Organised walks return in the Shepton Mallet area and Mendip Ramblers repair or replace 53 stiles

  Posted: 01.05.21 at 11:59 by Elaine Dadley for Mendip Ramblers

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In March 2020 the world changed for everyone - but most people did not expect that more than a year would pass before things normally taken for granted would be permitted.

A salutary lesson for all of us! Now in April 2021 in the UK there are reasons to be hopeful but globally it’s a different story. Patience needed!

Although official group walks have not been possible for most of the last year, local walking has been a solace for many in difficult times.

For Mendip Ramblers it’s certainly been a stop/start year. But in April group walks returned again, albeit with some necessary restrictions.

We now hope to be able to offer a good variety of weekly walks throughout the late spring and summer and, fingers crossed, our popular free Walking Festival, based in Shipham, will go ahead on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

What is often forgotten though is how reliant all walkers are on the footpaths being in good repair, clearly signed and with good accessibility. This is where the usually unseen efforts of volunteer workers are crucial.

Despite the difficulties in 2020, Mendip Ramblers' Working Party did succeed in their vital repair work on the rights of way.

In ordinary times they would be out almost every week of the year - last year that was reduced to 109 hours of work in 29 weeks.

The result in 2020 was 35 repaired or new gates, and 53 repaired or new stiles, four new bridges and lots of smaller jobs!

All of this means better walking for all walkers, not just Ramblers. This work is carried out on behalf of the local authorities, but the labour is free.

The group are currently back at work, as are the members who regularly check footpaths in order to report problems. All walkers benefit.

Hopefully this included two very brave new walkers who set themselves the daunting task this Easter of walking the Mendip Ring raising an an impressive amount for charity in the process.

We applaud them! This circular trail was planned and mapped, and the markers put in place, by Mendip Ramblers more than seven years ago.

One of the things that we have learned in the last year is that many more people are now walking in their local area - maybe this is the time to discover the pleasures of group walking? With luck we’ll be out every week over the summer and into the autumn.

Please take a look at our website where all walks are posted. All are welcome.

By Elaine Dadley for Mendip Ramblers

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