used in Welcome packs for new residents. Equally, if you have any other ideas or would like to help the group, be assured your input will be warmly received – contact the group via Geoff West.

October 2021: Country Code

The Country Code item comes from the Rights of Way Advisory Group, a working party formed via the Parish Council following a petition from a large number of villagers, with a view to making some paths around the village and across fields more accessible.

The group thought the best way to start things was to try and educate some villagers regarding the difficulties our farmers have when walkers stray off designated footpaths, and have created a simple guide to help you enjoy our village and the surrounding countryside, whilst remembering to be considerate to other villagers and the farmers whose land you are crossing.

RESPECT EVERYONE

  1. Be considerate to those who work on the land. They depend on it for a living.
  2. Be aware of others who are enjoying walks in the village and countryside.
  3. Please leave gates AS YOU FIND THEM.
  4. Follow local footpath signs, remembering to keep to pathways. The field you walk through is pasture for cattle and should not be trampled over.
  5. Be careful in fields containing livestock, mindful of the gates and fences that hold them. Don’t disturb or frighten them. Cows could be in calf or turn aggressive.

RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT

  1. Keep your dogs on a lead whilst walking around the village, don’t let them wander into other peoples garden. Keep them under strict control whilst in fields.
  2. Don’t let your dog worry any livestock.
  3. Take care to clear up their poo, around the village roads and verges and in particular in fields. Livestock grazing in these fields can pick up serious infections if they eat this. It is not okay to think you don’t have a responsibility just because you are out in the middle of a field.
  4. Take any litter home with you. Discarded waste can harm livestock and seriously damage plant life.

September 2020: Plea from our local farming community

A NOTE FROM YOUR LOCAL FARMERS: Sam Awdry, Brian Baggs, Fran Banfield, Steve Fry, Tom Groves, Rodney Meatyard, Rob Noad and Martin Tyler

We appreciate it has been a difficult year for everyone with lockdown meaning that many more people have been using the local countryside for exercise.

Thankyou to the majority of people and dog owners who have respected our wonderful countryside. However, as always, there has unfortunately been multiple occasions of people off the public rights of way, trespassing wherever they please on private land, often with dogs off the lead.

As your neighbours, we please ask that you respect our private land around public rights of way the same way you would wish your private property to be respected.

Our fields are our livelihoods and businesses, therefore being very valuable to us. People away from footpaths can cause damage to grass and crops. Dogs off leads can cause stress to grazing livestock and disturbance to the wildlife which we all like to protect and care for.

We simply ask if you are unsure of the footpaths route please look at a map before you leave home. Do not be tempted to take short cuts through private land, leave all gates as you find them and clean up after your pet.

We would like to thank those of you that do stay on footpaths and keep dogs on leads; it is very much appreciated and equally does not go unnoticed.

Please have respect for the countryside that we all like to enjoy.

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