Protecting Rights of way
In Mole Valley we contribute to the Ramblers overall work to protect public rights of way which includes:
- Ensuring rights of way are recorded properly, adding new paths to the definitive map and the network
- Reporting problems like obstructions to the relevant highway authority and following up reports to make sure these problems are resolved
- Saving paths from unsuitable diversions which would spoil a walk or make it unsafe
- Undertaking improvements to paths ourselves - Ramblers' path work teams all over the country help to maintain paths on behalf of the highway authorities and landowners for the benefit of the walking public.
This work is undertaken by volunteers at Area and Group level. In Surrey over 2,000 miles of rights of way are watched over by 20 Ramblers Local Footpath Secretaries, each responsible for several parishes, ready to take up problems, in close conjunction with county Rights of Way Officers. The role of Local Footpath Secretaries is to protect and enhance the local rights of way network and also to resolve any legal or other issues relating to any proposed alterations to that network.
In Mole Valley this work is shared between two Footpath Secretaries - Bob Alcock and Pat Womersley. We also have a team of Footpath Wardens who check out paths within individual parishes and report any problems to the Footpath Secretaries. They are then reported to Surrey County Council as Highway Authority. We need footpath wardens for the parishes of Capel, Charlwood and Ockley, so if you would like to help please contact the Footpath Secretaries.
Within Mole Valley Ramblers we also have a Footpath Maintenance Team that meets once a month to do practical work, on stiles, kissing gates, finger posts and board walks, to improve the quality of our local footpaths. The financial squeeze on local authorities is continuing into the foreseeable future, so the work that this Team does to assist in the upkeep of the rights of way that we all enjoy is going to become ever more important. They currently meet on the first Tuesday of every month and are desperately in need of more volunteers.
In addition we have a Group Walking Environment Officer – Rod Romero - who keeps an eye on planning and environmental issues as they relate to the walking infrastructure in Mole Valley. His role is to help ensure that the countryside and urban public space are both accessible to the public and that the special qualities of these places are preserved and enhanced. If you become aware of any planning issues that might have an impact on walking please contact Rod.
How you can help
Finally, do please remember that we can all help in some way towards preserving our rights of way network. If you have you been on a walk recently and encountered an overgrown path, broken stile, fallen tree blocking a path, broken signposts or missing waymarks, you can help resolve these sorts of problems by reporting them to one of the Footpath Secretaries.